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2014 Holiday Gift Guide!

Every year we look forward to the holidays and the excuse to share our favorite foods and kitchen accessories with friends and family. If you’re shopping for a food lover, tyrophile (cheese lover), budding chef, or seasoned culinarian this year, check out our list of top gift ideas that will please any palate! And if you’re giving in the greater Boston area, check out our “Locals Only” gift guide for special treats at our Cambridge shop!

 

Raclette de Verbier and Bayley Hazen Blue: Award Winning Cheeses of 2014Award-Winning Cheese – Before any awards were given, these two cheeses were already staff and customer favorites. Bayley Hazen Blue won the title of World’s Best Unpasteurized cheese at the 2014 World Cheese Awards. Similarly, the Raclette we import exclusively from Verbier, Switzerland won the award for the best Raclette in Switzerland. Now is your chance to share these two exceptional cheeses with friends and family!

 

World Mustard Sampler

World Mustard Sampler – Shake off winter’s chill with six of our favorite mustards! Perfect for adding to recipes, spreading on sandwiches, or pairing with charcuterie, each of these sensational mustards packs its own unique flavor. From classic whole grain to herbaceous tarragon, spicy sweet maple, and Piment d’Espelette, these mustards are the perfect gift to wake up your taste buds.

 

Housemade Charcuterie Sampler

Housemade Charcuterie Sampler – Our housemade charcuterie has long been a favorite of customers here in Cambridge, and now you can enjoy it too – whether you live in Boise or Baton Rouge! Winner of three Good Food Awards, our charcutier Julie puts together a package including rillettes, pâté, boudin and bacon accompanied by a jar of our favorite mustard and some crunchy cornichons!

 

World Preserves Sampler

Preserves of the World – Every year we travel throughout Europe and the US in search of the best producers and their products. This winter we’ve pulled together a unique selection of our favorite jams and preserves, the perfect taste of summer fruit to accent this season’s holiday feasts. Perfect spooned into your favorite yogurt, baked into a sumptuous dessert or served alongside your favorite cheeses.

 

Perbellini Panettone

Italy’s Finest Panettone – Of all the panettone we’ve sampled, the finest comes from Pasticceria Perbellini. Based in Bovolone, Italy, Perbellini has been using the same family recipe since they began baking panettone back in 1900. Made with hand-selected fruits, nuts, sugars and flours, all-natural yeast and a 36-hour rise, the exceptionally airy texture with just the right amount of chew has an addictive bready sweetness punctuated by chunks of delicious candied fruit and sultanas. The ultimate holiday treat!

 

Saladini Mezzaluna Knife

Functional Kitchen Art – For food-lover gifts that last for years to come, we turn to the truly exceptional Italian knife maker Coltelleria Saladini. These handmade stainless steel blades range from this stunning Mezzaluna to traditional folding knives as well as an assortment of cheese knives to make any cheese plate shine. Equal parts beautiful form and practical function, Saladini’s knives will make your friends and family wonder how they ever lived without them.

 

Sirvent Turrón

Traditional Spanish Turrón – Whether it is torrone from Italy, turrón from Spain or nougat from here in the US, we can’t get enough of this traditional, almond-studded sweet. If we had to choose one, it would be from Turronería Sirvent based in Alicante, Spain. This crunchy, traditional hard nougat is loaded with dry-roasted Marcona almonds for a balanced sweet and nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with a glass of Amontillado sherry.

 

“Locals Only”

Formaggio Food Community Share - June, 2012

Giving close to Boston this year? Share the gift of local foods with a membership in the Formaggio Food Community! We offer year-round monthly shares of our favorite local cheeses and our in-house charcutier’s award winning charcuterie. Choose either the Cheese or Charcuterie share (or both!) sign up for three or six months at a time for pick up at our Cambridge or South End store.

 

Rosé Wine Tasting in Progress

You can also give the gift of vin and vino education with our Take Home Wine Class. A membership for a one, three or six months gives three bottles of wine per month, each with detailed tasting notes and producer profiles. Each “class” focuses on a single theme, from grape varietals and soil types to production methodology and pairing styles!

Myers and Chang Dumpling Class

In the spirit of food education, we also offer several formal classes each month, from our extremely popular “Cheese 101” and an inside peak at our aging facilities in “Brave the Caves” to the chance to judge competitors in elaborate food pairings, evenings centered around a specific region and behind-the-scenes classes with the area’s top chefs. Give the gift of a class you know they’ll love, or let your favorite foodies find their perfect gustatory experience with a classroom gift certificate.

Formaggio Kitchen Gift Card

Last but not least, we love giving and receiving the gift of choice! Our gift cards can be used in all three of our locations and online. They’re the perfect way to make sure your oenophile gets her favorite vintage, the family’s sweet-tooth finds his perfect chocolate bar, and your aspiring-chefs can pick that perfect finishing oil for their latest dish.

 

Check out our Gift Guides from 2013 and 2012 for more ideas, and visit our online shop to search our full range of products!

 

Montburgeau Cremant du Jura and winter cheeses

Montbourgeau Cremant du Jura with (from left to right), Preférés de nos Montagnes, Harbison, Comté Fort Sainte Antoine and chestnuts, white truffles, and Bosc pears.

As the seasons change and the pastures are coated in frost, we look forward to some of our most decadently delicious cheeses of the year. Grass-fed milk is often prized for it’s buttery, vibrant yellow-orange color and mouth-watering flavor. These qualities are most present in cow’s milk alpine styles, like Comté or Gruyère, where beta carotenoids from grass (the same compound that give’s carrots their color) provide that deep yellow color and diacetyls, produced in fermentation, give us that characteristic “grass-fed” flavor. Summer’s milk is lean and grassy, making it a perfect raw material for harder, longer-aged cheeses with longevity and elasticity (try bending a piece of Comté). However, for the lavish, richly-textured, scoopable delights of the holiday season there is no substitute for winter’s milk. When the cow’s move off pasture and temperatures drop, their diet shifts to primarily hay and grain, and they produce less milk at each milking. As a result, the milk is much richer and sweeter and significantly higher in fat, protein, and lactose. This milk is ideally suited to making those soft-ripened cheeses that pair perfectly with a holiday meal, the globular palate-coating beauties that sink in to every nook and cranny of a crusty baguette.

These kind of winter-milk cheeses pair perfectly with the Montbourgeau Crémant du Jura, one of our favorite sparkling wines for tyrophiles (cheese-lovers).

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Olof Viktors products

Products from Swedish bakery Olof Viktors: knäckebröd, pepparkakor and jam

For most people, the word “smörgåsbord” might evoke images of Vikings, or maybe the antics of The Muppets’ Swedish Chef, but for me it immediately brings up memories of my childhood, and an annual, extra-special weekend with my grandparents in the lead up to Christmas.

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This drink is the healthiest thing, and the greatest sustenance of anything you could drink in the world, because he who drinks a cup of this liquid, no matter how far he walks, can go a whole day without eating anything else.”

The “Anonymous Conqueror,” 1556, referring to drinking cacao

Italian chocolate machine

A peek inside our Italian drinking chocolate machine

Sure, a packet of Swiss Miss with tiny marshmallows waiting to be rehydrated is a comforting, nostalgic beverage for many of us; however, there are some fantastic things happening in the world of craft chocolate, with higher quality beans, small batch processing and real attention to craftsmanship. Whether or not you’ve tried a craft chocolate bar, you may still be denying your taste buds the same fine chocolate in liquid form. Enter drinking chocolate, one of the most decadent things you’ll have this winter. It may not hold you for a whole day, as claimed by the man quoted above, but it will certainly take the chill off these long winter nights.

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Pu'er Teas

Pu’er teas: Silk Road Teas Imperial Leaf tea bags, Silk Road Teas Dark River (Lin Cang) Pu-erh, and Tranquil Tuesday’s Ancient Tree Raw Pu’er

The holidays bring us an endless array of feasts for the senses, but if you’re like me, all these seasonal specialties leave you feeling that your eyes were much bigger than your stomach (even after your stomach has stretched beyond its normal proportions). There are plenty of culinary options for soothing your stomach at the end of a luxurious meal – from dessert wines and herbal digestifs to an espresso or a mug of mint tea – but for me, this season is the perfect excuse to break out one of my most treasured beverages: 普洱茶 (pu’er tea).

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Thanksgiving Cheese 2014

Our top Thanksgiving cheese picks for 2014: Shelburne 2 Year Cheddar, Verano, Bayley Hazen Blue, and Sage Farm’s fresh goat cheese

One of our favorite ways to celebrate Thanksgiving is with a round up of some of New England’s best cheeses. While we love the fruits of Europe’s great cheese-making traditions, Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to reflect on and celebrate American cheese makers, and our country’s own tradition of beautiful cheeses of all milk types and textures. This year, our Cambridge store’s domestic cheese buyer Tripp, along with the rest of the cheese team, have brought together four of our favorite Vermont cheeses for a perfect addition to the holiday table!

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The Vallana Winery

The Vallana Winery

The rolling Alpine foothills of the Alto-Piemonte (or Upper Piemonte) are not as well known or as frequently visited by wine-lovers as the Barolo and Barbaresco wine regions just to the south, but fascinating and delicious Nebbiolo-based wines are made here, too!

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