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Archive for the ‘Buyer’s Guides’ Category

Syrups - Lyle's Golden Syrup, Steen's Molasses, Muddy Pond Sorghum and Steen's Cane Syrup

Walking into Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. Exotic products, tight corners and packed shelves can lead to missed goodies and overlooked treats. This holds true in the bakery, too. Right now, we have four different baking syrups and, at first glance, you might wonder why you would buy one over another? Curious myself, I did a bit of research and in this post, I share what I gleaned. I’m going to breakdown each syrup into its profile, process, and when to use it, so that you can decide with confidence about what to choose for your next baking venture. (more…)

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Selection of Butters at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge

Most of us love butter. It melts beautifully on a piece of toast, it gives wonderful flavor to both sweet and savory goods and provides a preferred mouthfeel to the likes of buttercream frosting. Here at the shop, we carry quite a variety of butters and sometimes folks ask us what distinguishes them from each other – a very fair question! (more…)

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Vecchia Dispensa Balsamic Vinegars

Vinegars from La Vecchia Dispensa

As I mentioned in my prior post, Balsamico Tradizionale offers the best chance to taste some of the purest expression of true balsamic vinegar. One of the reasons for this is the thoughtful regulations governing the production of Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena and Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia, which dictate a range of protections – from the grapes varieties that must be used, to the style of bottle.

Once you move beyond the world of Balsamico Tradizionale into the less controlled world of non-tradizionale balsamics, things get more complicated. Historically, the category of balsamic, balsamico or balsamic vinegar consisted of products with levels of quality all over the map. Some careful producers, employing traditional methods, produced balsamics with beautiful balance and depth of flavor. At the same time, large, industrial producers sold balsamics using inexpensive ingredients and time-saving technologies to maximize profits, capitalizing on the balsamic name. (more…)

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Battery of Barrels used to age balsamicThere are many forms of balsamic vinegar on supermarket shelves these days. The most industrial forms can be made anywhere with a variety of ingredients that may or may not contain concentrated grape must, wine vinegar, sugar and caramel coloring. For this reason, it is often difficult to grasp the differences between a $10 bottle of balsamic vinegar and a $40 bottle of balsamic or even a $150 bottle. (more…)

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Salts at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge

In my first installment on the subject of salt, I touched on why this mineral is an important component of our diet and why it has played such a critical role in human history. Now, with access to salt in abundance, we have the luxury of focusing not just on sourcing it but on distinguishing between and even augmenting different varieties.

Here at the shop, we have many kinds of salt, sourced from all over the world. It can be daunting to try to choose between the lot of them so, when Formaggio Kitchen‘s owner, Ihsan, recently opened a number of them for a class, I jumped at the opportunity to do a little tasting across varieties and types, hitting many of the ones I had never tried before. Here are the results of my research and some of my tasting notes for others who might be interested in exploring the wide variety of salts that are now available to us: (more…)

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Salts at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge

Most folks know that salt is somehow critical to human survival. However, it wasn’t until reading Mark Kurlansky’s book, Salt, that I became aware of just how integral this substance is to the healthy functioning of our bodies and, consequently, the major role it has played in human affairs throughout much of recorded history. As far as our bodies are concerned, the average adult human contains just over a half pound of salt or, as Kurlansky calculates, roughly 3 or 4 salt shakers. However, in the natural course of things, we lose this salt and must take action to replenish it. (more…)

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