Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

Asti Spumante and Panettone

Asti Spumante and Panettone – A perfect pair!

Why does food and wine matching seem so difficult, so fraught with opportunity to miss the mark? It’s simple really: we insist on reinventing the wheel, overlooking time-tested pairings that are always spot-on in favor of hit-or-miss improvisations.

High on the list of time-tested culinary hook-ups is the sensational combination of the Italian sweet bread panettone with the subtly sugary, frothy sip known as Asti Spumante. Like many dining room dream teams the two grew up together, in this case in the north of Italy where panettone is the traditional Christmas and New Year treat and Asti Spumante its perennial accompaniment. Together they’re a holiday party waiting to happen–as easy and pleasing a dessert course as you’ve ever served.

Our Cambridge shop is piled high with Paticceria Perbellini‘s exceptional panettone right now, with several kinds choose from – but we’re offering only one Asti Spumante: the most delicious we know!

Torelli “Di Michela” Asti Spumante is available at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge, or for pick-up at Formaggio Kitchen South End with one day’s notice.


Stephen Meuse is a Wine Buyer at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge.

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Our wine buyers’ top picks for the holidays! La Cigarrera Amontillado VOR, 2012 Domaine Comte Abbatucci “Cuvee Faustine” Rouge, 2005 CUNE “Contino” Rioja Reserva, and 1979 Kopke Colheita Port


The holiday season is upon us, and once again this year we’ve asked our wine buyers at both shops to recommend the wines they’re most excited about gifting this year. These are not every day wines, but rather special bottles that you will want to gift or sip with loved ones. If any of these wines strike your fancy let us know so we can set a bottle (or more) aside for you, as some of them are rare and available in very limited quantities.


La Cigarrera Amontillado VOR
Julie Cappellano, Wine Buyer at Formaggio Kitchen South End

Ignacio Hildago, is the ninth generation of his family to make sherry in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. This extremely rare Amontillado comes from the family’s Sacrista, where their oldest wines are kept. Here Ignacio, upon receiving permission from his family, recently tapped a single barrel of Amontillado Viejo that was a part of his grandmother’s dowry. The average age of the wine from this solera is 100 years. We were lucky to receive ½ of a case out of the 50 cases of 375mL bottles that made their way to the United States. This ancient, bronze elixir, rich with hazelnut aromas and flavors, should be served at cool room temperature. This wine can be served with a simple goat’s milk cheese like Garrotxa or Garcia de Paredes, but when I open my bottle I’ll be sipping it on its own to inhale and taste every flavor nuance to the fullest.

This wine is available at Formaggio Kitchen South End, or available for pick-up at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge with one day’s notice.


2012 Domaine Comte Abbatucci “Cuvee Faustine” Rouge 
James Hull, Wine Buyer at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge

If undeniable character, quality and a little romance are what your wine-lover craves, this standout from Jean-Charles Abbatucci brims with everything the island of Corsica can throw at it. History buffs know Jean-Charles Abbatucci as a heroic general and brother-in-arms to Napoleon, but the current Jean-Charles has become a modern-day hero by expressing Corsica’s unique grapes and terroir with passion and skill. He grows his grapes with a religious commitment to biodynamics and a good dose of eccentricity (he drives his tractor around the vines blaring traditional songs of the island because he believes they’re part of the terroir and keep the vines happy!). The aromas jumping from the glass will make you a believer—layers of wild herbs, juicy cherries and rocky mineral notes swirl around your senses and ignite the imagination. Savor it with Corsican cheese like Corsu Vecchiu, a hunk of salami and the album “Corsica” by Petru Guelfucci.

This wine is available at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge, or available for pick-up at Formaggio Kitchen South End with one day’s notice. 


2005 CUNE “Contino” Rioja Reserva
Stephen Meuse, Wine Buyer at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge

Not many wine estates can boast a winery designed by Gustaf Eiffel (of tower fame) and CUNE (kew-nay) is truly an exceptional property in many ways. Located in Haro, at the very heart of La Rioja, Spain, this winery has long enjoyed a reputation for taking a forward-thinking approach while maintaining traditional values—and this elegant wine is a case in point. In a region known for the artful blending of wines from many vineyards, CUNE breeds Contino from the grapes of a single privileged site, established in 1974. Mainly Tempranillo, it benefits from small amounts of Graciano, Mazuelo, and Garnacha Tinta. It is fermented in stainless steel then matured for two years in French and American oak. It sees extended bottle aging before release. Contino shows all the stately charm of mature Rioja, with an abundance of dark red fruits and notes of spruce forest. Tannins are beautifully conditioned and the wine is table-ready. A truly splendid holiday gift for the wine aficionado on your list.

This wine is available at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge, or available for pick-up at Formaggio Kitchen South End with one day’s notice. 


1979 Kopke Colheita Port
Marianne Staniunas, Formaggio Kitchen South End Wine Department

A Colheita Port is an aged Tawny Port, made from the grapes of a single vintage, aged in wooden casks and released by the winemaker only when it is at its peak—and ready to be relished. Traditionally, a Colheita must be aged for at least seven years, but many winemakers age them for much longer. This year, we were thrilled to receive a limited quantity of a 1979 Colheita from Portugal’s first and oldest Port House—established in Oporto in 1638 by the Kopke family. For any lover of Port, this wine is a must-have once-in-a-lifetime gift.

This wine is available at Formaggio Kitchen South End, or available for pick-up at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge with one day’s notice. 

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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!


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A Snowy Night at Formaggio Kitchen

A slightly adapted version of the Christmas classic, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” – with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and at Formaggio Kitchen,
Not a creature was stirring, not a thing was a twichin’;
The salamis were hung by the cheeses with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The mongers were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Comté danc’d in their heads, (more…)

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Holiday Wines

The holiday season has arrived! We all look forward to these long nights around the table, sitting with friends and savoring dishes to keep us warm. Braised meats, slow cooked beans, root vegetables, rich desserts: all of them cry out for wines that can stand up to the plate. Here are a few treats from our shelves that we look forward to savoring all year-long – wines we save for special occasions, just like this month’s holiday gatherings. Here we present a show-stopper right bank Bordeaux for your holiday meats, as well as two after-dinner wines: the first, a Barolo Chinato to sip with dark chocolate, and the second, a rich red Banyuls from southern France. Enjoy! (more…)

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Sorelle Nurzia Torrone

Sorelle Nurzia Torrone

Every year, it is with great anticipation that we order torrone, gianduja and panettone from Sorelle Nurzia, a small confectioner in Italy. These delicious goodies arrive in the shop brightly packaged, beautiful-looking and wonderfully festive – kicking off the holiday season here at the shop! (more…)

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A Representative Selection from our Holiday Gift Guide

Do you have a food lover, budding chef, charcuterie aficionado or chocolate fiend in your life? Short on gift ideas? Not to worry – we’ve got you covered! Our staffers thought long and hard to come up with their top picks for what they would give to food-loving friends, family members and loved ones – here are the results: (more…)

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