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Lakritsfabriken Super Salty Licorice

In the spring of 2013, Ihsan and I decided to visit Sweden, Denmark and Norway on a quest for new and delicious foodstuffs. We assumed that we would find lots of pickled herring, canned fish, lingonberry jams, rye crackers and licorice. Overall, we did well, bringing back several new items to the shop.

With all of the recent excitement about Copenhagen as a food destination and enthusiasm over the restaurant Noma, I thought that Copenhagen would be my favorite place we visited. Consequently, I was surprised at how much I loved Stockholm. Stockholm’s city center consists of 14 islands connected by 50 bridges. I was won over by the picturesque waterways, the medieval architecture, museums, the people and, of course, the food. Another surprise – we found ourselves buying and eating lots of licorice. I ate Twizzlers as a kid and can’t say I’ve had much along those lines since.

Ihsan and I knew that salty licorice was peculiar to Scandinavia and we were eager to try it – once we did, we were hooked. Our favorite licorice was that made by Lakritsfabriken, which literally translates to mean “licorice factory.” Turns out, this is a relatively new company started in 2011 by Martin Jorgensen, using completely natural ingredients. It contains none of the hydrogenated fats, gelatins and refined sugars you find in other licorice and, to take it a step further, Martin uses rice flour instead of wheat flour, making his licorice gluten-free.

Lakritsfabriken Super Salty Licorice

Lakritsfabriken Super Salty Licorice

Scandinavians in general say the “saltier the better.” I happen to find Martin’s salty licorice on the milder side, just enough sweet and salt, soft and chewy. Perfectly balanced. You don’t get that puckered reaction that can come from too much salt, even if you are not used to the famous salty licorice of Scandinavia. Actually, salted licorice does not have any salt added – rather, it is ammonium chloride that gives the licorice its distinct flavor.

So popular is salty licorice in Martin’s part of the world, we found it used in everything – from caramels (we’re still trying to bring those in), to coffee, to ice cream, to cocktails, to chocolates. We carry small 40-gram boxes of Lakritsfabriken’s licorice in both Sweet and Super Salty if you’ve never had it before and would like to try it before you get a larger 150-gram pack – available in Sweet or Salty. We also carry Lakritsfabriken’s raw licorice, mini licorice roots and licorice syrup in our shops – ideal for incorporating licorice into your own baked goods, chocolates or cocktails. Enjoy!

Valerie Gurdal is the owner of Formaggio Kitchen South End in Boston, MA.

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Xocolates Aynouse l'Artesà - Olive Oil and Candied Orange Peel Bars

Xocolates Aynouse l’Artesà – Olive Oil and Candied Orange Peel Bars

In February 2013, while Ihsan and I were visiting our friend Pere Planagumà (head chef at the restaurant Les Cols in Olot, Catalonia), we stopped in the ancient historic city of Girona for a food show and discovered chocolate maker Francisco Javier “Xavi” Rodriquez Perez. Actually, Xavi recognized us — he used to be the chocolatier for another Catalan chocolate company. It was a nice reunion seeing Xavi and to learn that he decided to open his own company Xocolates Aynouse l’Artesà in the town of Agramunt. (more…)

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Inside One of the Jasper Hill Vaults

Inside a Jasper Hill Vault

Last month, I had the great opportunity to join two co-workers in a pilgrimage to the Cellars at Jasper Hill in Greensboro, Vermont. In previous posts, my colleagues have described the merits of Jasper Hill as the home of award-winning cheeses like Winnimere, as well as an innovative model for sustainable small-scale cheese production. Rather than repeat this much-deserved praise, I hope to share a reflection on my brief time at Jasper Hill as a whirlwind of sights, smells, and of course tastes. The tag line of Jasper Hill is, “A Taste of Place” and thus I will try my best to give you a little taste of my experience in this very unique place. (more…)

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Clos Centeilles Côtes du Brian Blanc

Patricia Domergue is the leading lady behind the delightful wines of Clos Centeilles, a 14 hectare estate located in the La Livinière cru of Minervois. Minervois is an appellation in the westernmost part of the Languedoc in southern France. Before purchasing this property in 1990, Patricia studied oenology and worked in the Bordeaux region, but she was ultimately drawn to the Languedoc for its rich viticultural history and unique terroir.

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Gilles Berlioz's "La Piquette" with Pantaleo and kumquats

Each winter, I chuckle when I hear myself describing 30 degree weather as “balmy,” while simultaneously shaking my head at the arctic outcrops of snow outside. With all the white snow setting everything in frigid, monochromatic contrast, I find myself craving shades of yellow and orange, and the warm spectrum of flavors that go along with them. A delicate, understated Savoie white from Gilles Berlioz, made of 100% Jacquère, is the perfect complement to one of my favorite aged Sardinian goat milk cheeses, Pantaleo. Coupled with some thin slices of exuberantly tart kumquats, I get all of the sunshine and fresh aromas I need to make it through the deep-freeze of winter. (more…)

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Brian Outside the Cheese Pod

Brian Outside the Cheese Pod (photo: Liss Flint, Flint Prints)

The Mystic Cheese Company was dreamed up by Brian Civitello, and was joined in making it a reality by an alumnus of the Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge cheese counter and current cheese shop owner – Jason Sobocinski. Brian has made cheese professionally for the past 12 years, both in Italy as well as the United States, working for companies on the West (Rogue Creamery) and East (Calabro Cheese) coasts. The concept for Mystic Cheese Co., established in 2013, grew out of his experiences as a consultant for small family farms throughout the country. The goal: to assist American artisan cheese makers develop businesses by providing the infrastructure to begin a successful cheesemaking operation. (more…)

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Jean-David Wine

Last fall, I had the opportunity to visit the winery of Jean David in the town of Seguret in the southern Rhône valley. Seguret is a walled medieval town perched on the edge of the Dentelles de Montmirail mountains, equidistant between the towns of Rasteau to the northwest and Gigondas to the south. We were there in October and the weather was great! We had come directly from cool, rainy Burgundy where everyone was clad in thick sweaters, and when we arrived in the Rhône, we saw people everywhere walking around in flip-flops and t-shirts.

Jean David and his wife run their small winery together with just a bit of help harvesting in the fall. They farm around 17 hectares of vineyards where they grow red grapes – Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Counoise – and white grapes – Roussanne, Bourboulenc and Clairette. Jean also has a little Tempranillo in his vineyard that his father planted. When asked about the proportions of grapes in the vineyard, Jean replied: “sometimes I say to myself, ‘Jean… you should plant more Syrah…but then…’” and he shrugged and smiled. (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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Cobb Hill Cheese

We’d like to introduce you to Cobb Hill, a co-housing community within the larger community of Hartland, Vermont. The co-housing community is comprised of like-minded folks who aim to live in a socially and ecologically responsible manner – farming and working the land.

The Cobb Hill Cheese team are the makers behind one of our favorite domestic cheeses: Ascutney Mountain. They source milk from another member of their community – Cedar Mountain Farm, a dairy where cows eat only organic grains and grasses. Over the years, the cheesemaking operation has become an integral part of the economic viability of the co-housing community and we are pleased to have worked with them from the very beginning. (more…)

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Robiola di Mia Nonna

Lois Reichert makes Italian-style goat milk cheeses. Located near Knoxville, Iowa, she has been making cheese since 2007, and has a herd of eleven La Mancha and Nubian goats. Both goat types are known for their high butterfat and protein content, making their milk ideal for cheesemaking. Lois’ is the first micro-dairy in Iowa, and she is one of the few cheesesmakers in the USA making robiola-style cheeses – the only others I can think of are Meadowood Farm’s Ledyard and Doe Run Dairy’s Hummingbird. She sells her cheese at the Des Moines Farmer’s Market, and select locations in the Midwest. Formaggio Kitchen is the only store on the East Coast to sell Lois’ cheese, and we are thrilled to be able to bring this truly unique little round to Boston. (more…)

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