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Archive for the ‘Producer Profile’ Category

I recently visited Barrington Coffee at their roastery in Lee, MA, in the heart of the Berkshires. Roastmaster Brian Heck, along with fellow coffee alchemist Paul, guided me through Barrington’s process of coaxing the delicate aromas and fine flavors out of their unroasted, green coffee beans. It takes an artisan’s practiced touch, a connoisseur’s critical taste, and a farmer’s dedication to his crop to create the consistently outstanding coffees Barrington is known for.

Green coffee beans starting to roast

Brian began by guiding me through the roasting process, from bag to finished bean. Barrington Coffee has three roasters, the largest handling up to 60 lbs. and the smallest able to roast as little as 1/4 lb. at a time. When I visited, Brian and Paul were manning all three roasters, producing select origin as well as blended coffees. (more…)

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Spring Brook Farm Cheeses - Reading and Tarentaise

Spring Brook Farm Cheeses – Reading (L) and Tarentaise (R – progressing in age from the youngest, to the Reserve)

At the end of March, Jeremy Stephenson, head cheesemaker at Spring Brook Farm in Vermont, visited our Cambridge shop. He led a staff tasting on the Friday evening, sampled out to customers on Saturday and, along with several other amazing domestic cheese and beer producers, taught a class that afternoon. It was a busy weekend! (more…)

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Stan Biasini and Brad at Mt. Mansfield Creamery

L-R: Stan Biasini and Brad

I recently had the great fortune to visit with Stan Biasini and his family at Mt. Mansfield Creamery in Morristown, Vermont. I arrived bright and early, just as Stan was pooling the milk from the morning milking into a heating vat to begin making his cheese: Inspiration. Here at the shop, we only began carrying Inspiration this year – it is a washed-rind cow milk cheese based on a Corsican recipe and has quickly become a staff favorite. (more…)

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Slices of Mangalitsa and Red Wattle HamsWe keep an impressive pile of cured pork legs in the shop. The Italian prosciutto and Spanish jamón are justifiably well-known. Also nestled in there, however, are two domestic treats that I advise you not to miss: Mangalitsa and Red Wattle hams. The latter is particularly American, hailing from a centuries-old tradition of pork curing in Surry County, Virginia.

We source our Mangalitsa and Red Wattle ham from Edwards of Virginia who, in turn, sources pastured, humanely-raised Mangalitsa and Red Wattle pigs from small farms in North Carolina and Iowa, respectively. These heritage breeds are prized for their well-marbled, toothsome, flavorful meat, not to mention a wickedly decadent abundance of fat. Mangalitsas resemble a cross between a sheep and a pig – they’re sometimes called “wooly pigs,” for good reason – and they’re related to the wild boar. Like their boar brethren, Mangalitsa meat is lightly gamey, with a sweet, nutty, intense flavor. (more…)

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The Lost Abbey - Inferno Ale - LabelFounded in 2006, Port Brewing is a young company. However, in the few years since opening business, they have established an impressive reputation.

Founder, Tomme Arthur, is from San Diego and is particularly known for his Belgian-style beers. Arthur got hooked on beer in college – and not just in the usual kind of way. His roommate and his roommate’s father had traveled in Europe (including Belgium) and, in turn, they introduced him to a whole world of different beer styles and traditions. Subsequently, he became so enamored with the beverage and the world of brewing that in 1996, at the age of 23, he took a job at a start-up San Diego brewery. That brewery quickly folded due to poor management but, by his own account, Arthur was exposed to some pretty tasty beer-making in the process. It was only several years later that he opened up a brewery of his own and, eventually, he took over a brewing facility from Stone Brewing Company in San Marcos, CA. This is the company’s current base of operations and where Arthur began making both American ales and the Belgian-inspired Lost Abbey beers. (more…)

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Winnimere - Jasper HillLast year, I visited the Cellars at Jasper Hill and had the opportunity to participate in the Winnimere cheesemaking process. It was a very educational experience as there are some interesting new developments going on at Jasper Hill. I thought I would share a little about the cheesemaking process, as well as give a sneak peek into a couple of new cheeses:

Flocculation

Flocculation is a test conducted with a rounded knife. The knife is put into the renneted milk. When the milk starts to curdle and grab onto the knife, an experienced cheesemaker is able to determine the exact time to cut the curd. (more…)

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Burro 1889 from Le Fattorie FiandinoItalian cuisine is often associated with Mediterranean ingredients like olive oil. However, if you travel along the country’s northern borders, you will find many locals producing and regularly cooking with butter. Generally speaking, butter gets its flavor from the quality of milk used to make it, and its texture from the techniques used to manipulate that milk into the final product. (more…)

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Dehydrated Morel Mushrooms

Dehydrated Morel Mushrooms

The months of January through early April in New England signify a time of rest and re-growth on the farm. While fields are quiet and covered with snow, farmers are offered a brief respite from harvesting. This time is used to select seeds and finish crop plans for spring. Naturally, this also means a lull in local produce available here at the shop, as many crops are out-of-season or grown in limited quantities at this time of the year.

Luckily, West Coast farms are able to offer and ship fresh, organic and sustainably harvested fruits and vegetables during the early months of the year. Here at our Cambridge location, we have been working closely with small family farms and foragers who practice similar growing methods to the farms we work with in New England. Among these are Foraged and Found Edibles, a purveyor and harvester of wild edibles from Northern California to British Columbia, from the Pacific Ocean to the Continental Divide. (more…)

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Marco Giacosa Tagliolini con Tartufo

Tagliolini con Tartufo

Shortly before Christmas, a display went up in front of our wine section: stacks and stacks of beautiful boxes of egg pasta. Brand new to the shop, the pasta was made by a gentleman named Marco Giacosa in Alba, a town in the northwest of Italy. (more…)

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Elaine and Catharine of EH Chocolatier

L-R: Catharine and Elaine of EH Chocolatier

Elaine Hsieh and Catharine Sweeney never meant to become chocolatiers. In fact, they first met over a wedding cake. A mutual friend was getting married and enlisted them to bake her cake – something new to both of them. Judging by their continuing partnership, the cake was a success, a challenge that got them started making sweets of their own. (more…)

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