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Archive for the ‘Candy & Confections’ Category

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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A Representative Selection of Our Top 10 for 2013

At the end of each year, staff members at all three of our shops – in Cambridge, the South End of Boston and in New York – fill out a staff survey. We reflect on what we have tasted over the course of the past year – moments where we were surprised (both pleasantly and unpleasantly), new and exciting food experiences, as well as the flavors we found ourselves returning to time and again. We pick our favorites and share memorable moments. Some tried-and-true items appear in our survey results year after year – other items are new and exciting finds from the current year – goodies in this instance that distinguished 2013 from all others. Here are our top ten picks culled from this year’s survey results! (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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Vermont Cheesemakers Festival - 2013

It was the perfect day yesterday at Shelburne Farms for the 5th annual Vermont Cheesemakers Festival. Forty plus cheesemakers from around the state of Vermont, as well as a few from New Hampshire and Massachusetts, gathered for an afternoon of tasting and talking – and, happily, we did a lot of both! (more…)

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Moro Blood Oranges

Last Wednesday morning, as we received our weekly delivery of California produce, the wind was picking up and the clouds were grey and churning – a sure sign of snow on the way. As we hurriedly brought in the fresh greens, jewel-like lemons and first-of-the-season strawberries, the juxtaposition between the impending New England storm and spring produce from California was increasingly apparent. Unpacking a box of Moro blood oranges from Rancho del Sol, I was immediately hit with a rich, balsamic fragrance that was only matched in richness by the oranges’ bright ruby appearance. Having yet to preserve any of this season’s citrus fruit, I immediately decided to snap up a pound to juice and candy. (more…)

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Cornelis de Heem - Still Life with a Basket of Fruit

At the end of each year, staff members at all three of our shops – in Cambridge, the South End and in New York – fill out a staff survey. We reflect on our year in food, pick our favorites and share memorable moments. Some items are tried-and-true favorites, regularly appearing on the survey. Others are new and exciting products that helped to define and distinguish our year in food. Here are our top ten picks culled from this year’s survey results! (more…)

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Comté Extra Grand CruAt the end of each year, staff members at all three of our shops fill out a staff survey, reflecting on our year in food. We pick our favorites, reminisce about revelatory food moments and about new discoveries. Like clockwork, some products can be counted on to appear each year. Other foodstuffs disappear and/or reappear, depending on staff members’ palates. Here we share our top ten picks culled from this year’s survey results – we hope you enjoy these delicious goodies as much as we do!

- 2011 Staff Top 10 -

Marcel Petite Comté – Year in and year out, this is the headline cheese of the survey! A raw, cows’ milk cheese from the Jura mountains, it is a classic French AOC cheese. What did staffers have to say? One wrote, “I feel this is the backbone of our cheese collection. Hand crafted and hand selected.” Another wrote, “aging cheese does matter and the care taken from start to finish with these cheeses makes for an amazing product at any age.” (more…)

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Storefront of Pietro Romanengo in Genova

In the list of wonderful, accidental finds we have made for the shop, few rival the discovery of Italian confectioners, Pietro Romanengo fu Stefano. On a trip to northern Italy, Ihsan and Valerie were strolling the labyrinthine streets of old Genova when they stumbled across a fantastical, gem-like little shop.

Romanengo Candied Tangerine

Candied Tangerine

Since 1780, the Romanengo family has been dispensing handmade candies from this beautiful shop with its marble walls, glass shelves and rich wooden cases. Crystal receptacles are filled with confetti-colored candied fennel seeds, threads of sugar-coated cinnamon, sweet fruit fondants, chewy rosewater marshmallows and tiny pastiglie. On his first visit, Ihsan bought some treats to take home and each parcel was painstaking wrapped in dark blue tissue-like paper and tied with a Genovese sailors knot. Since that trip, we have been importing directly from Romanengo and several staff members have made the pilgrimage to Genova themselves! (more…)

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Emily recently traveled to Genova to learn how to glacée candied fruits and chestnuts with the Romanengo family. 

Pietro Romanengo fu StefanoI carefully fished the candied chestnut out of the pot of hot sugar syrup, watching its outer layer become glossy with white icing. Marcello leaned in to inspect my work.

“Bella,” he said. “Bella.”

I appreciated the encouragement. Marcello, who works for the Genovese confectioner Pietro Romanengo fu Stefano, has been making marrons glacés for 30 years. I had been in Italy learning this craft for just over a day—not even a blip when you consider that Romanengo has been in business for 230 years! (more…)

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Ameixas d'Elvas plumsWhen is a plum not a plum? When it is a sugarplum or a plum pudding! Judging by the names of these traditional British Christmas treats, one would think that both include some quantity of plum. Not true! For centuries, the term ‘sugarplum’ has referred to any type of dried fruit, made into a small, vaguely plum-shaped sweet. During Victorian times, these sugary candies sometimes contained raisins or currants which were called plums.

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