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Archive for the ‘Candy & Confections’ Category

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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Membrillo, quince paste, cotognata, marmeladaIf you love cheese, you’ve likely come across the sweet, tangy condiment called membrillo. Membrillo is the Spanish word for the quince fruit and is commonly used to refer to the sweet quince paste also known as cotognata in Italian and marmelada in Portuguese. Even though recipes vary, quince and sugar — cooked to a thick consistency, molded and cooled — are the primary ingredients. The resulting quince paste is a traditional accompaniment to many cheeses including the famous Manchego.

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Liddabit Sweets’ chocolate bar: The Snacker

So, I confess.  I am a bit of a chocoholic.  But really, it’s not my fault.  It can clearly be attributed to a genetic trait inherited from my father’s side of the family.

The most recent thing to feed my habit?  Liddabit chocolate bars.  Liddabit Sweets is based in Brooklyn, New York and was founded by two sweet loving ladies who met while studying the pastry arts at the French Culinary Institute.  Everything is handmade with top-notch ingredients such as unsweetened, organic peanut butter and sea salt.  As much as possible, their ingredients are organic and sourced locally.  For the P&B Mallow Candy Bar (butter cookie, crunchy peanut butter and marshmallow), both the cookie and the marshmallows are made by the Liddabit team. (more…)

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