Ihsan and Valerie own and run the Formaggio Kitchen family of stores. As is true of any folks passionate about their jobs, work intertwines throughout all aspects of their lives. Their travels – frequent and far-flung – are largely dictated by the food producers they want to meet or to revisit, by rumors of new and exciting foodstuffs and/or food conferences such as “Cheese,” the biennial Slow Food festival held in Bra, Italy. Their larder and wine cellar are stocked with favorite items they have imported or new items they are testing out. Even when on holiday, they are in direct communication with all three stores, coordinating deliveries from Europe and generally checking to make sure everything is on track. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Herbs, Spices, Salts & Peppers’ Category
Posted in About Us, Cheese, Christmas, Gift Giving, Gifts & Wares, Grains, Rice, Flours & Beans, Hanukkah, Herbs, Spices, Salts & Peppers, Holiday, Jams & Preserves, Meats & Charcuterie, Olive Oil & Specialty Oils, Pasta, Staff Profiles, Wine, tagged Arraya, Bleu des Basques, Comté, food, food gifts, gift ideas, Ihsan Gurdal, rillettes, robiola, Sainte-Maure Belgique, Saveur du Maquis, Vacherin Mont d'Or, Valerie Gurdal on December 12, 2012 | 4 Comments »
Posted in Cheese, FAQs, Food History, Herbs, Spices, Salts & Peppers, tagged achiote, achiote tree, annatto, Bixa orellana, Cheese, coloring, food additives, natural coloring, roucou on July 26, 2012 | 4 Comments »
Mimolette. Red Leicester. Shropshire Blue. What do these three cheeses have in common? They are all orange and they are all colored with annatto. Annatto is a somewhat mysterious ingredient added to a number of cheeses and, recently, I took a minute to research where it comes from and a bit of its history. (more…)
Posted in France, Herbs, Spices, Salts & Peppers, Producer Profile, Travelogues, tagged AOC, Aoxa d’Espelette, Espelette, Ihsan Gurdal, pepper, pepper flakes, pepper puree, Piment d'Espelette, piperrada, Valerie Gurdal on November 18, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
About this time last year, while traveling through the Pyrenees mountains, Valerie, Ihsan and I stopped for a few days to pay a visit to the small farm that produces one of our favorite products: Piment d’Espelette AOC. Piment d’Espelette (translation: peppers from Espelette) are bright red peppers grown in the town of Espelette and 9 surrounding communes. These peppers have a delicate, sweet-fruity flavor and a medium spiciness, a little milder than your average jalapeño. They’re most often sold dried, whole or pulverized into a flaky powder. (more…)
Posted in Buyer's Guides, Education, Herbs, Spices, Salts & Peppers, tagged Alaea, Dario Cecchini, fleur de sel, food, Guérande, Ile de Ré, Le Paludier, Maldon, Murray River, Noirmoutier-en-l‘Île, Profumo del Chianti, salt, sel, sel gris, sodium chloride on April 8, 2011 | 3 Comments »
In my first installment on the subject of salt, I touched on why this mineral is an important component of our diet and why it has played such a critical role in human history. Now, with access to salt in abundance, we have the luxury of focusing not just on sourcing it but on distinguishing between and even augmenting different varieties.
Here at the shop, we have many kinds of salt, sourced from all over the world. It can be daunting to try to choose between the lot of them so, when Formaggio Kitchen‘s owner, Ihsan, recently opened a number of them for a class, I jumped at the opportunity to do a little tasting across varieties and types, hitting many of the ones I had never tried before. Here are the results of my research and some of my tasting notes for others who might be interested in exploring the wide variety of salts that are now available to us: (more…)
Posted in Buyer's Guides, Education, Herbs, Spices, Salts & Peppers, tagged curing, fleur de sel, food, Mark Kurlansky, preserving, salt, sea salt, sel, sel gris, Shirley Corriher, sodium chloride, table salt on March 8, 2011 | 14 Comments »
Most folks know that salt is somehow critical to human survival. However, it wasn’t until reading Mark Kurlansky’s book, Salt, that I became aware of just how integral this substance is to the healthy functioning of our bodies and, consequently, the major role it has played in human affairs throughout much of recorded history. As far as our bodies are concerned, the average adult human contains just over a half pound of salt or, as Kurlansky calculates, roughly 3 or 4 salt shakers. However, in the natural course of things, we lose this salt and must take action to replenish it. (more…)
Our spice buyer, Julia, has been working really hard on our spice selection here at the shop. She recently spearheaded an effort to improve packaging – the new tins not only better protect the spices from sunlight but they also hold up better. Previously, some of the Turkish peppers would actually cause the plastic containers to crack open and this no longer happens. An added plus – the new containers look really chic too!
Julia has also been making an effort to bring in some new and special spices. This week saw the addition of three new peppercorns to our shelves. (more…)