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Posts Tagged ‘Chocolate’

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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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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Mast Brothers SignSince opening in Brooklyn a few years ago, Mast Brothers Chocolate has been making a big name for itself. Founding brothers, Rick and Michael Mast, create flavorful bean-to-bar chocolate with imagination and enthusiasm at every step. They import some of the finest single origin cacao from around the world. Recently, they realized a long-held dream of importing some of their beans by sailboat, direct from the Dominican Republic to New York. (more…)

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Mast Brothers chocolate barsThough we may think of Europe as the epicenter of fine chocolate, America is arguably home to the world’s most exciting community of up-and-coming chocolate makers.

What you see in America that you don’t necessarily see elsewhere is a growing crop of “bean-to-bar” chocolate producers – artisans who are working directly with raw cocoa beans, often sourced directly from farmers. In their small labs in places as unlikely as Utah and Missouri, these producers are seeing the cocoa through from its raw form to its natural end — beautiful bars of chocolate that showcase as much of the flavor and character of the original bean as possible.

It sounds like a relatively straightforward process, but it’s actually unusual. A lot of chocolatiers buy pre-made chocolate from larger companies, melt it down and make their own bars or confections. This is not to say their products are necessarily bad or inferior, but just as we support small-craft cheese and wine at Formaggio Kitchen, we also like to support small-craft chocolate as much as possible. (more…)

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Salty Oats cookiesMy father has always said that if you make something well, people will go out of their way to get it. I suspect many folks would do just that for Terri Horn’s Salty Oats cookies. (more…)

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Jeni's Ice Cream

Jeni’s Ice Cream from Columbus, Ohio

In addition to my chocolate problem, I have a concerted weakness for ice cream.  I lamented the closure of Herrell’s in Harvard Square, a staple of my college days.  However, I now have reason to rejoice in the arrival of Jeni’s ice cream in our store.

Before it actually hit our shelves, Jeni’s sent several pints of their frozen magic which we opened up in the kitchen and which staff (liberally!) sampled.  As Liddabit’s chocolate bar, The Snacker, made me revisit and rethink my aversion to peanuts in my sweets, Jeni’s ice cream surprised me with the addictiveness of its non-chocolatey flavors.  Chocolate (or something with chocolate chunks in it) tends to be my go-to ice cream flavor.  With Jeni’s, however, it’s not quite so simple.  If there were a fairytale written about ice cream, or if Edmund had been seduced by ice cream instead of Turkish Delight in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe or if Willy Wonka had made ice cream, I could easily imagine them using the flavors that Jeni’s has so imaginatively and deliciously concocted! (more…)

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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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