Posts Tagged ‘food gifts’


Our wine buyers’ top picks for the holidays! La Cigarrera Amontillado VOR, 2012 Domaine Comte Abbatucci “Cuvee Faustine” Rouge, 2005 CUNE “Contino” Rioja Reserva, and 1979 Kopke Colheita Port


The holiday season is upon us, and once again this year we’ve asked our wine buyers at both shops to recommend the wines they’re most excited about gifting this year. These are not every day wines, but rather special bottles that you will want to gift or sip with loved ones. If any of these wines strike your fancy let us know so we can set a bottle (or more) aside for you, as some of them are rare and available in very limited quantities.


La Cigarrera Amontillado VOR
Julie Cappellano, Wine Buyer at Formaggio Kitchen South End

Ignacio Hildago, is the ninth generation of his family to make sherry in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. This extremely rare Amontillado comes from the family’s Sacrista, where their oldest wines are kept. Here Ignacio, upon receiving permission from his family, recently tapped a single barrel of Amontillado Viejo that was a part of his grandmother’s dowry. The average age of the wine from this solera is 100 years. We were lucky to receive ½ of a case out of the 50 cases of 375mL bottles that made their way to the United States. This ancient, bronze elixir, rich with hazelnut aromas and flavors, should be served at cool room temperature. This wine can be served with a simple goat’s milk cheese like Garrotxa or Garcia de Paredes, but when I open my bottle I’ll be sipping it on its own to inhale and taste every flavor nuance to the fullest.

This wine is available at Formaggio Kitchen South End, or available for pick-up at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge with one day’s notice.


2012 Domaine Comte Abbatucci “Cuvee Faustine” Rouge 
James Hull, Wine Buyer at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge

If undeniable character, quality and a little romance are what your wine-lover craves, this standout from Jean-Charles Abbatucci brims with everything the island of Corsica can throw at it. History buffs know Jean-Charles Abbatucci as a heroic general and brother-in-arms to Napoleon, but the current Jean-Charles has become a modern-day hero by expressing Corsica’s unique grapes and terroir with passion and skill. He grows his grapes with a religious commitment to biodynamics and a good dose of eccentricity (he drives his tractor around the vines blaring traditional songs of the island because he believes they’re part of the terroir and keep the vines happy!). The aromas jumping from the glass will make you a believer—layers of wild herbs, juicy cherries and rocky mineral notes swirl around your senses and ignite the imagination. Savor it with Corsican cheese like Corsu Vecchiu, a hunk of salami and the album “Corsica” by Petru Guelfucci.

This wine is available at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge, or available for pick-up at Formaggio Kitchen South End with one day’s notice. 


2005 CUNE “Contino” Rioja Reserva
Stephen Meuse, Wine Buyer at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge

Not many wine estates can boast a winery designed by Gustaf Eiffel (of tower fame) and CUNE (kew-nay) is truly an exceptional property in many ways. Located in Haro, at the very heart of La Rioja, Spain, this winery has long enjoyed a reputation for taking a forward-thinking approach while maintaining traditional values—and this elegant wine is a case in point. In a region known for the artful blending of wines from many vineyards, CUNE breeds Contino from the grapes of a single privileged site, established in 1974. Mainly Tempranillo, it benefits from small amounts of Graciano, Mazuelo, and Garnacha Tinta. It is fermented in stainless steel then matured for two years in French and American oak. It sees extended bottle aging before release. Contino shows all the stately charm of mature Rioja, with an abundance of dark red fruits and notes of spruce forest. Tannins are beautifully conditioned and the wine is table-ready. A truly splendid holiday gift for the wine aficionado on your list.

This wine is available at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge, or available for pick-up at Formaggio Kitchen South End with one day’s notice. 


1979 Kopke Colheita Port
Marianne Staniunas, Formaggio Kitchen South End Wine Department

A Colheita Port is an aged Tawny Port, made from the grapes of a single vintage, aged in wooden casks and released by the winemaker only when it is at its peak—and ready to be relished. Traditionally, a Colheita must be aged for at least seven years, but many winemakers age them for much longer. This year, we were thrilled to receive a limited quantity of a 1979 Colheita from Portugal’s first and oldest Port House—established in Oporto in 1638 by the Kopke family. For any lover of Port, this wine is a must-have once-in-a-lifetime gift.

This wine is available at Formaggio Kitchen South End, or available for pick-up at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge with one day’s notice. 

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2014 Holiday Gift Guide!

Every year we look forward to the holidays and the excuse to share our favorite foods and kitchen accessories with friends and family. If you’re shopping for a food lover, tyrophile (cheese lover), budding chef, or seasoned culinarian this year, check out our list of top gift ideas that will please any palate! And if you’re giving in the greater Boston area, check out our “Locals Only” gift guide for special treats at our Cambridge shop!


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A Representative Selection from our Holiday Gift Guide

Do you have a food lover, budding chef, charcuterie aficionado or chocolate fiend in your life? Short on gift ideas? Not to worry – we’ve got you covered! Our staffers thought long and hard to come up with their top picks for what they would give to food-loving friends, family members and loved ones – here are the results: (more…)

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Ihsan and Valerie Gurdal

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…)

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Julia is affectionately known in the shop as “Little Red” because of her lovely red hair. She has worked at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge for 5 years and wears many hats – from cheesemonger, to classroom instructor, to buyer of chocolate, jam, honey, spices and tea.

Julia’s interest in food began early, as a young girl growing up on a small farm in eastern Oregon. It was on the farm that she learned about food in its most basic forms – between picking blackberries and making jam with her mom and sister, fishing for trout in the backyard, caring for their 30 bantam hens, or tending her own small vegetable garden next to her mother’s much larger one. In the evenings, her parents would cook everything from braised elk, to grilled whole salmon, to freshly baked bread. (more…)

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A Selection of CheesesHere at the shop, we recently had a very difficult brainstorming session. The task? To narrow down our products to a few select items that would be perfect gifts for the holiday season. Our lead cheese buyer advised on the cheese, our olive oil buyer came up with the olive oil and vinegar pairing and, in the end, the list was a team effort. We tried to find something for everyone and hope you find it helpful!

For the Cheese Lover

Cheese of the Month Club – Enroll your favorite cheese devotee in our Cheese of the Month Club. They receive a monthly delivery of hand-selected artisan cheese along with full descriptions, pairing suggestions and where appropriate, recipes. Subscriptions are available for 3 months, 6 months or 1 year at the entry or connoisseur levels. (more…)

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