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Posts Tagged ‘food’

Iced Tea

I am a year-round tea drinker and always start my day with a hot cup. That said, when it gets really steamy outside, there is nothing better than a fresh brewed cup of iced tea.

As the shop’s tea buyer, I love experimenting with different varieties and different preparations. For a great iced tea, I love  a less tannic brew with nice color and strong aromas and I have also found that unique and unexpected teas often make the most enjoyable cups. With this in mind, here are a few of my favorites: (more…)

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Zucchini - Red Fire Farm

This recipe for “Crispy Zucchini Fries” celebrates a wonderful summer crop from Red Fire Farm in Granby, MA. Serve with a favorite marinara sauce or even a sweet and tangy honey mustard. Sean, our beer buyer, suggests pairing it with Backyahd, a not overly hoppy, refreshing and light IPA from Foolproof Brewing Company of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. (more…)

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Fromageries Marcel Petite's Fort Saint Antoine

Fromageries Marcel Petite’s Fort Saint Antoine

What makes Comté so incredibly special? And, why is it a cheese I find myself drawn to time and again, lured in as if it had cast a spell on me? Of course, it’s one of France’s classic cow milk cheeses – a firm mountain cheese that was among the first to receive protected status. There are the requirements of the appellation that set it apart – Comté cheese must be made with milk from cows of the Montbéliarde (95%) and Simmental (5%) breeds. It must also be made within the regions of Doubs, Jura and Ain in France – and, the cow feed has to be from pastures within a 30km radius of the fruitière making it (a fruitière is a facility where milk from the community is pooled – generally this system exists in areas where large cheeses, like Comté, are made – Parmigiano Reggiano would be a similar example in Italy). (more…)

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Ruggles Hill Creamery - Cheese Molds

Cheese Molds

Since I began working at Formaggio Kitchen South End, I have been drawn to a selection of small goat milk cheeses made by Tricia Smith at Ruggles Hill Creamery in Hardwick, MA. Shifting from the world of art and museums to cheese, I was at first more attuned to the visual details of the cheeses I encountered than I was able to analyze the incredible flavors and aromas they offered. Tricia’s cheeses, such as the delicate Ada’s Honor and the silvery gray Brother’s Walk struck me as distinctly beautiful for their carefully developed rinds and snowy white interiors. (more…)

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Organic Pea Greens from Allen Farms (Westport, MA)

Organic Pea Greens from Allen Farms (Westport, MA)

With these high temps, many staff members have fired up their grills for burgers, fish and grilled veggies. This recipe for “Pea Greens, Pecorino and Grilled Spring Onions” is an easy little salad featuring seasonal produce – delicious red spring onions and pea greens. To wash it all down, Sean, our beer buyer, recommends Idle Hands Craft Ales’ Pandora – an American-style saison that’s fresh and bright! (more…)

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Castelmagno

Last week, Ihsan shared with us a few memories from one of his early cheese sourcing trips – a 1993 trip to the Castelmagno region of Italy. In that post, he described one of his revelatory food experiences: Gnocchi al Castelmagno. Since that trip, he has been working on recreating the dish at home. Here is the current permutation of that recipe, one he says gets pretty close to that amazing, first taste! (more…)

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Santuario di San Magno in Castelmagno

Santuario di San Magno in Castelmagno

One of the most memorable trips my wife, Valerie, and I have taken in pursuit of new cheeses was in 1993. We traveled to Castelmagno, home to the famous Italian cheese of the same name. Located on the very northwest fringes of Italy, Castelmagno is a small commune or municipality, consisting of several hamlets. We were invited to visit the region by our friend and mentor, Matteo Ascheri. The hamlet we visited had only one albergo (inn) and a total population of 56. Eleven of those inhabitants made Castelmagno. (more…)

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Here are some posts and articles related to food and drink worth a read from various sources on the web:

  • The Truth on Olive Oil Health – a post from Tom Mueller about Dr. Mary Flynn and her work to “…start separating the wheat from the chaff in olive oil health, by building a canon of solid scientific information, and debugging a number of widespread olive oil misconceptions.”
  • How to Eat a Porcupine – not only one of the best post titles but a beautifully written travelogue about the emotional progression of eating bushmeat in a foreign land. (more…)

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Poilâne Pain au Levain

If you love good bread, chances are you will be familiar with the name Poilâne. We started working with Lionel Poilâne in the mid-90s, flying his bread in each week to supply a small, but growing group of customers who had developed a taste for his dense and flavorful bread while traveling abroad. Since the  “Ici Pain Poilâne” sign went up in our shop, the demand for this famed French bread has steadily increased. (more…)

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Three cocoas: Dutch-processed (L), Valrhona natural (R) and Les Confitures à l'Ancienne drinking cocoa (bottom)

Three cocoas: Dutch-processed (L), Valrhona natural (R) and Les Confitures à l’Ancienne drinking cocoa (bottom)

At this time of year, customers often pop into the shop looking for cocoa – whether for baking a dense chocolate torte or for a warming cup of hot cocoa after hours of shoveling. There are a few different type of cocoa available and we thought it would be helpful to shed a bit of light on the differences.

What is cocoa?
Cocoa is the result of processing raw cacao seeds into what is called cocoa mass or cocoa liquor. Cocoa mass is made up of roughly equal parts cocoa solids and cocoa butter. When you buy a chocolate bar it often has a percentage figure on it. If, for example, the label indicates 75%, that means the bar is made up of 75% cocoa mass and unless other ingredients are mixed in, 25% sugar. If  you’ve ever had a taste of 100% cocoa mass, you know how important the sugar is to counterbalance the natural acidity and tannic quality of the pure cocoa. In some cases, a bit of extra cocoa butter may be added to give the chocolate a smoother textural dimension – a greater melt-in-your-mouth quality. (more…)

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