Archive for December, 2005
If you ask any epicurean, the whole point of going to Paris (the unofficial chocolate mousse capital of the world) is to order dessert at every café and nibble on sweet delicacies in between meals, non? But at the end of the day, even the svelte-est of travelers can experience a slight tinge of remorse. Thats where the heroic Patrick Roger comes in. The chocolate sculptors Saint Germain des Prés boutique is renowned for (what else?) exquisite combinations of decadent chocolate sculpted into extraordinary shapes. Although the truffles are what lure us inside the heavily scented shop, the array of glistening fruit jellies are nothing short of marvelous, particularly the black currant and guava flavors, which have intensely fresh flavor with seemingly half the guilt.
Drinking tea is a ritual that’s been around for 5,000 years, and doing it in style makes all the difference, as the folks at Samovar will tell you. This Castro tea lounge is more of a modern Zen oasis than the stuffy china-closet digs the term “high tea” usually recalls. Grass floors, burnished woods, bronze Buddhas, and plump cushions strewn every which way take customers back to the way original tea connoisseurs might have enjoyed the drink. Samovar’s delectable seasonal savories have a Pan-Asian flavor and you can top off your meal with a selection from the exhaustive tea menu, which includes white, green, oolong, black, pu-erh, and herbal. Those who want to splurge may be drawn to the 1940 Vintage Extra Age cup of pu-erh tea, infused with 10 different blends, at $23; a staffer may tell you it’s not for beginners, but that’s just tea-speak. Style or not, in the end it’s just a good hot cuppa.
We know that the season is almost over, but before it’s too late we wanted to point you towards our latest experiment in cocktails: The Peppermintini. It comes as a great set, complete with the minty mixer and crushed candy cane rimmer perfect for those post christmas parties where you can show off all your presents or you know, exchange them into something you always wanted … And whilst you are exchanging try out the new Roberto Cavalli premium vodka, it adds a nice tang to the peppermint. Currently we only found them at Whole Foods, but we hope that they will have a broader distribution soon. At least in time for next christmas…
You all know how much we love Scandinavian designers and Eva Solo has been amongst our favorites for a very long time. Now we have just been able to play with their garlic press, and it is not only gorgeous, but works extremely well… The base works as a storage unit for individual cloves, and the press itself uses slits instead of holes, which makes the unit so much easier to clean than your old press is stainless and can easily be chucked into the dishwasher. So, now we’ll get ready for some Bagna Cauda…
Nordic designers have always been at the top when it comes to clean lines and beautiful gorgeous simplicity. Rikke Hagen goes on step further and pays homage to Japan, and it turns out to be quite stellar. The bell shaped pot is cast porcelain and because we know how hot a porcelain handle can be, it is replaced by a simple glazed wooden handle. We love this beautiful design for it’s contrast and elegant lines and the fact that it is so highly usable. Completing the picture are matching cups with saucers in walnut, cherry or ash that double as lids. So get out the Gyokuru and get ready for some post holiday bliss…
Sure, it’s a little late to order these exquisite chocolates and get them delivered by the holidays– but there is plenty of time to get them for your New Years party. These swiss chocolates are made without any artificial ingredients and made with 100% cocoa butter. Intemperantia is one of the conscious chocolate makers who also makes a completely vegan chocolate, one without any dairy or animal bi-products. Also, cocoa trees are normally the most heavily sprayed trees by pesticides, and the fat inside a cocoa plant holds onto these pesticides more than any other fruit– these chocolates are 100% organic and pesticide free. Safe and delicious!
Dr. Paolo Pescia’s flower honeys are some of our favorites. Each of his unfiltered honeys is harvested on the Pescia Family’s farm at the peak of each season. Pescia has an unparalleled environmentally conscious process, transporting his hives to the prime flowering zones throughout Tuscany to ensure the best flavors. These rich and tasty honeys have been enjoyed throughout Italy for two generations. We love to give them as hostess gifts or serve them as an accompaniment to a rich pannacotta.
While visiting Paris this past spring, we happened across Hédiard’s famous pâtes de fruits in La Grande Epicerie Bon Marche. Velvety and divine, these little squares of delicious fruit purée are encrusted with sugar and nestled in Hédiard’s signature red box. Each piece is made of 100% pure fruit and each box contains a variety of flavors to delight the mouth, such as lime, black currant and fig. Hédiard’s little jewels are intensely sweet and immensely flavorful, making a lovely treat.
Eva Solo is a Danish design company with a knack for making everyday objects exquisitely beautiful. Whether it’s a bird feeder, a bread box, or some kitchenware they clearly have no design boundaries or lack of creativity. With form in mind, their Fruit Peeler is a lot of fun and very functional– its stainless steel blade is built into a strong plastic handle. “The ultimate combination of appearance and functionality.”
Donatella Arpaia is one of the hottest things going in the food world in NYC. She has three successful restaurants: Ama, David Burke and Donatella, and Bellini, all of which have received rave reviews from the press. Their success undoubtedly lies in her talent to source out some of the finest ingredients available, and combine them with wonderful traditional recipes influenced by her relatives in Apulia. Luckily for us she is not the greedy type, and doesn’t keep all that goodness to herself. She has just released a new line of products that includes a traditional Neaopolitan-style passata made from fresh San Marzano tomatoes, an olive oil that is a special fruttato straight from Apluia, and a chewy almond biscotti that is simply divine. Just the thing to make that special meal taste the way it should.