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Friday, December 4, 2015

Santa in Your Mailbox

The holiday season is descending and with a global digital economy this means specialty food-shopping is just a click away.  It’s no longer necessary to bring home your beloved treats from travels out of state or overseas--- most can be easily ordered online and within days be delivered to your doorstep.  Here’s a list (and, I’ve checked it twice) of my treasured foodie items that scream holidays.

                                  Long Clawson's Stilton is worth seeking out.

Stilton Cheese:   Yes, I know Trader Joe’s carries Stilton, but it can’t compare with the Stilton from Long Clawson Dairy in England.  I was so enamored with this cheese that I made a trip to England in the 1990’s to visit this dairy.  Williams Sonoma (catalogue only), carries a 2 lb wheel of it over the holidays only, however it’s $75.  Igourmet.com has the best price at about $20 a lb.

                                          I don't even like bacon but this one grabbed me.

Applewood Smoked Bacon:  I was introduced to this beyond-belief-bacon at a cooking class in Savannah, Georgia this year with a group of Wine-Knows.  The chef orders oodles of it directly from the family that has been smoking meats for nearly a century.  I ordered several pounds of it the night after the class while sitting in my bed in Savannah.  $13 per pound and worth every penny: www.Nueske.com.

                             The ideal accompaniment to any charcuterie platter.

Duck Mousse Basque:  ‘Tis the season of indulgence and this decadent treat is sure to please even the most serious foodie.  Packed in a serving-ready crock, the mousse’s creamy and dreamy texture, along with its Port-infused flavor, are the perfect gift for the holidays. $10 plus shipping at www.dartagnan.com.

                                    William Sonoma's bombshell cookies.

Peppermint Bark Cookies:   I could kill the friend who brought me these as a gift as they are truly killer.  There are many knockoffs out there, but none can compare to those found in William Sonoma’s online catalogue (William Sonoma has an exclusive arrangement with their maker so that they cannot be sold elsewhere).  Outrageously priced at $25 for a dozen small cookies, they are the holiday bomb.  www.williams-sonoma.com.

                          American fruit cake needs to take a serious lesson from Italian Panforte.

Panforte di Siena:  Panforte is a very dense, honey spice cake chocked full of nuts and dried fruits.   The original recipe comes from the Tuscan town of Siena, however, nearly every town in central Italy now offers them for sale.  There are many online sources for them, but I suggest using Igourmet.com to reduce the shipping charges should you order the above stilton.  $20-30.

                                         Mostarda is found in every deli in northern Italy.

Mostarda:  Keeping on the Italian theme, this condiment from northern Italy makes for a great holiday gift.   Think of an Italian chutney and serve it with a cheese platter, or as an accompaniment to meat or poultry.  It comes in a variety of fruit flavors and combinations of fruits.   Igourmet.com carries several flavors, but I particularly like the fig:  $10.


Have a yummy holidaze.

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