Showing posts with label gourmet food store. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gourmet food store. Show all posts


Who Needs Cadbury Anyway?

I never turn down chocolate, but as I've gotten older, quality is something that has become more important to me. That way I can really appreciate the craftmanship that went into my sweet treat. La Maison du Chocolat has the quality thing down pat.

The recently released images of their 2015 Easter collection and my jaw kind of hit the floor when I saw how flawlessly the master chocolatiers where able to create the cutest little traveling ducks--suitcases and all!--all out of different chocolates. Recommended prices in this collection range from $45 for the Aviator Egg (not pictured) to $160 for Easter Flight (the duck on the right in the photo above). They are only available for purchase at the UES location of the store (1018 Madison Avenue).

Here's an awesome video featuring these works of art:

However, if you had something a little cheaper in mind for a hostess or just because gift, they've got you covered as well. I sampled the tube of 7 Maison praliné eggs and loved the variety of different egg fillings, including crunchy, smooth hazelnut, dentelle, and almond slivers ($10).

Receive complimentary shipping on all orders placed through tomorrow 3/31 at La Maison du Chocolat's online boutique.

La Maison Du Chocolat on Urbanspoon 

Note: I received the tube of praliné eggs complimentary from La Maison du Chocolat but all opinions are my own.


My Oh Maille

I'd like to share something I learned this week: mustard is not just mustard. Sounds simple and kind of silly I know, but it's true!

We were invited to check out the newly opened UWS outpost of Maille (rhymes with fry), a Dijon-based mustard brand that has been producing the top-notch condiment since way back in 1747. With stores in Dijon, London and Paris, this is their first foray into the US market. We got a tour around the store with mustard sommelier (what a nifty title!) Pierette, who on top of letting us taste every single mustard they sell in the store, gave us some history on mustard making and some tips on how we can use it outside of the sandwich.

Maille is most famous for its mustard on tap. At any given time, they have 5 different flavors--white whine, chablis, sauternes, wholegrain chardonnay, and a seasonal option (currently it's black truffle and chablis)--available in 3 different sizes. These mustards are sold in reusable stoneware jars that can be refilled at a discount. After trying all of these, my favorite was the sauternes, though it is price prohibitive for me to advocate all of my readers going out and buying a jar unless you want to fork over a Benjamin. At a lightly lower price point, the whole grain chardonnay would make for an excellent steak crust (or for simply dipping cocktail wieners).

Next, we moved over to the pre-packaged jars that sell for $9-$13. Pierette said when Anton Maille, the founder of the company, first started he had upwards of 150 flavors. Now they produce 47 and stock about 20. Favorites out of this batch were the walnut and the honey dijon. I was also intrigued by the basil, which had a surprising kick, and the sundried tomato and espelette chili pepper, which Pierrette said would be great in scrambled eggs. She also talked of salad dressings and risotto, ice cream and cakes, all flavored with these mustards. Before meeting her I would have thought this talk crazy, but after my taste test, I was so intrigued!

The store features a wide variety of gift options including mustard gift packs, vinegars and oils, mustard bowls and tea towels.

And don't forget your mustard spoons! Apparently (who knew?), you're not supposed to put metal spoons in mustard as it changes the flavor. Serving with wood or plastic is best, but wood is so much prettier. Maille sells 3 different sizes of spoon and of course I had to buy one--too cute!

Also on display are some old mustard artifacts, heritage bowls, and a giant mustard tureen that Pierette said must have belonged to a very wealthy family way back when. You can also see old newspaper clippings and a portrait of Anton Maille.

When I got home, I was so inspired by my visit that I decided to try one of the recipes on Maille's website on my farmshare carrots. Delish! (There was also talk of perhaps hosting a mustard party--what fun!).

Looking for something to do with an out-of-town friend, mustard lover or date? Take them to Maille (185 Columbus Avenue)! We easily spent 45 minutes tasting and asking questions and (perhaps) making some purchases. The staff is incredibly friendly and knowledgeable. Pierette said they are also planning a French-food themed event with some local vendors for March. Stay tuned!


Free Cheese...FREE CHEESE!!

Life without cheese just wouldn't be life. I should really frame that quotation and hang it in kitchen. Anyway, don't you agree though?

One of my favorite cheese stores in the city, Murray's Cheese, is celebrating the opening of their 100th nationwide store by giving away free delectable creamy goodness in the form of grilled cheese sandwiches to the first 100 people who visit their flagship West Village store (254 Bleecker Street) on Saturday February 1 starting at 11 am. Their website says they will have other snacks to nosh on and beer will be poured.

In addition, Murray's is hosting a contest to win one of 10 $100 shopping spree in their store. You can enter here. So who's ready to get their cheese on?


A Store for Gourmet Addicts

Gourmet foodstuffs makes my heart tingle and my stomach jump for joy. When I heard that O & Co., the Maine based food chain that sources ingredients from all over Provence and the Mediterranean basin, had opened a new store in the Shops at Columbus Circle and was having an opening party, I had to check it out.

The store itself is fairly small, but it's packed to the brim with specialty olive oils (some wrapped in gold foils with hefty price tags), pastas, vinegars and other goodies like tapenades and truffle salts.

I was immediately offered a glass of prosecco with one of O & Co's vinegars. Vinegar with prosecco!?! The thought originally made me cringe, but these are not your average vinegars. In fact, I was told that to be truly considered a vinegar in France, a certain level of acidity must be achieved. The flavored vinegars the bartender was serving were really only "condiments" flavored with fruits like fig, pomegranate and apple. I tried the fig and it was surprisingly delicious in my bubbly. A salesman also let me sample a bit of the cherry "condiment" on a spoon, telling me that he uses it on everything from vanilla ice cream to salads to chicken. With the 15% discount they were offering that night, I had to take advantage and bought myself a bottle. I can't wait to experiment!

In addition to the prosecco, waiters passed hor d'ouevers made from all O & Co. ingredients including truffle-icious bites of potato and olive oil crisps, olive oil cakes with poppy seeds and jelly, as well as samples of pretty much anything in the store on cute little spoons.

Since I was traveling home the next day, I settled on the fried mussels in pickle sauce for my mom and basil oil for my dad. If you love basil and/or pesto, you have to pick yourself up a bottle of this one-drop-goes-a-long-long-long-way potion. At the end of the day, I'm glad to know I have another place to spoil myself nearby whenever I get the gourmet urge.