Well, Spring has finally come knocking on our door and, after months of dreary, grey and raw cold, New Englanders can take a deep breath and enjoy the warmth and sunshine! Since everyone pretty much hibernates through the winter, I always feel like I want to host an April gathering, re-connecting with friends who we haven’t seen in ages. This calls for pulling out our favorite seasonal cookbooks, collecting white ceramic platters, marble cutting boards, special small gold dishes, artichoke candles and setting a beautifully landscaped table!
“Forest Feast Gatherings” has beautiful vegetarian focused menus and decor suggestions! This weekend, I’m hoping to use their “Cocktail Party” menu featuring rose spritzers, kumquat gimlet punch, avocado-tahini crostinis, truffled cucumber rounds and spicy chocolate almonds!
Valentine’s Day is almost upon us and it is one of my favorite holidays. Whether you are partnered or single, to me, it is a day that is simply filled with gratitude for the love of the people who are most special in our lives. Yes, it has been over-commercialized, but behind that, is the simple call to action to tell people you love how much you appreciate them. And…chocolate plus flowers helps😊
We love to support local small-batch makers and recently discovered McCrea’s Candies! Honestly, I have never been much of a fan of caramels in the past because they awlays felt super hard, tough to chew, and way too sticky. Until now. McCrea’s are a whole new ballgame. – soft, melt in your mouth, just the right amount sweet. Flavors include classic vanilla, rosemary truffle, deep chocolate, single malt scotch ( personal favorite) and black lava sea salt.
These are the brainchild of Jason McCrea, a local scientist, and Karen McCrea, marketing and product development whiz. Originally created in his home kitchen, Jason and Karen now cook up these little wonders in a small commercial Boston kitchen. They use an early 20th century candy cutting and wrapping machine to keep the process traditional!
Sold in pretty tubes for $15, these treats make lovely gifts!
So, let’s chat about SHRUBS…the delicious small-batch variety made from fruit and cider vinegar, not the little green bushy ones. During the Colonial Era, farmers made shrubs as a way of preserving fruit from the harvest, mixing it with sugar and vinegar and bottling it up for a later date! In recent years, indie bartenders and cocktail mixologists have started creating their own flavor profiles for signature drinks! A small amount of shrubs add a fruit punch and tangy bite!
We recently discovered Shrub & Co., a small-batch maker out of California that packs up the sweetest little gift sets using organic fruit and aromatics for all of us home chemists who love to experiment and play with our barware! Flavors include hardest peach, apple, wildflower, honey, spicy ginger and cranberry!
Apotheker’s Kitchen is a local small-batch chocolate company started by Russ and Shari Apotheker out of the Crop Circle Kitchens! Their bars and super-addictive marshmallows are honey-sweetened and made with love!