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Education

Crème de Cassis de Dijon: The Secret to “Kir”

This week we’re highlighting one of our favorite French liqueurs, the inky black currant flavored Crème de Cassis de Dijon. These sweet little bottles of crème de cassis are made in Burgundy by Briottet, a company run by the Briottet family in the town of Dijon since 1836.

Briottet Crème de CassisBriottet makes their crème de cassis with only “Noir de Bourgogne” black currants. The word “crème” signifies that the liqueur is made from macerated, real fruit rather than flavorings and, the addition of the name Dijon means that the currants (“cassis”) used were grown only in the commune of Dijon. These currants are picked quickly at their peak ripeness and are immediately immersed in alcohol where they macerate for 3 months. Sugar is then added to balance out the tart flavor of the currants – it also makes the liqueur syrupy. Upon completion, crème de cassis has about the same alcohol content as port. Continue Reading »

Roasting with Barrington Coffee

I recently visited Barrington Coffee at their roastery in Lee, MA, in the heart of the Berkshires. Roastmaster Brian Heck, along with fellow coffee alchemist Paul, guided me through Barrington’s process of coaxing the delicate aromas and fine flavors out of their unroasted, green coffee beans.

Decidedly American Hams: Mangalitsa and Red Wattle

Though Edwards hams have become an icon of the South and its distinctly American food traditions, the family didn’t set out to join the meat business. The company’s founder was a ferry operator, and he began selling his family’s cured ham on sandwiches to hungry travelers. They were a hit, and thus a much tastier business venture was born—thankfully for all of us, I’d say.

Ancient Grains: Cooking with Traditional Cereals

Historians have documented the development of basic architecture, tools and weapons as well as an emergence of agriculture and the reliance upon the foods grown in cultivated fields to as far back as 9,000 B.C.E. Cereals, grasses and grains were among the first crops to be harvested and prepared, usually by grinding them into meal and cooking them over a fire. Grains were also ground into flour for bread or fermented and brewed into beer.

Caviar: A Luxurious Taste of History

Champagne. Cheese. Cake. Caviar. So many goodies start with the letter “C” – and many of them are quite luxurious foodstuffs. Caviar is one of the most luxurious of all. At the extreme, caviar has been packaged in solid gold tins and sold at secret auction to the highest bidder.