Here’s some food for thought. What happens when we die? Eternal darkness, the void, pure nothing? Or is there life beyond the veil, a Refresh button for existense? And most importantly, what the hell does this have to do with cheese?
Fear not, for we have seen the afterlife, it is alive and well, it tastes like heaven. Perhaps you’ve yet to bask in the wonder of Double Skull Taleggio, a special product of Caputo’s Cheese Cave, in which case waste no further time. Come taste it in the market. Buy it now. It’s basically edible Lazarus, a miracle of the regenerative power of our cheese caves.
Let’s start with Taleggio. It’s Italy’s second-most popular cheese, second only to Parmigiano-Reggiano, and believe me, the two couldn’t be more different. Taleggio is a semi-soft, washed-rind, smear-ripened cheese with enormously pungent aromas (read: stinky), but surprisingly mellow, fruity flavors. It comes from the Val Taleggio in Lombardy, Italy, where it’s matured for somewhere between six to ten weeks. During this time, the cheese is washed down regularly with a salt brine during maturation, which prevents mold overgrowth while simultaneously making the surface of the cheese amenable to B. linens, a class of bacteria that impart said pungency and develop the cheese’s characteristic reddish-orange crust.
When we receive our squares of Taleggio from Italy, these bricks of deliciousness are pretty much in a state of decay. This is where the real magic happens. Our affineuse (aka the cheese whisperer) starts the washing cycle all over, this time daily, and using Epic Brewing’s scary-good Double Skull Doppelbock Lager in place of the traditional saltwater bath, thus breathing new life back into this precious Taleggio. The results are transcendental. Deep, rounded flavors of malt, bread, and fruit. Wildly complex aromas. The essence of umami.
We’re serious when we say that to taste this cheese is to taste rebirth, a new life of flavor wrought in 97% humidity and daily beer baths. It’s a truly singular experience. So head on down to the market, pick up some Double Skull Taleggio, and celebrate the Day Of The Dead in true form (disclaimer: we can’t guarantee this will actually pair well with a sugar skull).
You know it’s gifting crunch time, we know it too. You’re still not sure what to give, and you haven’t started shopping yet? That’s OK, we won’t tell. Here’s what some of your favorite faces from Caputo’s are giving to their friends and family this year to serve as gifting inspiration.
Don’t see your favorite monger here? Drop by before the holiday—we’re open through the afternoon of Christmas Eve—and ask them for their personal recommendations. We’re certainly never lacking in opinions around here.
So, here you have it: each of our gift picks for 2016:
Scaldaferro Torrone – Scaldaferro is the perfect nexus of heirloom ingredients and outlier in skill. No other nougat on Earth will taste like this. In my somewhat expansive nougat experience, it is the best out there. With our modern day food system continuously degrading what people are willing to pay for food, it is a treasure that will likely be lost to history some day. I am giving Scaldaferro as a gift, because it is a perfect example what Caputo’s is trying to achieve. We fight to protect these traditional foods by sharing our passion for them with our friends, family, and customers.
Pump Street Bakery Father Christmas – Is there anything better than a chocolate figurine of Saint Nick stuffed into your stocking on Christmas morning. There is – said Saint Nick made out of really, really good chocolate. Father Christmas is hand poured 60% dark milk chocolate from HCP protected Ecuador cacao beans. This is one I’ll be gifting both family and friends this season. The best part – Father Christmas is a whopping $8.99!
Holiday Chocolate Trio – I know exactly how much time went in to procuring the selection for all of our gift collections this year because I got to help! This collection is my favorite, it’s a taste of each holiday flavor we all know and love, but each is encased in chocolate. Who says no to something like this?! Scrooge, that’s who. Unless you’re searching for a Scrooge gift, this is perfect for stuffing individually into stockings or gifting bundled in adorable, festive gift wrap.
Royal Rose Naughty or Nice Moscow Mule Duo – Moscow Mule’s gained their popularity in the 50’s and 60’s. Traditionally served with Vodka and ginger beer in a copper mug, this drink has become a regularly sought after item in most drinking establishments. Royal Rose’s Naughty or Nice Moscow Mule kit adds a twist to the mix in the “Naughty” mixer with the addition of fresh jalapeno peppers. I chose to gift this to my Mother because she has always been interested in Moscow Mules and the culture surrounding the drink.
Utah Craft Chocolate Collection – What’s better than a bar of chocolate? A whole crate of local chocolates. Our local chocolate crate is a great way to introduce someone into the world of fine chocolate. I will be gifting our local chocolate crate to not only show my love for chocolate but also to support small local companies that strive to do such an amazing job.
Fee Brother’s Grapefruit Bitters – I’ll take a hefty dose of citrus any way I can get it in these cold winter months, why not incorporate it into cocktails?! I’ll be adding to gin & tonics at gatherings all season, but these make for a great gift for anyone interested in starting a home bar.
Affineuse and general cheese whisperer
The Silver Spoon cookbook – available at our Downtown location
The Silver Spoon is an elegant book brimming with recipes for classical Italian dishes, accompanied by striking photos. There is a recipe for practically any Italian ingredient you can think of, as well as many that may be unfamiliar. The recipes are straightforward and ingredient-focused, and I find this book inspiring when I want to get out of my comfort zone and try something new. If you love a food-nerd, you can not go wrong with this book. The Silver Spoon is a great investment in the future of your table and tastebuds!
Hello sunshine, hello swimming pools. Hello icy cocktails, hello sundresses, HELLOOOO SUMMER.
It’s here, finally. My most favorite season has arrived. The Downtown Farmer’s Market is just around the corner, my outdoor pool of choice is open, outdoor concerts abound across the valley, and I’ve already had my first barbecue of the season. For me, summer is the perfect time to reconnect with my favorite farmers at the market and friends from all over the world. But all these typically involve food in one way or another. And for that, we’ve got you covered. Grab that poolside chair and your favorite summer sipper and sink your teeth into these:
CHEESE: Mesa Tome
Reason #639 for loving all things Mesa Farm: Randy only milks his goats during the natural spring season. Animal husbandry, treatment, and overall well-being is incredibly important to us at Caputo’s, and Mesa excels here. Freshly formed wheels of pasteurized goat’s milk cheese (from the happiest goats in Utah, mind you) arrive from Torrey and make their way straight to our cheese caves. One month later, these are released for our happy consumption. The small size of this cheese allows for quick aging and development of flavor thanks to our very own flora of cave bacteria and TLC from affineuse, Antonia. What appears to be an unassuming nibble of cheese turns out to be full of bright, complex flavors with a rind that only adds to the overall taste experience. Get this soon, and get it often. This is stuff to nibble on while making your #summersixteen memories last forever.
CHARCUTERIE: Olympia Provisions Sweetheart Ham
We’ve told you about Salumi master Elias Cairo growing up right here in Salt Lake City. We even told you Cairo’s father had a constant supply of home-cured meats, so we can only assume his passion and precision began from a very young age. Fast forward a few decades and we’re in love with his offerings being made in Portland, Oregon. Not only are we obsessing over their cured salami, their sweetheart ham is stealing our very own hearts, one employee at a time.
Pork sirloin tips are brined for ten days with juniper berries, fresh herbs, fresh garlic, and fresh onions before being smoked over applewood for 10 hours. Sweet, smoky, and savory combine forces to create an artisan ham worth forsaking all other hams. Sandwiches, croque monsieurs, omelets, and midnight snacks all beg for this kind of ham. You’ll be amazed at how often you’ll find yourself reaching for this once you bring it home. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
CHOCOLATE: Fruition Heirloom Costa Rica Coto Brus 74%
Fruition began as the brainchild of Bryan Graham, a pastry chef from New York who fell in love with making chocolate after working with Chef Peter Greweling. Committed to fair trade, organically produced, bean to bar production, and above all wonderful flavor, the company that began in 2011 has steadily excelled, becoming an example of what chocolate should be.
For those of you that have been to our annual Chocolate Festival, this bar hits close to home. All proceeds from our annual event are donated to the Heirloom Cacao Preservation, HCP for short. Our friends at the HCP funded the very farmers and beans used to make this bar. All our hard work put into our Chocolate Festival has come to fruition. See what I did there? Eh, eh?
Now, go, friends. Take your tasty nibbles and dance off into the sunset. Nosh at will, and nosh often.
Melted cheese is a thing of beauty. Never mind your preference regarding the type, I’m sure we can all agree that gooey, melty cheese is just the thing to pull us out of the winter doldrums. My go to melty meal of choice? Raclette.
The name of both cheese and meal is often met with sighs of appreciation and longing at first mention. Anyone who has experienced this centuries old tradition likely remembers it fondly. If you haven’t, think back to your first grilled cheese or macaroni and cheese that used high quality cheese. Remember that comforting feeling and delicious experience. Now I want you to imagine multiplying that feeling by at least five. That’s what Raclette will do you.
Raclette is a traditional Swiss alpine cheese made of cow’s milk that is aged at least three months and finished with brine baths to further develop its aroma and flavor. The result is a slightly stinky, but very creamy, decadent semifirm paste that, of course, begs to be melted. Most people will tell you the meal based on this cheese was started around the campfires of hunters who mainly ate potatoes, pickles, and this cheese while on long hunts. The story goes that the cheese ended up too close to the fire, melted over the potatoes, and voila, Raclette (the meal) was born.
Over the past few centuries, many iterations of raclette grill contraptions have arisen. Some have a long, thin heating element to melt on face of a quarter wheel of the cheese. Others resemble an Easy Bake Oven with small plates inserted under larger heating elements that can be removed and the cheese scraped over your starch and protein of choice. If you’re dying to experience this melty meal but aren’t so crazy about aquiring another crazy kitchen contraption, fear not, I love this meal and have never used anything other than my oven.
You’ll need Raclette, potatoes, and cornichons for the most basic version of this meal. I love to also include thin slices of Speck, crusty bread, pickled onions, and a big green salad when I’m making this for friends. Whatever you choose, you’ll remember it fondlt and crave it often. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
- 2 pounds sliced Raclette, rinds removed
- 1.5 pounds boiled fingerling potatoes
- 1 loaf artisan bread, sliced
- Sliced speck, prosciutto, or roasted meats
- 1 jar cornichons
- 1 jar pickled onions
- Other vegetables, mustard, or condiments, if desired
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lay slices of raclette on the bottom of a shallow baking dish or small baking sheet. Bake for about 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is completely melted and beginning to bubble and liquefy. Scrape over potatoes, bread, and any protein selections. Season with salt and pepper, serve immediately with cornichons, pickles, and other vegetables and sides.
What a year 2015 was! We had loads of fun with our ever-growing chocolate selection, we introduced the world to our amped-up array of bitters and bar goods, and we pulled out some seriously fantastic cheese from our cheese caves. It was tasty year indeed, but I can’t wait to show you what we’ve got in store for 2016. Let’s welcome the new year with our first cravings of 2016:
Of course, one raclette couldn’t suffice for us at Caputo’s. You do need options, after all, when you decide to tackle a traditional, melted-alpine-cheese-themed meal. We’ve got both Swiss and French raclette to help you and your friends stay warm this January. Raclette is one of the most well-known alpine cheeses from Europe. Raw cow’s milk wheels are washed daily while maturing into the ultimate creamy, complex, and pungent cheese. It’s perfect for the table as is, but I’ve got a serious soft spot for it melted. Get thee to thy nearest Caputo’s for raclette, artisan bread, cornichons, and more for your own traditional raclette meal. Don’t worry, I’ll have a full how-to for you in the coming weeks.
PANTRY: Olio Novello – Laudemio, Olio Verde, and Capezzana
Is it too early to call 2016 the year of the condiment oil? I proclaim it so, just you wait. There are certain foods in each type of cultural cuisines that are true stalwarts. Mustard in France, ketchup here in the states—you get the idea. Italy’s is, of course, my favorite. Condiment oil is placed on the table and hopefully never leaves. This is not the stuff for sautéing and cooking. It is reserved only for drizzling over already-cooked or prepared foods right before serving or while eating. Condiment oils can be peppery, grassy, or bright—or even all three. The feeling after your first drizzle is transcendent. It makes everything more complex and even more delicious.
Now is a great time to stock up on oils because we are currently receiving the newest releases from the oil harvest of October/November 2015. This is also the ideal time to use them. I try to finish all my condiment oils before the new harvest arrives in late winter, so I always have the very best oils at their peak of deliciousness. These are three of our very best. Start by tasting them at the store and take home your favorite. You’ll be amazed at how often you reach for it at dinner. Or breakfast. Or lunch.
CHOCOLATE: Domori Milk Chocolates
I know, I know. We love our dark chocolate here more than almost anything. But these, my friends, these are a game changer. Domori is my favorite boutique chocolatier from Italy. I love their chocolates for their untouchable texture, silkiness, and delicate attention to detail. It would only make sense that they would tackle milk chocolate with the same gusto for complexity and ingenuity. Choose from goat, sheep, donkey, or camel milk bars. They’re all unique and all incredibly complex. I have never sat and pondered milk chocolate while eating it like I have with these bars. The difference in taste, texture, and finish are exciting for me and hopefully for the world of fine chocolate.
Are you a cheese geek? Here’s Matt’s two cents, “Cheese geeks will certainly appreciate tasting through these incredible offerings of ruminant and non-ruminant milks.” It’s Adri again: I Googled ruminant for you. Your non-ruminant milk that Matt speaks of is in the donkey bar. I’m sure you’ve seen other “odd milk” bars on the market from other brands. Trust me, these are by far the best. Domori obviously uses the highest quality and freshest milk possible just based on taste.
ruminant [roo-muh-nuh nt] , noun
1. any even-toed, hoofed mammal of the suborder Ruminantia, being comprised of cloven-hoofed, cud-chewing quadrupeds.
Stay tuned for tasting notes, opinions, and more about these exciting new bars.
It pains me to even post this. Not because of anything negative, but because it will be hard to let all you lovely people buy this and not hoard it all for myself. Matt calls this a “here today, gone tomorrow” kind of item that is only briefly on our shelves for the holidays and slightly thereafter. And I hate that. I wish I could eat this torrone everyday for the rest of eternity. It’s that good. Torrone is a traditional confection made from egg whites, honey, and nuts. So simple, but so divine. There is really nothing better than the Scaldaferro Torrone selections, and I hate to admit it, but I’ve grumpily typing this since the first mention of Scaldaferro. Seriously, get this before it’s gone. You’ll miss out on a tiny piece of cloudy, sweet perfection.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. My name is Adri, and I am the queen of procrastinated gifting. Try as I might, I have yet to finish my to-do list for gifts on time. Each holiday season is the same for me: I realize my gift list is 30% accomplished and 9% wrapped, I run all over the city looking for gifts at picked-over stores and pop-up shops (arms flailing above my head the whole time), and then I go back to home base: Caputo’s.
Here’s what I know: Everyone likes to eat. Call me crazy, but food is the perfect gift, time crunch or not. Everyone has to eat, so why not let your friends and family eat the very best and most delicious treats available? Here’s your guide to the very best last-minute gifts. One gift for each of the 12 days of Christmas, a la Caputo’s:
1. Utah Dark Chocolate Collection – You can never go wrong gifting chocolate, especially in Utah. The Beehive State is internationally recognized as a well known hub for fine chocolate, in both sales and creation. Utah is home to five bean-to-bar chocolate companies that are putting themselves on the fine-chocolate map with their artisan bars and dedication to creating the best chocolate possible. Give your pals a taste of Utah with this perfect collection of fine dark chocolate, all made in Utah.
2. Local Standouts Gift Collection – This is the ideal choice for the locavore in your life. We’ve hand selected seven items that are not only made locally, but they’re world-class artisan products. From bean-to-bar chocolate to smoky and savory chili oil, this is sure to please you local-lovin’ pals.
3. White Truffles – I’m quite sure that I would prefer truffles to diamonds, and I know I’m not the only one. This is it. The most luxurious and ultimately wonderful gift for your foodie friend, or you can use it as the focal point of you holiday meal. Just the aroma knocks you off your feet, so imagine what your finished entree will do.
4. Creminelli Salami – Utah is home to not only some of the best American artisan chocophiles, but also to some of the most die-hard locavores I’ve ever met. Cristiano Creminelli started his small production in the basement of our downtown store in 2007. Now, he and his company are a national example of the Slow Food movement. The flavors are a true delight, and I love sharing a piece of Utah with my friends and family. Creminelli salamis don’t need to be refrigerated until their packaging is opened, so you can rest easy when mailing these as a gift or when you travel on long road trips to see your family this holiday season.
5. OmNom Holiday Chocolate – Time for an ol’ holiday saying: When in doubt, gift chocolate. Here’s your stocking stuffer for 2015, in a sexy little package no less. Hate wrapping? No need here. OmNom is the king of packaging, and you won’t want to hide these bars for anything. Omnom’s seasonal holiday flavor this year combines dark cherries and caramel roasted almonds. This is the stocking stuffer you can give to everyone.
6. Craft Cocktail Collection – There’s something incredibly attractive about shaking a cocktail shaker around like a mad person…or like you know what you’re doing. If your loved ones are getting into the craft-cocktail movement and experimenting at home, this is the perfect gift. We’ve put together some of the most-often used and well-known products to get your home bar started. If these bitters and bar components are good enough for the best mixologists in the world, they’re perfect for your holiday gifting.
7. Cheese Cave Tasting Sampler – Our market was founded on our love of cheese, and that adoration has only grown stronger. We’re one of five retail locations in the entire country with a cheese cave program. One cave just wasn’t cutting it for us. We need more room to to add additional wheels of cheese into their ideal aging environment (it makes them as absolutely delicious as possible). Our second cheese cave is fully stocked since last holiday season with plenty of projects and affinage happening every second. Wanna know what the cave is all about, or want to share your knowledge? This is the perfect choice. Four of our favorite cave-aged cheeses come bundled and ready to eat. Hopefully they share with you!
8. Panettone – I’ve professed my own personal love for panettone from the proverbial rooftops of the world (read it here). This is a classic holiday treat and tradition that’s perfect for giving. No fruitcake here; this is entirely different. Light, sweet, transcendent, and the perfect match for coffee and digestifs alike. We have the very best Italian brands in stock. Just be sure to get yours before they’re all gone!
9. Chocolatier Blue – The ultimate in filled chocolates live right here at Caputo’s. Not only does Chocolatier Blue use locally-made Solstice Chocolate, they make products that are utterly divine. One taste will convince anyone of their superiority. The good news for you is that there are plenty of sizes to choose from. There’s a perfect size for each person depending on how naughty or nice they’ve been this year.
10. Caputo’s Gift Basket – On the go? We’ll have these made and ready to go at our downtown, Holladay, and 15th & 15th locations this month. Take the guessing and legwork out of your food gifting this year. We’ve done it for you. Classic favorites and best sellers are packaged and ready to go for you at a moment’s notice.
11. Balsamico Tradizionale – I become speechless(I know, so weird) when these babies come up in conversation. If the essence of Italy had to be squeezed into one tiny bottle, this is it. It’s the ultimate gift for your foodie pals and loved ones. Talk to your favorite mongers at your nearest Caputo’s location for our their preferred uses, but make sure you save some for summertime vanilla gelato and strawberries. ADDED BONUS: This is on sale for a HUGE discount. We’ve discounted it enough that you could buy a bottle for a gift and one for yourself as a reward for being such a fantastic gifter.
12. Class Certificates – Give the gift of food (or drink!) knowledge. It’s the perfect gift for a couple or a friend who might be new to either cooking or the Salt Lake valley. Pick up a certificate for the amount of the class, plus the optional beverage pairing, and let them choose the best class for their calendar and tastes. We’ll help you give the exact dollar amount or round up so your giftee can pick up a special little treat after the class. Choose from cheese or chocolate tastings, cooking classes, or whiskey classes. You read that right: whiskey classes! Remember that bucket list from SL Mag? Send them to the class!