You already know you must have bitters to make a proper drink. Even mid-level mixology is impossible without them. However, where most home bartenders go wrong is by choosing one bitters—generally Angostura—and thinking that one size fits all. You wouldn’t make a Manhattan with vodka, so why would you try to make a Sazerac with Angostura?
Making many different cocktails with only one type of bitters is a bit like having a talented band with a bass player who can’t change tempo. Certain cocktails call for specific bitters for a reason.
My first two choices for the three must-have bitters are Angostura and Peychaud’s. Maybe it’s crazy to have two of my three top bitters be gentian-root based aromatic bitters. However, with the sheer number of pre-Prohibition-era cocktails that call for Angostura, that one is a given. Angostura is a classic and hard to replace in many classics, but where it is musky and masculine, Peychaud’s is spiced and feminine. Many of my favorites (Seelbach, Sazerac, Vieux Carre, Old Hickory Cocktail) call for Peychaud’s, so this is a must. While Peychaud’s can often times be substituted for Angostura, it would offensive to substitute Angostura for most cocktails calling specifically for Peychaud’s.
Angostura is the most commonly called for bitters, but not far behind are orange bitters. So many of the classic cocktails—such as a Bijou, Opera, Trilby, and Bronx—require orange bitters, so you simply must have one for a properly stocked bar. I actually have several, but one would suffice. There are many fantastic options out there so, how to pick? I always like to support local, but I love to support local when quality is on par with the best from around the world. My pick for orange bitters is none other than Beehive Spiced Orange Bitters, made here in Utah. Beehive’s Spiced Orange Bitters is, of course, heavy on the spice such as cinnamon, bourbon vanilla, and clove. And when the weather starts to cool down again in a few months, this flavor profile in my cocktails will really hit the spot.
We’re always for looking for new ways to step up our kitchen game. New flavors are welcome in the hands of our Caputo’s team. In this case, the flavor is new to us, but not necessarily to new to Greek culinary enthusiasts. Friends, meet Chios Mastica.
On one particular Greek island just south of Lesvos and nearer to mainland Turkey than mainland Greece, there is one particular tree grown for one particular sap. The island of Chios is known for the most flavorful sap harvested from the mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus). A close cousin of the pistachios we regularly eat, mastic is grown for the sap and is dried out to produce chewing gum, a distilled spirit, and the pure dried teardrops of sap. Bark is cut early in the morning and revisited later in the afternoon to collect the seeping, sticky sap. In the kitchen, mastica is finely ground and added to breads, pastries, and ice cream for its pine-y flavor and bright aroma. Mastica is exported to Egypt, Turkey, and Lebanon for use in jams, meat marinades, and even coffee.
Think of your favorite breads and pastries that rely on typical baking spices like clove, cinnamon, and allspice and then imagine incorporating one more layer to that recipe that complements those warm spice notes, but also offers a brighter, more green aroma. We get both increased depth of flavor and, for me, an aroma reminiscent of the first days of having a fresh Christmas tree at home.
We’re just scratching the surface of the endless possibilities mastica has to offer. Stay tuned for recipes and uses are we dive even deeper into this new pool of tasty obsession.
Caputo’s is known for many things. Our exceptional cheese program, enormous amounts on craft chocolate, and our 20 years of award winning sandwiches are among them. What you may not know, however, is that we’re taking cocktails and bar menus just as seriously as we are our cheese caves and chocolate brands. Our own home bars are spilling over with the necessary and essential cocktail components. One of the most important pieces of the cocktail puzzle? Bitters.
If you’ve enjoyed a cocktail lately, there’s a good chance Dale Degroff had a hand in restoring it’s popularity. The art of the craft cocktail has slowly been revived since its near extinction from the time of Prohibition. During his time at the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center, Mr. Degroff helped to restore the respected position of bar-tending while also helping to resurrect America’s appreciation for the classic, balanced cocktails of decades past. After countless mixology awards, two published books, and a decade later, we can now bring a piece of Dale Degroff home with us by way of his own handcrafted bitters.
Dale Degroff teamed up with noted absinthe distiller T.A. Breaux in France to create a spiced bitters highlighting both allspice and anise with a warm backbone of many more spices. The result is an aromatic, warm concoction perfect for classic rum and whiskey cocktails. From sazeracs to rum punch, the possibilities are endless. If we had to pick just one bitters to keep on hand at home, this would be one of the top selections. What’s more, these bitters are just as useful in the kitchen as they are at the bar. Finish any grilled or seafood dish with just a dash for enhanced complexity of whip into pastry creams and meringues in the place of vanilla extract for an intriguing new take on your favorite desserts. You’ll be amazed by how often you find yourself reaching for these bitters, and we don’t blame you, we’re doing it too.
I am proud to announce I am officially embracing the art of Danish hygge. The psychological embrace of cozying up and enjoying the dark, cold weather with fuzzy socks, a fire, and some soothing music can be accompanied by only one more necessity: hot buttered rum.
I’d heard of this for years, but had never ventured toward making it myself. I was in the throes of the whiskey craze of my early twenties and couldn’t be bothered by rum. Now, in my wise late twenties, I’ve learned a thing or two about a thing or two. Namely, my appreciation for hot beverages and rum. The union was simply unavoidable. Dark, aged rum is whisked with a spiced compound butter and hot water for an easy treat perfect for sharing… or not. I’ve been making larger batches and storing it in the fridge for up to a few weeks for visits from friends or to warm me up after particularly cold adventures to the grocery store.
Now that Christmas has come and gone, I’ve be looking for the perfect way to enjoy the company of my family. Here’s the plan, tempt them with football (that’s the kind of family we are) and then keep them from leaving with this tasty, cozy drink. Turns out, it pairs perfectly with Christmas leftovers and Chinese takeout alike.
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:
Matt Caputo President and residing ulitmate boss-man
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.
VP and ultimatest boss who oversees said boss-man
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!
Director of Education and expert gift wrapper
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.
Downtown Deli Manager and widely regarded happiest deli elf
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.
Holladay General Manager and jolliest smiler
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.
University Deli Manager and avid hat wearer
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!
It’s finally here. The chill we expect to arrive mid-September may be late, but it has come. The best part about the first weeks of cold is the slow, steady transition from fresh, summery nibbles to hearty, warming winter fare. While my mind and belly are not quite ready for heavy braises of winter, I welcome a quick, cozy stew to get me in the mood.
Enter Mina Stone’s spicy chickpea stew. The recipe is easy and painless, but has enough depth and complexity in its flavors that anyone could be tricked into believing you’d spent hours laboring over your stove. As with any stew, this continues to get tastier as the days pass, so make a big batch and revisit it every day or so for dinner. Zursun’s garbanzo beans are perfect for this dish. They’re smaller than the average bean and pack more flavor and a tender texture that is truly irresistible. I keep these well stocked in my pantry just for this recipe, but they’re also amazing for hummus or pasta e ceci.
Mina recommends serving with a dollop of plain yogurt, which is delicious, but I’ve found another source to create a creamy, thick texture. The tomato base has an uncanny resemblance to the base of shakshuka, so it felt almost necessary to stir in an egg yolk upon serving. Being that a yolk is chiefly fat, it melted into the tomato easily and created a thicker, creamier texture in seconds.
You’re in charge of stew, so add whatever your heart desires. But make it often, it’ll go perfectly with your favorite wool socks and over sized sweaters.
Soak the chickpeas in plenty of water overnight, or for at least 6 hours. When you are ready to make the stew, drain the chickpeas in a colander and rinse them well. Leaving them in the colander, dust the chickpeas with the baking soda (which serves as a tenderizer) and then toss them to incorporate the baking soda, using your hands. Let the chickpeas sit for 30 minutes and then rinse them very well, 3 or 4 times, in order to remove all the baking soda.
Place the chickpeas in large, heavy pot filled with enough water to barely cover them. Bring the chickpeas to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 20 minutes. The chickpeas will start to give off a white froth. Skim this 2 or 3 times, and then don’t worry about it.
Cover and simmer until the chickpeas are very tender but not falling apart, about 30 to 40 more minutes. Meanwhile, generously drizzle some olive oil into a medium saute pan. Add the onions, garlic, and jalapeno to the pan. Saute over medium-high heat until everything is just starting to soften, about a minute or two. Add a generous pinch of salt and then add the bay leaves, cumin seeds, coriander, hot red pepper flakes, and chopped parsley. Saute the onion mixture until it is soft and aromatic, about 5 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and stir, cooking sauce for another 5 minutes.
When the chickpeas are done, remove enough of the cooking water so that the top layer of chickpeas is dry (think 2 inches of water below the chickpeas). Add the onion/tomato mixture to the chickpeas and give a good stir. There should be just enough liquid to barely cover the top of the chickpeas; add more water if necessary. Simmer for about 30 minutes so that all the ingredients meld together. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed. Serve with an egg yolk or a spoonful of Greek yogurt in every bowl.
Recipe adapted from Mina Stone: Cooking for Artists.
“Ask Matt Caputo” is an ongoing feature where Matt answers commonly asked questions from the market. This week, he discusses our annual Chocolate Festival and this year’s featured chocolate maker, Amano.
Q: What made you decide to feature Amano for this year’s Chocolate Festival and how is Amano different from other craft chocolate makers?
A: Amano is the most award winning American chocolate maker ever. The amount and quality of the awards they have won make this statement indisputable in a category where there always seems to be dispute. Not on this point. Amano was part of the first wave of craft chocolate makers in the US. When they got started, there was only about 14 other chocolate makers including giants like Hershey’s. Now, there are hundreds.
Amano has a unique advantage in sourcing as they do not buy cacao through the usual channels open to most small craft chocolate makers. Art often travels to origin and combs through the jungle to find unique origins and sources directly from the farms. In this way he is able to find very uncommon and rare cacao that no one else has. Amano’s chocolate making style is one of a kind. On the scale from loud brash American to sophisticated European, Amano achieves what makes each style great without sacrifice.
Art is widely recognized around the world as one of the world’s top experts in all things chocolate. In the global chocolate community, he is revered.
PSSST… There is still room left for you to sign up and join us at this year’s Chocolate Festival. Click here to be part of our 5th annual festival honoring Amano chocolate and benefiting the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Moms deserve a day of spoiling, and it is our duty to do so. After all the dirty diapers, temper tantrums, homework help, fighting over curfew, learning to live alone, and then finally realizing she was right all along, it’s fair to say she is owed more than a few indulgences. Here’s what our moms are getting this year:
There is nothing cliche about giving Ma the gift of continued education, especially when said education revolves around chocolate, cheese, and other delicious ways to enjoy herself. Our summer schedule is filling up quick, but there’s still plenty of time to get in on the fun. The best part about this gift is joining her for some quality family time and reaping the benefits of both chocolate education and chocolate consumption with her!
If Mom is a busy one these days and can’t join you for a class, upscale chocolate never hurt anyone. Chocolatier Blue started in Alpine, Utah, but has since relocated to Berkeley, California. Despite the move, Chocolatier Blue uses Salt Lake made Solstice Chocolate for each filled chocolate. There is not a better filled chocolate in the country and you know your mom deserves the best there is. Select from a range of box sizes and flavors, we’ll fill them to order so you can select which flavors your mom will like best.
There’s always something incredibly satisfying about cooking for mom, and doing it well. This beautiful dessert is a welcome treat for any gathering and perfect to wow mom with. Added bonus, the hardest part can be done in advance so mom doesn’t have to see you struggle or hear any expletives that might leave your mouth during the process. You can arrive with premade components, easily assemble them, and present a treat fit for any mom.
Any holiday is a good time for cheese. ANY DAY is a good day for cheese, but especially Mother’s Day. Wrap our favorite bloomy rind cheese in puff pastry, douse it with your favorite jam (mine is Amour’s Apricot Rose for this recipe) and serving a warm, gooey, bubble of cheesy goodness to your mom, and the rest of your family if she decides to share it.
Remember all those nights your mom spent worrying about you for one reason or another? No? I’m sure she remembers, and I’m sure she could use a drink to recover from those long, stressful years. If your mom appreciates a well-made cocktail, get her the ingredients to make her own at home! Luxardo cherries, countless bitters, and assorted bar syrups are a great place to start. Plus, one she hones her skills, maybe she’ll share those cocktails at the next family gathering. One can hope, right?
There you have it. Our top gifts for the best moms out there. Hey Moms, happy Mother’s Day! We hope you get showered with love and spoiled with treats!
So there I was, happily noshing away at a slice of Adelle in my kitchen. I’m relishing in the funky flavor, fresh texture, and all around amazingness that has been created by Ancient Heritage creamery in Portland, Oregon. The mix of sheep and cow’s milk make this both creamy and flaky in texture, sweet and funky in taste, and has a rind that only adds to the flavor. It may be just a tad too funky for some, and I wanted to find a way to make this a hit for everyone this weekend at a brunch party. I often reach for fruit to make any cheese more approachable, and this was no different. Amour Spreads’ Apricot Rose jam loves cheese as much as I do, and cheese and jam belong together at every brunch. Oh, you want to make it fancier, you say? Wrap it in puff pastry and bake it. Boom. Melty, gooey cheese with sweet, floral jam and baked pastry dough… Mom is going to love you.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll pastry out to about a 10 inch diameter. Slather the top of the wheel of cheese with jame and place jam side down on the puff pastry. Wrap pastry around the wheel of cheese and press to seal seams. Place in the center of a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with beaten egg. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Allow cheese to rest at least five minutes before serving. Serve with crackers, sliced fruit, or baguette and more jam to spread on top.
We’re gearing up for Valentine’s Day here at Caputo’s. We’ve got a ton of tasty new Chocolatier Blue flavors and fully stocked chocolate shelves for your gifting needs. I hope your Valentine plans on sharing, because chocolate is always better when you have someone to enjoy it with, right? Whether you’re a fan of the holiday or not, we’re going to keep your entire month delicious and crave-worthy. Here’s what we’re digging this month:
Chocolatier Blue is the Valentine staple. A better filled chocolate simply does not exist. Chris Blue uses local Solstice Chocolate for the shells and chocolate ganaches for each perfect piece along with only the highest quality ingredients for a beautiful effect and delicious taste. Fifteen new flavors have just hit our stores with an all too perfect theme: Breakfast in bed! Give your love a box filled with your favorite brunch treats like cinnamon roll, blueberry muffin, fruit loops, or chai tea. There are plenty of flavors and box sizes to choose from so your gift will be just right.
Can you blame us? If ever a month existed that we could select two different chocolate cravings, this would have to be it. OmNom makes their chocolate in small batches in Iceland using top quality beans and, in this case, Icelandic milk that is almost impossible to beat. We love this bar because it captures the terroir of Madagascar beans (red berries, citrus, lots of pleasant acidity) while still offering the comforting creaminess of a milk chocolate bar. If you or your valentine find yourself craving a grown up milk chocolate, look no further. I’ll be making a salted milk chocolate budino with olive oil for my Valentine this year using this bar, but any recipe that calls for milk chocolate would be lucky to have the likes of the OmNom bar incorporated into it.
There are lentils, and then there are Zursun lentils. It turns out, Idaho has the perfect climate to grow some of the very best heirloom legumes and beans. Our world is infinitely tastier because of it. Zursun hit our shelves about six months ago because we knew they’d be a hit. We didn’t stop there though. Our newest salad in the deli is designed around these very lentils. Spanish pardinas are nutty and filling, they cook easily and are the perfect lentil for soups, salads, and sides. So yes, they’re the base for our new lentil salad, but you’ll see them here in soups and other specials as well. My favorite winter recipe uses these as well, and you know I’ll be sharing that this month to help spread the lentil love.
Happy early Valentine’s Day, all you beautiful people. We hope your February is filled with tasty treats and plenty of craveable fun. Oh, and chocolate.
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.
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.