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.
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.
Fall is a special time in the life cycle of plant life. Perennials gently nestle into hibernation while we kiss some of our favorite sweet annual plants goodbye. While it feels slightly sad, this is my favorite time for food as we move from light, crisp flavors to bigger, funky, fermenty ones.
Testun al Foglie di Castagno embodies the best of this cooling season. Cow, sheep, and goat milks are blended into large wheels and aged over a year in the Cuneo region of Piedmont by Beppino Occelli. We carry a handful of selections from this lovely artisan, but this one in particular has stolen my heart. The wheels are wrapped in freshly plucked chestnut leaves and left to continue its year-long aging journey. The result is a sweet, complex paste tinged brown by the oxidized plant matter it’s been snuggled into. Testun’s paste is both creamy and crunchy from crystallized bits of tyrosine while the aroma smells just like the bottom of the leaf pile waiting for you in your back yard. Don’t believe. Go on, dive in there and give it a whiff.
If you’re really lucky, you’ll be graced with small flecks of naturally ocurring blue mold growing just beneath the surface of the cheese. I live for these bits and will wait days for even a hint of blue. This added flavor tips the scales for flavor right up toward transcendence.
When you’re done diving into your leaves, treat yourself to a this lovely cheese. Pair it with bold, tannic red wines, whiskey, or Epic’s Smoked & Oaked beer, and a fireplace. This is the perfect time to enjoy this cheese and the season wanes into winter.
“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.
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.
“Ask Matt Caputo” is an ongoing feature where Matt answers commonly asked questions from the market. This week, he discusses the mislabelling of EVOO found in many grocery stores.
Q: I heard that most Extra Virgin Olive Oils found in grocery stores are mislabeled. How so?
A: Last week, 60 Minutes had a big exposé on how 70 to 80% of the olive oils found in U.S. grocery stores are mislabeled, meaning they are not real Extra Virgin grade.
Although it was “breaking news,” this is not new news. Tom Mueller first broke this story in a 2007 New Yorker article titled “Slippery Business.” But even before then, we knew something was not right in the industry. We were seeing incredibly vibrant-green colors in olive oils that tasted flat, stale, and worse.
After years and years of blind taste tests, I can identify between dozens of oils and name the brand and region of production (I’ve even been able to impress my wife, Yelena, with this skill). I’ve learned to put a lot of faith in my nose and palate.
Over the years, any oil whose flavor, aromas, and textures did not add up to the claims on the label were discontinued at Caputo’s. We always eagerly analyze samples for quality before putting products on our shelves.
We do not stop at blind taste tests, however. We wanted to make certain, so in cases where the price seemed too good to be true, we sent the oils in for professional taste tests to Agbiolab where they conduct many gustatory, chemical, and other scientific tests on olives and olive oil. At no small expense, we have had them run a full spectrum of tests—a tasting panel, UV light test, chemical analysis, etc.—on oils we were curious about.
When a study came out by the UC Davis Olive Center that tested 40 popular brands of olive oil showing how the vast majority of them failed the tests to be called Extra Virgin, we were proud—but not surprised—that Caputo’s did not carry a single one of them.
The moral of the story: Even the less expensive Extra Virgin Olive Oils on Caputo’s shelves are the real deal, and those that are more expensive have been selected for a reason and will be worth every penny. The only thing to decide upon is whether you would like a grassy Sicilian, a thistly Tuscan, or a more complex Umbrian oil.
We keep samples open, so patrons can taste each to ensure they are going to enjoy their purchase. So come on in!
Disclaimer: While Matt Caputo is a Certified Cheese Professional and specialty food fanatic, he is not a medical professional, doctor, or certified nutritionist. Please consult with your doctor or other qualified health care professional before making any healthcare decisions, diagnostics or treatment decisions based on Matt’s answers.
If you’re ringing in the New Year with your closest friends and family, you’ll likely need a few nibbles and bubbles to help with the festivities. Here are a few quick ideas perfect for pairing and sharing on the last night of 2015:
This lovely, little cheese comes to us from Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont. Harbison is a small-format, soft-ripened cheese wrapped in tree bark pulled from the woods surrounding Jasper Hill. The result is a creamy, sweet paste with notes of wood and herbs. Cut the top rind off and serve with a spoon at your party; scooping out this paste is a transcendent experience. PairHarbison with crackers, fruit, and champagne.
Take your champagne game up a notch this year with one simple addition. Drizzle a 1/2 teaspoon of Luxardo syrup into champagne flutes, top with sparkling wine, and garnish with a Luxardo cherry. Boom. Bubbly game on point.
Is it obvious yet that I love soft-ripened cheeses and sparkling wine together? If not, let me spell it out: I LOVE SOFT-RIPENED CHEESE WITH SPARKLING WINE.
From the same Piemontese producers who brings us Rocchetta and La Tur comes a sweet, mushroomy due latte cheese called Robiola Bosina. Cow and sheep’s milks are blended to form a thin square of soft-ripened cheese. The soft rind gives way to a creamy, oozy paste that coats the mouth. Pair with Prosecco for the ultimate Italian-inspired New Year.
Does there really have to be a reason for eating chocolate? The answer is no.
I love a few nibbles of really exceptional chocolate once the New Year’s toast is over. Why not make your chocolate local? Our Utah Dark Chocolate Collection has some of our favorite locally-made bars for your nibbling pleasure. Want a little more? Stop by one of our locations for a few samples to help you decide on your own curated selection of fine artisan chocolate.
Italians will traditionally eat lentils cooked with pancetta and sage and topped with cotechino on New Year’s Eve. The small round shape of both the lentils and cotechino signify wealth to Italians. Plus, it’s an incredibly tasty way to welcome 2016.
Here’s another way to raise the bar with your average sparkling wine this year. Have fun mixing bitters and other ingredients for festive sparkling wine cocktails. Not sure where to start? Our Essential Bitters Collection will get you going with our most popular, coveted, and easy-to-use bitters.
Whether you need a hostess gift, a quick party pack, or tried and true treats, we’ve got ready-made collections to get your party started. Choose from any of our gift collections to give to your favorite hostess or as a starter pack for your own party. You can’t go wrong with the goodies we’ve put together for you.
There you have it, friends. I hope you’ve all had a marvelous 2015, and I hope 2016 is even better—and tastier!
So, you’re having a party—your friends, their kids, your kids, their parents, your parents, and who knows who else. They’ll all be attending, and you need a few treats to satiate them. First, I admire each and every one of you for hosting parties this season. Second, I know you’ll want to have an impressive table of grub. Third, I hope you get some sweet host gifts for throwing such a great party.
Not sure what to serve or how to serve it? Let us help. We hosted our very own Caputo’s party just a few days ago using our very best tips and tricks (many thanks to Matt and Yelena for hosting at their beautiful home). Our managers, mongers, and co-workers gathered for a festive get-together just before the boom of the holidays came crashing down upon us. I must say, we know how to throw a pretty fantastic—and filling—party.
Libations: This is the most necessary component to any party. Drinks—alcoholic or not—are a good way to make guests comfortable. We recommend one featured drink for the party, wine and beer, and a few nonalcoholic options as well. I started a big pot of mulled wine only 30 minutes before all our friends arrived. I love mulled wine for parties, because it’s easy to replenish and keep warm on the stove. We also used this party to test our Rosemary Gimlet out, which takes a bit more work at a large party, but is easy to make in batches for 3-5 people at once. We, of course, had plenty of Squatters beer and Ruth Lewandowski wine on hand as well. We keep ride-share apps and taxi numbers handy for anyone who may not be comfortable driving home after the party. Libations, check.
Food: OUR FAVORITE! This is often the most difficult part of a party for me, because making decisions. Fear not, friends. Our mongers picks and tips will help you select the very best nibbles for you and your guests.
Cheese and Charcuterie: We plate and serve these separately for larger parties since some of our pals might be vegetarian or have other dietary restrictions that keep them from enjoying one category or the other. We plated a few beautiful cheeseboards and charcuterie boards. Our cheeses were cubed, sliced, or served whole with a dedicated serving knife based on the cheese. Not sure how to serve? Ask your monger! We’re here to help with pairings, serving suggestions, and any info you may want to have on hand to dazzle your guests. We chose a selection that featured our favorite local and imported products. Creminelli, Avalanche, and our own Cave Aged Cheeses are a great place to start. We fill in the gaps with our favorite products from the rest of U.S. and Europe after that.
Pairings and More:Crackers, sliced bread, olives, and marinated veggies are always on hand to pair with our lovely cheese and charcuterie. We each have our favorites, but easy-to-eat finger foods like olives and pickles are always tastier when served alongside cheese and meat.
Sweets: It’s not a Caputo’s party if there isn’t chocolate! We served some of our favorite bars and rosemary brittle to satisfy those with a sweet tooth. Choose from local chocolate makers like Amano, Chocolate Conspiracy, Durci, and Solstice, then add in your favorites from around the world.
People: You’re on your own here, my friends. We can’t tell you who to invite, but I’m just throwing it out there, if I were invited, I’d bring a pretty sweet host gift.
Whether Caputo’s helps with your nibbles, drinks, or catered trays, we hope your parties are filled with love, laughs, and joy.
“Ask Matt Caputo” is a new, ongoing feature where Matt answers commonly asked questions from the market. This week, he discusses bitters as a cure for a distressed stomach.
Q: I over-ate this Thanksgiving. And with holiday parties and Christmas coming up, I’m wondering if I should look into aromatic bitters to ease my pain. Will they make a difference?
A: Well, I actually have quite a bit of experience with eating too much. If there is one thing I love it is food, and during the holidays, I can’t stand the thought of not having each and every one of my old favorites. On top of that, how could I pass up a new gastronomic experience. Shun a new dish just because I am full? Pah! No chance.
As the years go by, it is slowly but surely getting more difficult to put up with the physical aftermath, though. Over the past year, I have had more opportunities than I am proud to admit to test the curative powers of aromatic cocktail bitters.
As one would learn in our Intro to Bitters class, the history of these elixirs includes wild claims from the producers, purportedly curing everything from flatulence to impotence and absolutely everything in between. Luckily, the FDA cracked down on the “snake oil” side of bitters a long time ago.
However, from my experience, there is certainly truth to bitters ability to aid in digestion. Anytime I have overeaten or I am not feeling tip top in the tummy, I have a nice big glass of sparkling water with a healthy dose of Peychaud’s. Within a few minutes, I feel notably better. It almost never fails. Put 10 to 12 dashes in a small white wine glass, and that ought to do. Yeah, I take it in a wine glass. Why not? It smells incredible.
Obviously, I am no doctor, scientist, or herbalist, so I will leave it to them to tell you exactly which ingredient in these bitters is doing exactly what. But this practice should not seem that strange. Monks, apothecaries, and even grandmas from all around the world have long known the digestive value of things with bitter flavors.
Disclaimer: While Matt Caputo is a Certified Cheese Professional and specialty food fanatic, he is not a medical professional, doctor, or certified nutritionist. Please consult with your doctor or other qualified health care professional before making any healthcare decisions, diagnostics or treatment decisions based on Matt’s answers.
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!
It’s heeeeere! Let’s not pretend like most of us haven’t already been shopping and decorating for the holidays. Whether it was Black Friday or Cyber Monday, I’m sure you’ve begun to find some great deals and wonderful gifts for your loved ones. Now comes the gift wrapping, meal planning, and party attending.
It’s a beautiful time of year, but let’s get real, this stuff is exhausting. Want to know how we get through the holiday madness? Chocolate, duhhhhhh. Just kidding. It’s actually chocolate and daily hugs. And cocktails. And cheese. And charcuterie. And lots of recipe testing. These Cravings are what will get us through the holidaze with smiles on our faces. They, of course, make great gifts as well—just sayin’.
This is our Cheese Cave cornerstone. Grotte Caputo was our first real success story from our first cheese cave—in case you haven’t been in in awhile, we now have two glorious cheese caves. Since then, we’ve had many successes, and, well, a few blunders. But somethings never change, namely Grotte Caputo. Unaged wheels of Asiago are handled with the utmost love and care for more than 6 months in our caves before being released for sale. The end result is a crumbly, but still moist paste that is perfect for cheese plates and cooking. The flavors are sweet and nutty: think of a blend of Parmigiano Reggiano and aged Gouda. Our Red Leicester Popover recipe is the perfect way to try your hand at baking with Grotte. Serve this at your holiday party with nuts or a pear compote, but resist the urge to eat it all before everyone arrives.
You may know of Avalanche’s drool-inducing chevre and other goat’s milk cheeses, butwhen it comes to artisan food, the Finocchiona raises the bar yet further. Goat and pork are blended with fennel and other spices for a truly magnificent piece of salami heaven. The flavors and aroma are both sweet and complex while still maintaining a distinctly “meaty” flavor from the high-quality pork and goat used.
I don’t say this often, but I will say it with this Craving: I don’t share Avalanche Finocchiona. I could see myself gifting a stick to my dad and maybe another worthy loved one, but I am not entirely sure I could bring this to a party. It’s just too good to share the limelight with most other party fare. I’ll be saving this for small getherings where I can ensure my pals are properly appreciating the perfection they are nibbling on. This needs only to be paired with bread, in my opinion, although a mild cheese like Pecorino Toscano would be another great item to serve alongside this lovely salami.
Addition falls into our Bar & Bitters category of specialty products, but Addition is something entirely its own. Rather than a complex blend of bittering roots, herbs, and the highlighted spices or flavors, Addition creates a line of products that are more reminiscent of a tincture. This cocktail spice speaks perfectly of fresh rosemary in liquid form. There are no other flavors covering it up, and no bittering agents to hinder its potency. It’s just rosemary, in its simplest and most perfect way.
Use this in gin-based cocktails, of course. But I am more excited about its uses in cooking. Bake it into scones and cakes or add to pan sauces and gravies for roasted meats and vegetables. I’ve got a fun little sweet treat up my sleeve using this as well, so stay tuned for my favorite giftable treat.
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. Behold: the white truffle!
We carry truffles year round from Italy and France, but the very best are the white truffles, which are just now coming into season. While black truffles are less expensive, and less rare, they’re also able to receive a bit of heat application through cooking. White truffles, however, are veryrarely cooked, only shaved directly over your main dish as both garnish and highlight. There is nothing more luxurious and delicious than a fresh, aromatic white truffle. Shave over simple egg pasta, veal scallopine, or sunny side up eggs. If you get your hands on a white truffle and simply must cook with it, I’d recommend Marcella Hazan’s Tortino di Tartufi. Here, boiled potatoes are sliced very thinly, layered with shaved white truffle, butter, and parmigiano before being baked for about 15 minutes.