The Matthews family in Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut has been cranking out their family recipes for almost 30 years. The Lemon Rum Sunshine Cake, one of their first offerings, is sensational. Over the years I’ve also come to love the bar cookies and Country Spice Cake with praline sauce. Hefty cakes cost about $30; bar cookies are about $20 per pound. Visit them at Matthews 1812 House.
Espresso with cacao nibs. Buttery toffee. Brown sugar blondies. Cream cheese swirl. Just a few of the reasons I like Fairytale Brownies. Made with Callebaut Belgian chocolate, the brownies are super moist and packed with rich flavors. The Winter Wonderland package includes a sampling of eight brownies, costs $29.95 and is an ideal holiday gift. Visit them at Brownies.com.
Some food memories never fade. I can still remember the first time I tasted the chewy, melt-in-your-mouth
Italian cookie called ricciarelli.
It was in Italy and it was instant love. Luckily I can repeat the
experience whenever I want without hopping an Alitalia flight. At
Market Hall Foods in San Francisco, the sugar-dusted nuggets are made
fresh every morning with natural almond paste and egg whites, just as
they were during the Renaissance when they are said to have been
Give them alone (a dozen costs $15) or pair them with a bottle of sweet Vin Santo (wine) or a can of Illy Caffe espresso.
Available at Market Hall Foods in S.F. and on-line at MarketHallFoods.com.
When is Roast Pork not just Roast Pork? When it’s slow-cooked
over red-oak ‘til juicy, flavorful and beautifully “layered”, then
teamed with a poufy, naturally sweet carrot soufflé. In other words,
when it comes from Willy Ray’s Best Bar B Q in Texas!
The 7-pound roast costs about $55; sometimes they’ll throw the soufflé in as part of a promotion. Manned by a jolly, helpful crew (if you order the old-fashioned way, by phone), the Beaumont, Texas institution also offers whole fried turkeys, hone glazed hams, sausages and ribs with all the trimmings. Order on-line at WillyRaysBBQ.com.
For exquisite chocolate creations, nobody beats Michael Recchiuti of San Francisco. He’s been dazzling us for years with his elegant confections that taste every bit as good as they look. The Black Box costs $44 and holds the 16 original flavors of bonbons, including the Burnt Caramel for which Recchiuti is famed. I also love the Key Lime Pears, the Fleur de Sel Caramels and the tin of Signature Truffles that costs $29 for 35 heavenly pieces. Your mouth will water when you visit Recchiuti.com.
Smoked salmon is well suited to holiday entertaining, pairing well with many foods atop bite-sized canapes. If you want the very best, consider Gerard & Dominique in Kenmore, Washington. Founded in 1990 by the two professional chefs of the name, the company is revered by restaurant chefs, fishermen like Seattle-based Jon Rowley (one of the country’s pre-eminent seafood consultants), and discriminating foodies.
G&D offers European-style salmon (cold-smoked with fruitwood); wild Alaskan Coho salmon (dry-brined and small-batch smoked), and Northwest-style salmon (brushed with honey glaze during smoking). All are satiny and delicious. All cost $59.99 for two pounds. For information and ordering, visit the company at gdseafoods.com.