HOLIDAY HOURS:   We are open on New Year’s Eve (Sunday, December 31, 2017) from 11 AM – 5 PM.   We’re closed on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2018 for a day off, and will reopen at 10 AM on Tuesday, January 2.  Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve!

Whether toasting with old friends, bidding adieu to an unlucky year, or celebrating new beginnings, most of us have a reason to celebrate on New Year’s Eve.  If nothing else, it’s a great excuse to open that great bottle you’ve been saving and savor it with delicious foods.  To that end, we’re stocked up on these hedonistic pleasures to make a stellar New Year’s fete!

d'artagnan french kissD’Artagnan French Kisses – A decadent treat of prunes, plumped by marinating in Armagnac and filled with mousse of foie gras.  A bite-sized hors-d’oeuvre that is pure pleasure!  Available as singles or in a pack of 6.

duck sausageD’Artangnon Duck sausage with Armagnac:  Based on a traditional Gascon recipe from the southwest of France.  Driving around this region is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.  Farms selling duck, goose and foie gras surround Idyllic villages, and the countryside is dotted with vineyards and Armagnac distilleries.  This robust sausage combines all of the best products from this region:  Armagnac with pork and duck liver.  Grill it, slice and eat with toothpicks.

Snails in garlic butterFrozen Escargots in garlic butter from France:  These are back in stock!   French snails are stuffed with garlic butter, parsley and cayenne.  Bake for 10 minutes and serve.

Exceptional Cheeses:

Brillat Savarin Frais cheeseBrillat Savarin Frais:  Luscious sums up this triple cream cow’s milk cheese.   Fresh and soft, made of pasteurized cow’s milk.  Stunning with fresh or dried fruit on a mixed cheese plate.  10% discount on the whole wheel (appx 1.5 pounds).

Delice d’Argental:  A luxurious cow’s milk cheese from Burgundy.  Made by hand; crème fraiche is added to the curds during production to provide extra richness.  With an extraordinary creamy texture and buttery, rich flavor.

sao jorge cheesePortuguese cheeses are back in stock!    Three cow’s milk cheeses from the Azores arrived this week.    Sao Jorge is a signature classic, with a tangy and cheddar-esque flavor.  A true meadow cheese, it is intense, rustic and creamy with a dry texture.   Ilha Azul is from the island of Faial, and has a buttery and soft texture.  Sāo Miguel is DOP certified, aged for 9 months and has an intense and spicy flavor, akin to Parmesan.

BUBBLY  WINES:   We’ve got a wide selection of Champagne, Cava and Cremants in stock.  In addition to being a traditional celebratory drink on New Year’s Eve, sparkling wines are uber festive and pair wonderfully with every type of food.   Here are just a few of our favorites.  Salud!

Vilmart champagneNV Vilmart & Cie “Grand Cellier” 1er Cru Brut Champagne, Rilly ($76.00)   Established in 1890, Vilmart has been family owned and a récoltant-manipulant from the beginning, making champagne exclusively from estate-owned vines.   Fifth generation family member Laurent Champs now runs the estate and crafts impeccable, elegant Champagnes.   Using sustainable farming, Champs is adamantly a vintner first, before he is a maker of Champagne.  The base wine for Grand Cellier is aged 10 months in foudre, and the Champagne ages in bottle for an additional 16 additional months.   Elegantly balanced, it is 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir and has a rich aroma of toasted brioche and notes of ginger.  “This mouthwatering bubbly layers a finely textured mousse with flavors of green apple, grapefruit zest, star fruit, and spice. Lively and very harmonious, with a long, lingering finish.”   93 points Wine Spectator

Lombard champagneLombard  Extra-Brut 1er Cru Champagne, Epernay ($30.00)   A tasty Champagne at an unbeatable price!   50% Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and 50% Chardonnay.  Bright, crisp and dry with perfumed notes of citrus and yellow stone fruit.    Excellent with oysters!

Gramona Gran Reerva cava2004 Gramona Celler Batlle Gran Reserva Brut, Penedes ($105.00)   Cork-aged for ten years with 8 g/l dosage from Gramona’s 100 year solera. Voluptuous and elegant, it offers up aromas of vanilla and yeast.  “The 2004 Celler Batlle Gran Reserva Brut is a blend of 75% Xarello and 25% Macabeo with ten years of aging in contact with the lees before being disgorged. The wine has an alluring nose of roasted nuts, camphor, diesel, apple pie and smoke with tiny bubbles giving it a creamy texture and a light sparkle on the tongue. Elegant and balanced, with good acidity, clean flavors and great persistence. This is a fantastic Cava. Bravo!”  94 points Wine Advocate

NV Dibon Brut Rosè Cava, Penedes ($10.99)  “The Non-Vintage Dibon Brut Rose is 100% Trepat. It reveals a medium salmon pink color, a lovely nose of cherry blossom and strawberry, a creamy texture and excellent balance and length. It is a great value in sparkling wine.”    89 points Wine Advocate

Spanish garbanzo and butifarra stewWatch Sharon Baden prepare Spanish Garbanzo and Chorizo Stew on January 3, on King-5 TV New Day show.   The hour-long television show airs at 11:00 A.M. and we’re not sure what time Sharon will be on.    We’ll include a link in next week’s newsletter for anyone who missed it.    In the meantime, here is the recipe:


Garbanzos are an Old World bean and have been grown in the Mediterranean forever.  What makes this a Spanish recipe is the mix of sausages:  chorizo (a paprika and garlic pork sausage) and Butifarra, a white sausage from Catalonia.     This is a hearty dish and quick to prepare, if cooked garbanzo beans are on hand.      Serves 4.

¼ cup                                    Olive oil

1                                            Large yellow onion, chopped

1 clove                                  Garlic, diced

¼ pound                              Butifarra sausage, sliced

¼ pound                              Spanish-style Bilbao chorizo sausage, sliced

1 cup                                    Tomate Frito (Spanish fried tomato sauce)

¼ cup                                    Pimenta Moida (Portuguese fermented pepper sauce)

½ cup                                    Piquillo peppers, chopped

1                                            Bay leaf

¼ teaspoon                           Black pepper

4 cups                                  Cooked garbanzo beans

1 tablespoon                        Minced parsley


In a large clay cazuela, heat oil, then sauté onion and sausage slices until the onion is soft.

Add tomato frito, pimento moida, piquillo peppers, bay leaf and pepper.

Cook slowly (covered) about 15 minutes.

Add drained garbanzos, cover and cook 20 minutes.    Add water if necessary, to maintain a simmer.

Sprinkle with minced parsley and serve.