These rainy, gray days have us looking forward to cozy nights indoors. So, we have picked out some hot beverages and autumnal fare to help you weather out the storm. Be sure to try our two new stunning French reds at an incredible value! These full-bodied wines beg to be enjoyed on cold evenings, paired with rich, hearty meals.
Pavel Kousmichoff opened his first teahouse in St. Petersburg in 1867. During the Russian Revolution, Pavel’s son moved to France and opened his workshop, The Maison Kusmi-Thé, in Paris in 1917. The company produces a wide range of green, black, and flavored teas. Choose from deliciously unique blends such as Tsarevna, Detox, Sweet Love, Boost, BB Detox, and Be Cool. Unwind this weekend with a warm and expertly perfumed cup of tea.
One of the most renowned Catalan chocolate factories, Blanxart was founded by master chocolatier Francesc Agras in 1954. Working with small producers and cooperatives, Blanxart sources organic single-origin cocoa from the Congo, Peru, Nicaragua, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic. Using cocoa from these geographically favored plantations, and through the careful selection of grains, Blanxart has created an artisan chocolate of unparalleled quality. Choose from the Taza melting bar or cocoa powder for your next cup of decadent hot chocolate. Melt the Blanxart chocolate bar in hot milk to create a traditional Spanish hot chocolate. Enjoy the hot chocolate powder two ways: As a rich and delicious dip for churros and other pastries, or as a thick, full-bodied drink for sipping.
Churro Mix $6.99
Spanish churros and hot chocolate are a big hit with almost everyone. Churros taste similar to a donut but are cylindrically shaped for easy dipping into the thick chocolate. This mix makes serving dessert a cinch! Simply add boiling water to the mixture, stir, and fry strips in heated oil. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and serve with hot chocolate! We also stock the churro press, which shapes the dough, and presses it into the hot oil.
Isigny Ste Mère Crème Chantilly $7.99
This puts all other canned whipped cream to shame. Made with organic milk from grass-fed cows, Bourbon Vanilla from Madagascar, and organic sugar, it can be eaten straight from the can! Or use it to top hot chocolate, pies, tarts, and fruit.
Brotte Les Hauts de Barville 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape $29.99
A family-owned winemaker since 1931, the Brotte family’s wines are consistently food friendly and superb values. The 2015 Les Hauts de Barville is a lively, spicy and concentrated red, excellent with cassoulet and other hearty dishes.
“Relatively open knit and ready to go, the 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Hauts de Barville offers outstanding notes of cherries, spring flowers, spice and Provençal garrigue in a full-bodied, rounded, already hard to resist style. It is a killer wine to drink over the coming 4-6 years.”
90-92 points Wine Advocate
Xavier Cotes du Rhone 2015 $14.99
Oenologist Xavier Vignon has worked with many famous Chateauneuf-du-Pape estates, including Marcoux, La Nerthe and Mont Redon. He does not have his own domaine, but makes wines at Chateau Husson. The 2015 Cotes-du-Rhone is 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre. From a superb vintage, this red offers up concentrated fruit with great lift. Full-bodied and spicy, it is fresh and lively. Notes of white pepper on the finish show excellent balance. Great value!
Savory Pumpkin Tarts with Goat Cheese
Recipe adapted from The Cheesemonger’s Seasons by Chester Hastings $35
Makes eight 5-inch individual tarts
For the Tart Dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour*
Pinch of sea salt*
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter*, cut into small cubes
2/3 cup creme fraiche
For the Filling:
2 tbsp unsalted butter*
One 1-lb chunk sugar pumpkin, peeled and seeded, flesh cut into medium dice
4 large shallots, thinly sliced
Sea salt* and freshly cracked black pepper
4 or 5 fresh sage leaves
1/2 cup water
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
4 oz Cana de Cabra*, or other soft-ripened goat cheese
*Available at Paris-Madrid Grocery
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, combine flour and salt and pulse to mix. Add the butter pieces and pulse just until a crumbly mixture with butter pieces the size of small peas forms. Add the creme fraiche and pulse until the dough just comes together, taking care not to overwork.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and gently form a ball. Slam the dough down on the work surface 10 or 12 times; this will help prevent the crust from rising too much during baking. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour, or up to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Unwrap the dough and roll it out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8in thick. Cut the dough into eight equal pieces and gently press each piece into a 5-in tart mold with a removable bottom, pressing it into the corners and trimming away any excess. You may need to re-roll the trimmings to get enough rounds, but try to avoid rolling more than twice. If the dough tears here and there, simply press the dough into the mold evenly using the tips of your fingers.
Arrange the tart shells on a baking sheet, prick the bottoms all over with a fork, and refrigerate for 15 minutes, then line the parchment paper and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are firm. Remove the paper and beans and bake for 3 to 5 minutes longer, or until the bottoms of the shells are firm and dry but not browned. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before filling. (If the dough puffs up a little bit, gently flatten with a small spatula.)
To make Filling:
Melt the butter in a large, deep-sided saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the pumpkin and shallots and season with salt and pepper. Add the sage and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the shallots are translucent and the pumpkin takes on a little color.
Add the water and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Transfer the cooled pumpkin to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and process to a smooth purée. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add the eggs and cream and stir until well blended, then set aside.
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Keeping the tart shells on the baking sheet, pour the pumpkin filling into the shells, dividing it evenly. Slice the cheese into eight rounds and place one in the center of each tart. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the filling is set and the surface is golden brown and the cheese has little browned or even slightly burned spots here and there. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes, then remove the tarts from the molds. Serve warm or at room temperature.