frontaura winesJoin us tomorrow, Saturday, February 3 from 2-4 p.m. for a tasting of Tempranillos from Toro and Ribera del Duero.   Loreto Herrero from Frontaura Winery will be here to talk about their winery and pour samples of four different Tempranillo wines, ranging from a young, value-driven Tempranillo to a 2006 Reserva.    This will be a fascinating tasting; don’t miss it!

olive wood spoonsOlive wood utensils:   A new shipment of beautiful serving spoons, ladles, slotted stirrers, and spoons arrived this week.  Durable, utilitarian and gorgeous, these are remarkably inexpensive and make great gifts.

Zoe's BaconZoe Bacon:  Zoe Meats is a favorite purveyor of ours. Seattle based, they began producing high-quality artisan cured meats in 2007 for restaurants.  They continue to create new and delicious Salamis, and we proudly carry Zoe Meat’s Cabernet Salami, a nitrite free, pork salami made with Cabernet Sauvignon.   We also stock Zoe Salami de Cacao, made with a touch of cocoa, cloves, and has a kick of heat.  Zoe Absinthe Salami is a new favorite, made with spicy Hatch New Mexico chili peppers and an infusion of absinthe liquor.   And now, we’ve got Zoe’s Bacon!  Used by chefs nationwide, this bacon is seasoned with salts and sugars, then smoked over applewood chips.  Nitrate Free, made from hogs that are humanely raised on a vegetarian diet and antibiotic free.    This bacon is uncured; find it in our freezer case.    $9.99/12 oz

chocolate lava cakeValrhona Chocolate Lava Cake $3.99 each, $7.99 for two –  You could wait for Valentine’s Day to buy one of these mini chocolate lava cakes, or if you’re a chocoholic like me, you’ll need to try one right away.  These individually-sized chocolate fondants are a decadent dessert for any occasion. Made in France with Tainori Valrhona chocolate from the Dominican Republic, and premium ingredients such as whole eggs, butter, and vanilla. The rich and tender cake gives way to a gooey, chocolate interior.  Simply bake the cakes at 350F for 10 to 12 minutes, and you’re done! Go ahead and treat yourself!

Game Day foods:  Sunday afternoon, February 4 is the Superbowl.   It’s traditional to throw a game-day party, and with a game lasting about 4 hours, sustenance will be necessary.  There are simple dishes like chili that can be served.  Or take it up a notch by serving sandwiches with artisan charcuterie, pate, jamon, cheeses and French mustard.   That’s still simple, and here, we can help put together a delicious spread of meats and cheeses.  All you need to do is buy baguettes!   grilled sausages A mixed grill of meats and sausages is also easy and crowd-pleasing.    We have a tremendous assortment of sausages ranging from French-style Merguez, Bistro or Pheasant Sausage with Cognac. to Morcilla, Chorizo and Uncured Iberico de Bellota pork.   Serve with a Marinated Chickpea Salad (recipe below) for a stellar menu!      And, don’t forget Paella, which is fantastic for any type of group get-together.

MARINATED CHICKPEA SALAD by Penelope Casas   (Prepare one day in advance).

Beans should show up at the table as often as possible.  Not just because they are filled with nutrition but because they taste great, especially if you start with Spanish dried garbanzos and cook them yourself.   You’ll be rewarded with amazing flavor!      Serves 4garbanzo salad

2 cups cooked Garbanzo beans (appx. ½ pound when dry)

1 hard-boiled egg yolk

4 tablespoons Spanish extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 tablespoon small capers

Soak the chickpeas overnight.  Cover and cook in the same water, adding more water if necessary and seasoning with salt and a bay leaf, for about 1 ½-2 hours, or until the garbanzos are tender.

Wash and drain the chickpeas.  Pass the egg yolk through a sieve into a bowl.  Beat in the oil and vinegar with a wire whisk, then stir in the onion, garlic, 1 tablespoon of the parsley, capers and chickpeas.  Refrigerate overnight.  Bring to room temperature before serving and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of parsley.

French classic recipes:  An e-publication recently contacted us to share their 15 classic French recipes.   Here’s a link to their site and the recipes.   Feel free to pass these on to friends!