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Archive for December, 2009

CLASSES: Butcher Classes

What do you do after your blog has been turned into a highly-noticed book and Meryl Streep and Amy Adams have starred in the film version?

You become a butcher! “Julie And Julia: My Year Of Cooking Dangerously” author Julie Powell has released her next book, “Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession”, her “Julie and Julia” marriage gone awry “set against a backdrop of butchery.”

Most of “Cleaving” was written while Powell was an apprentice at Fleisher’s, a grass-fed and organic meat butcher shop in Kingston, New York. We haven’t read the book, but a colleague who did passes on her wishes for “more food and less sex—does anybody care about Julie Powell’s sex life?” (Yes: People who buy books to make into films will probably like it just the way it is.)

Fleisher’s has launched a formal butchery apprentice program that has already graduated three successful butchers. If your New Year’s plans include training in the culinary arts, learn more about Fleisher’s butcher classes.

As the Fleisher’s folks say, Carne diem!



This could be you, learning the craft (and
trade) of fine butchering. Photo courtesy Fleisher’s.

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TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: The Best Foods Of 2009, Part 2, Sweet Foods


A brownie with Somebody’s Mother’s heavenly white chocolate sauce. Photo by Corey Lugg | THE NIBBLE.


This is the second part of our “The Best Of 2009”: the Top Pick Of The Week specialty and gourmet food products that have become a permanent part of our lives. This week, our picks are the sweet stuff.

Since we’ve chosen “everyday foods,” our list doesn’t include the fabulous boxes of gourmet chocolate that are special-occasion buys. But don’t worry: All of our picks are indulgences.

You can click to the original reviews via the bulleted links below, or read our “Best of 2009” full review to learn why these have been added to our favorite treats list.

  • Olympic Granola Bars, the best granola bars we tried (and we’ve tried hundreds!)
  • Somebody’s Mother’s Dessert Sauces, the best chocolate and white chocolate fudge sauces available commercially
  • Spread Peanut Butter, the best gourmet peanut butter we’ve found to-date
  • Sprinkles Cupcake Mixes, the easiest and best-tasting cupcakes to come out of our oven
  • Way North Biscotti, incredible flavors and textures, our new favorite biscotti
    The links above click through to the original reviews; or you can read this Top Pick of The Week to see, in brief, why we liked each one of these products so much. (And we’ll be eating our fair share of them in 2010, as we search for new Top Picks.)


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    TIP OF THE DAY: New Year’s Plan

    Have a great time this evening. When you wake up tomorrow and consider your New Year’s resolutions, here’s an idea:

    Spend more time with friends and family in the New Year by entertaining more often and more easily.

    Don’t focus on a formal event that takes time to plan and costs a lot of money. Think casual, and simply set aside 2 hours a month to catch up with people you don’t see often enough, or with those you’ve met but haven’t had the chance to see again.

    Make it a regular event and set aside the second Friday evening or third Sunday afternoon of the month, for example. Invite 4 to 8 people over for a mini-tasting:

    Try different teas, mineral waters, Spanish cheeses, single-origin chocolate bars—whatever you’d like to learn more about.

    The group will enjoy mixing and discovering new specialty foods; small groups are easier and less expensive to manage and guests mix more easily.


    Spend an evening with sparkling wines and
    triple-crême cheeses (here, Brie and
    Champagne). Photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

    • Buying cheese for tonight? Double-crême and triple-crême cheeses like Brillat-Savarin, Brie, Camembert, Explorateur and Saint-André are the way to go with sparkling wines. Learn more in our Cheese Glossary.


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    PRODUCT: Champagne For New Year’s Eve


    Krug Champagne, our favorite. We toast
    every new year with it.

    Haven’t picked a celebration bubbly yet?

    Here are our Champagne and sparkling wine recommendations from a few years ago. We’re tasting them all tonight to update the article.

    • Krug is still our favorite (but pricey).
    • In addition to tête de cuvee bottle in the article, we also love the vintage or nonvintage Pol Roger and Bollinger Champagnes, which have a higher concentration of Pinot Noir and are more robust.
    • If you like your bubbly on the more delicate side, Taittinger, a blanc de blanc (only Chardonnay grapes, instead of a combination of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir), is a perennial favorite, too.
    • For great taste on a budget, we’re fans of [yellow tail] sparkling wine, called [yellow tail] Bubbles, and the [yellow tail] Bubbles Rosé, a beautiful rose color as well.


    HAPPY NEW YEAR from all of us at THE NIBBLE. We’ll be nibbling hard for you in 2010.

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Champagne Gift

    Tomorrow is National Champagne Day (appropriately, it’s New Year’s Eve).

    Most people bring a bottle of Champagne as a gift to New Year’s Eve parties. Add a book about Champagne, and your gift will be remembered long after the bubbles are gone.

    See one of our favorite books on Champagne.


    Photo courtesy Sugardaddy’s Sumptuous Sweeties.

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