Once upon a time there were “gift of the month” clubs. They were expensive, unique, somewhat personal, but the food itself was nothing to write home about. It was more about the novelty of a monthly gift, and beautiful packaging. We’ve come a long way from the original “gourmet” gift of the month clubs.
Here are just a few types of monthly subscriptions and memberships you might like to give as a gift this year.
Posted in Food, Parenting, Boston, Cambridge, Buy it., Bakery, Beverages, Dessert, cheese, Christmas, Gifts, bread, wine, Beer, cheese, charcuterie
Tagged Gifts, Holidays, membership, delivery service, mail order gifts, club of the month, foodie gifts, gifts for food lovers, gifts for beer lovers
The gift of charcuterie: You’re such a ham
Formaggio Kitchen‘s Charcuterie Share is like having your very own cellar filled with beautifully hand made meats. Formaggio’s award-winning charcutière Julie Biggs transforms locally and humanely raised meats into pâtés, sausages, terrines, and cured delicacies. She sources rabbit, pork, duck, and other meats from small family farms across New England, and maintains the highest standards for quality and taste. An In-House Charcuterie membership will keep your larder stocked with essentials such as fresh sausages, pancetta, bacon, and pâtés, plus a few subscriber-only treats. A sample share would be: 2 fresh sausage links (lamb, pork, or chicken), 1/4 pound of pâté or rillettes, 1/4 pound of cured meat (bacon, pancetta, guanciale, etc.), 1/4 – 1/3 pound of a seasonally appropriate “surprise”. The charcuterie share is available as a three month share ($105) or a six month share ($200).
Posted in Boston, Buy it., Cambridge, charcuterie, cheese, cheese, Christmas, Gifts
Tagged Boston, Cambridge, charcuterie, cured meats, Formaggio Kitchen, holiday gifts, local charcuterie
The best kind of cheesy gift! Formaggio Kitchen memberships.
Formaggio kitchen is more than a majestic cheese cave, but I think you know that already. Of course there is a cheese of the month club. Each month, Formaggio hand selects three cheeses with a special focus on seasonal cheeses, and what is looking its best at that time. Each monthly selection will include a variety of milk types, textures, flavor profiles and regions and will be approximately 1.5 pounds in total weight. It is available for three months ($199), six months ($385), and twelve months ($740). There is the connoisseur cheese club as well that includes cheese and an accompaniment that highlights the cheeses as well.
In addition to the clubs, but just for locals, Formaggio has two “community food share” memberships. Similar to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) but for cheese or charcuterie.
The Local Cheese share includes four varieties of cheese from different producers around the Northeast. You’ll get to know more about the variety of local cheeses, but also the stories and people behind them, as each cheese will be accompanied by information about the artisans and farms that produced it. Members of the Local Cheese community will also receive special subscriber-only cheeses not regularly available at Formaggio Kitchen. The Local Cheese Share, you’ll receive 1/4 to 1/3 pound of each of four cheeses every month. The shares are available for three months ($99) or six months ($179).
If you’re looking for cured meat you’ll have to check out the Charcuterie share here.
Posted in Boston, Buy it., Cambridge, cheese, cheese, Christmas, Gifts
Tagged cheese club, cheese membership, Christmas, Formaggio Kitchen, mail order gifts
Beer is not just a passing trend. Beer in our fair city and country has grown up over the past decade. From pairings to offerings beer is no longer wine’s plaid wearing, “hoser” like, scraggly bearded younger sibling. She’s all grown up! But like wine, it’s not easy to know what you like and why until you get out there and try more bottles. The Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont has a monthly beer club delivered right to your door. If you prefer to get out of the house to enjoy beer then consider Hopster’s: Brew and Boards 99 Club.
Hopster’s Brew and Board and Craft Beer Cellar have you covered for all the beer lovers in your family.
Craft Beer Cellar’s Beer Club comes in different forms. There is The Sampler, The Half Sampler, and several specialty bundles. The beer is delivered to your door on the first week of every month. Craft Beer Cellar aims to run a spectrum of styles each month, bu also focus on seasonality and time of year, as it’s relevance to craft beer.
- The Sampler: Twelve – Small Bottles (9.3 – 12oz) and Three – Large Bottles (12.7oz – 25.4oz) is $54.95/month for a year, $57.95/month for 6 – 11 months or $59.95/month for 1-5 months.
- The Half Sampler: Six – Small Bottles and Two – Large Bottles. $29.95/month for a year, $32.95/month for 6-11 months, or $34.95/month for 1-5 months.
- The Wee Belgian: Four – Small, Delicious, and Notable Belgian Bottles (typically 11.2oz) $30/month. For $15 add on Westvleteren, Drie Fonteinen, De Struise, and other rare specialties.
- The Mighty Belgian: Two – Large, Devine, and Extraordinary Bottles (typically 25.4oz) $30/month for $15 add on Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen, Fantome, and other RARE Specialties.
- Small International Flare Four Small, Ecentric, Hipster Bottles, from some of the worlds newest breweries for $30/month For $15 add on Barrel-Aged and other similar specialty beers.
- Sour Business: Two – Small, Tart, Puckering Bottles of Damned Fine Lambics (11.2-12.7oz) and Two – Large, Lucious, Sweet, Tart, and Sour Lambics (typically 25.4oz) for $45/month. For $15 add treats such as Drie Fonteinen Golden Blend, Fantome Extra Sour, etc.
Posted in Beer, Buy it., Christmas, Drink, Gifts, How to, vegetarian
Tagged beer, Craft Beer, Craft Beer Cellar, delivery service, holiday gifts, Hopster's Brew and Board, memberships
Wine clubs membership is a gift that won’t go to waste.
Just because beer options have become incredible doesn’t mean that wine disappears in the shadows. There are beer lovers and there are wine lovers and there are those who are smart enough to appreciate it all. This one is for those who appreciate wine. From cocktail hour to night caps there are all sorts of wines for all occasions and the best way to get to know which ones you like best for what, is to try new things.
90+ Cellar Wine Club is a perfect way to keep the wine fridge stocked. The club allows you to try new bottles every quarter including exclusive releases from 90+ Cellars. Price ranges from $90 to $170 for a six bottle delivery. Tasting notes and additional information is sent along with each shipment. Club members are also get 15% off all other orders from 90+ Cellars online store.
90+ Cellar sent me a few bottles to sample. I was very impressed with the quality of the wine and I will continue to seek out 90+ as I shop to restock my wine cellar this time of year.
May I have this dance… I mean brew?
One thing that we don’t do nearly enough is go out with our friends. We are all too busy somehow. Newcomer, Hopster’s Brew and Boards will take care of that with their 99 Club.
Photo by, Nina Gallant
Every 3 months, you will gather with friends (the more the merrier) and up to a total of 20 other local beer crafters to make and taste beer. The cost is $99 per quarter. You gather to make the beer and then two weeks later you’ll gather again to bottle, sample, share recipes and take it home. I suggest you swap a few bottles before to make it a mixed pack. Other perks of the club are that you get 15% off on merchandise, 10% off ingredients, 15% food discount and free bottling and custom labels. It’s not just making beer, it’s a whole experience. Just like going to Napa isn’t just buying wine, going to Hopster’s Brew and Boards isn’t just making beer.
Gorgeous boards at Hopster’s Beer and Boards. Photo Credit: Nina Gallant
Posted in Beer, Beverages, Boston, cheese, cheese, Christmas, Do it., Drink, Fatherhood, Gifts, New England Outings, Newton, Parenting
Tagged beer club, brewing, club, gift, Hopster's Brew and Board, membership, Newton, outings
Pain D’Avignon is all pleasure. Pain D’Avignon’s bakery is in Hyannis, but their bread can be found at local shops and at the farmer’s market.
As you might have seen recently in the Wall Street Journal, Pain D’Avignon has a bread-lover’s dream come true with their bread of the month club. There is a choice of :three months ($150), six months ($275), and twelve months ($500). Click here for a full list of what each month entails (from January’s Winter Warmer to July’s Cook Out). All prices include FedEx 2 Day shipping charges. Inquire for overnight shipping options. Please call 508-778-8588 to participate in Pain D’Avignon’s Bread of the Month Club.
Posted in Bakery, Boston, bread, Buy it., Christmas, Do it., Food, Gifts, Parenting
Tagged bread, club, delivery, gift, Hyannis, membership, Pain D'Avignon
The sweet S’more Cookbook giveaway has just ended and now we’re on to the next!
As you may have noticed, I am a vinegar lover. I use it in the kitchen more often than anywhere else, but I’ve been using it on windows and floors as well. Of course I like it best of all in my pickles, and my salad dressing, but I’m willing to go beyond that. I have a giant container of white vinegar under my sink, but I forget to reach for it when I’m cleaning.
I used to be good about using it for the windows, but then lost track of it all and just went for the stuff off the cleaning shelf. This past fall, I learned how to make a fabulous scrub with baking soda and Dr. Bronner’s castile soap with Kristi Marsh, author of Little Changes: Tales of a Reluctant Home Eco-Momics Pioneer. It is my favourite scrub for sinks and stoves.
Then, I got the opportunity to review (and now give away) a copy of Vinegar Fridays. What I love about the book is:
- It’s skinny. I know that sounds strange, but I’m a tired, overwhelmed mom, and I like to read for pleasure. It’s hard enough to find time to escape in a book, let alone pick up a book that’s about cleaning and more.
- It has simple recipes. This is what I really love it for. You can bookmark or highlight all the little recipes for cough medicine, window cleaner, and even stew.
- It isn’t preachy. You learn about some of the chemicals that are in the other products you might have on your shelf, but its not overly scientific nor preachy. It just helps put things in perspective.
- It’s funny. There are little snippets and short tales from this “green grandma” that bring the whole book together.
- It’s the perfect gift. It’s small, it’s useful, and it is the perfect gift. It’s not for everyone! Not everyone wants a book about “the vinegar life”, but I know plenty of new moms, old moms, eco-conscious friends, who would love this as a gift. (Starting my list now.)
Enter to win a copy of Vinegar Fridays and a jar of my favourite scrub!
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Comfort and joy comes in many shapes, forms, sizes and packages Here is my selection of places to find comfort and joy one bite at a time this month.
30 Days of Comfort and Joy: Dining in Boston -1 through 10
- The crispy Denver lamb rib with mint pesto at the Biltmore Bar and Grille, a hidden gem in Newton, is perfect. I don’t usually like mint condiments but I begged for the recipe on this one. I can picture myself stepping out of the winter slush and settling in for the evening at a table with friends or with my husband with an order of lamb and sipping a cocktail or two.
- Tea at L’Espalier isn’t just tea. It is tea in one fabulous Boston restaurant. On Sundays, you’ll get a tea education and wine glass after wine glass filled with all the different beautiful and fragrant cups of tea. The “icing on the cake” are the perfectly paired bites that accompany the tea. Coming up on December 15th is the Princess (Princes are welcome too!) Tea. It is $50 for adults, $35 for princesses & princes (under 12) A tea service for good little girls and boys! Bring your children for a tea service that will delight them, complete with tiaras and crowns. Our Fantasy Tea service will also be available on this day.
- Comfort comes in all shapes and sizes. A favourite of mine is round with a whole in the middle… and no it is not a doughnut. I recently bit into a salty, chewy, fresh bagel from Cutty’s made by Bagelsaurus. I loved Cutty’s and can’t wait to go back for lunch one day soon, but first another bagel. Bagels are available until they sell out on Fridays and Saturdays and comes in the following varieties: Classic, Everything, Sesame, Poppy, Sea Salt, Black Olive, Pretzel.
- Montreal Bagels really have nothing to do with NY Style bagels. It’s a bit like coffee and coffee with sugar in it. They are two totally different things. I bounce back and forth between the two. If you want fresh Montreal Bagels (you pretty much have to go to Montreal to Fairmount or St. Viateur -my faves-) or you can pick St. Viateur bagels up at Walnut Market in Newton, but call ahead to find out which day they come in fresh. Next best thing is Whole Foods Market which carries Real Bagels from Montreal. These are best toasted. Sesame is always the way to go.
- Continuing on with a bread theme here and since we still have a couple days left of Chanukah, let’s talk Challah. Hi Rise Bakery has the best challah in my opinion. It is perfect to eat fresh or later for french toast. It has a little sweetness but is less cakey than the very popular (in our household and around town) Cheryl Anne’s. It also has the best chewiness. You just want to curl up inside the soft braided strands and take a nap.
- Although I’m more of a bread lover than a breakfast sweet seeker, doughnuts are a definite comfort food. I love going into Linda’s and they have the best doughnuts. Sometimes they run out though, and just a short drive further down towards Belmont leads you to the next best doughnut around Ohlin’s.
- Trade in Boston is all about joy! The space is airy and chic, the diners are usually dressed in business attire, but the food has loosened their tie. There is nothing like a business lunch or lunch with the family after playing in Boston. The flatbreads are light or rich, bright, and full of flavour. All of the starters have such amazing flavour. The menu isn’t necessarily child friendly, but I went with my picky eater and he had fries and lemonade (we got more nutrition in him later). Totally worth it!
- Pizza and ice cream are the favourites of the young and the young at heart. Picco in the South End has fabulous pizza and ice cream. Totally comfort food! Not to mention milk shakes.
- Since we’re talking sweet now, let’s pop into Tatte for another taste of pure comfort and joy. Their Cheesecake Cup is perfect for sharing (it’s big enough) but if you are in need of major comfort you can go it alone. There is something about eating cheesecake with a spoon out of a cup. It is a whole extra level of comfort. Whether you like cheesecake or not, walking into Tatte is an experience of both comfort and joy.
- Speaking of spoons. A meal with a whole lot of comfort and joy is Mongolian Hot Pot at Little Q in Arlington. You’ll be using a spoon and chopsticks as you cook, and eat. The black bone chicken stock is the ultimate comfort food. As for what you want to cook in it, the choices are endless. We get: fried tofu, baby bok choy, noodles (shandong, vermicelli, or udon), rice cake, sirloin, broccoli, and corn if its in season. If you want heat, get 1/2 Mala and 1/2 black bone chicken. The Mala will blow your top off so be sure to take the chilis out half way through.