by Celia Sin-Tien Cheng
December 3, 2010
This year we wanted to bring a little spice, Nordic precision, Hawaiian sweetness, pasta geometry and cheesy crispness your way. Experience it all this holiday season!
Last year, we introduced Nudo, the family-run cooperative olive oil producer in the Marche region of Italy and their adopt-an-olive-tree program program. New to the American market this year are Nudo’s artisanal Italian products and flavored olive oils, and better yet, Nudo gift sets. I’m hopelessly addicted to Nudo’s Chilli Lover, which includes chilli olive oil, dried Italian chillies, sweet chilli jam, a bag of penne and a recipe book. My penne arrabiatta has never tasted better. When you use all three chilli products together, the heat will hit you from different directions: the fire from the chilli oil surprises at the end of the palate, whereas you feel the heat of the chilli peppers up front. Why not add a little spice to your holidays?
On the heels of Noma being voted “The S. Pellegrino Best Restaurant in the World,” Noma’s head chef and owner René Redzepi has released his first cookbook, Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine. Indeed now is the time, and Noma is the place. Those who can’t make it to the Copenhagen restaurant can relish this amazing cookbook that not only features Redzepi’s Nordic cuisine and philosophy, but is also a work of art to be savored. The photos alone are stunning! See the photos of “snowman” and “pork neck with bulrushes, violets and malt” at the top of the page (photographs by Ditte Isager).
Six-cookie gift box $9.95
Add a little Hawaiian flair to your holidays by trying Kaija’s Kookies’ handmade Florentine-style sandwich cookies from The Big Island. These cookies are thin and crisp, with the surprise of either a semisweet chocolate or white chocolate filling. Cookie flavors include original, original with caramel, macadamia nut, almond with coconut, ginger and peanut butter. Made mainly from local Hawaiian ingredients including macadamia nuts and Kona coffee, these cookies are infused with the delicious taste of Hawaii. Aloha!
Designer Caz Hildebrand and chef Jacob Kenedy’s The Geometry of Pasta: The Perfect Shape + The Perfect Sauce is a fun-loving cookbook after my heart, with its combination of cooking, pasta and design. It’s a great pasta resource with marvelous black and white illustrations of over 100 different pasta forms, some easily recognizable and others more abstract. This witty cookbook includes descriptions of each pasta type, cooking tips and recipes (from classics like lasagne alla Bolognese to Hawaiian macaroni salad). The Geometry of Pasta is a must-have for pasta enthusiasts!
Little Ragghi’s Crackers are extremely addictive artisanal flatbread crackers with Parmesan and olive oil, great for entertaining or as gifts. They are so fresh and delicious that this year I am recommending them instead of cheeses — though it’s always good to have both. Guy Bashore started making them for tastings at his wine store but they took on a life of their own. The crackers are named after his friend and personal hero Raggatha Calentine, or “Little Ragghi,” who makes them with Guy every night. You can learn more about Little Ragghi’s story on the website.