Yes, I'm obsessed with fine food and when I find exceptional edibles, I have to share them. When I came across this amazing, organic Balsamic vinegar from one of the best producers in Modena, I knew I had to stock it in the store. Presented in a beautiful, substantial bottle, it makes a terrific holiday hostess gift -- or a great treat for yourself!
Because this is so special, it is best enjoyed simply, drizzled as a flavor garnish over meats fish and poultry before and after cooking, as well as a delicious flourish over all sorts of milder or creamy cheeses and bread, as well as fruit (Pears are great). If you decide to use it for a salad dressing, use another vinegar in quantity and add just a tablespoon or so of Saporoso for the flavor punch.
Here's a link to order. If you need it gift wrapped, just note it in the comment box at check-out. http://www.nathalieseaver.biz/sabavi.html
Beloware a few yummy recipes:
By the way, if octopus isn't your thing, you can substitute grilled boneless chicken pieces -- but the arugula, peach and balsamic are a magic flavor combination.
Charred Octopus with Peach, Arugula and Aged Balsamic
This recipe is from Epicurious | October 2010
by Eric Ripert
Combine the onion, celery, carrot, prosciutto, parsley, garlic and cayenne pepper in a pot with about 8 cups of water. Season the water with salt and boil for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse. Add the octopus and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer gently for about 1 hour or until the octopus is tender when gently pierced with a knife. Cool the octopus in the braising liquid at room temperature until cool enough to handle.
Remove the octopus from the braising liquid and drain well. Heat a cast-iron skillet or a flat griddle over high heat until it is very hot. Season the octopus with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill the octopus until it is caramelized and crusted on all sides, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the charred octopus to a cutting board and cut each tentacle on the bias into 4 slices.
Place the octopus slices in the center of 4 plates and garnish with arugula and 3 to 4 slices of the peach. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of aged balsamic vinegar over and around the octopus, and finish each dish with a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve immediately.
A must-visit destination in Paris is the Maille Mustard Store at 6, place de la Madeline. I am a longtime devotee of their grainy mustard -- I use it almost every day and they are pros, having perfected their craft for over 200 years.
Being Paris, their stylish windows beckon you inside with their classic mustard jars presented in a striking pallette of up to the minute Neon colors and unexpected flavor options: Violet/Blueberry, Fresh Green Herbs, Garlic/Red Pepper.
Perfect for an eye-catching display, yes. But inside the store are the real seducers:
Hazlenut, Truffle, Piment d'Espelette...among others. Not to mention fresh mustard you can have pumped into on-the-spot cork sealed crocks.
I lift up a gift box filled with a colorful mustard trio and think:
Do I really really want to do this? My bags are so full. There are so many flavors I'd like to take back with me. Why carry 10 extra pounds of breakable mustard? Surely, these are all available on Amazon. Be smart. This is the 21st century. Deal with your Mustard when you get home. Bien sur.
So I left empty handed, certain I could order everything later from my Los Angeles computer.
None of these unusual niche mustards are gettable online here in the U.S. And the Maille website itself only delivers within France.
Note to self: Not everything is globalized and available online -- a good thing to remember when you travel and find special items -- pounce!
Clearly, I need to go back to Paris immediately to pick up some of those coveted jars.
I'm a scarf aficionado and never leave the house without one tied around my neck or around my shoulders... and always find new ones to play with
As a result, my shop is known for a great selection of shawls and scarves...
People always ask me for a quick lesson in how to tie a scarf for just the right twirl of fabric around the neck...and now there's this adorable video to demonstrate all the possibilities:
Send us a picture with your favorite way to wear a scarf and we'll post it on the website!
Tags: accessories, cashmere scarf, cashmere shawl, featherweight cashmere, french syle, great gifts, how to tie a scarf, one of a kind gift, perfect gift, printed cashmere, scarf, scarf tricks, shawl, silk scarf, style secrets, style tips, women's gifts
I 'm partial to cloth napkins and one of my favorites is classic white cotton damask. My grandmother placed starched stacks of them in her huge linen closet. As a child, I remember feeling very grown up and elegant when I smoothed mine across my lap at her formal Thanksgiving dinner table. I have some of hers now and happily set them out for special dinners and something about their substantial heft is very pleasing and reassuring and makes even the simplest meal that much more meaningful.
I recently scooped up a cache of lovely vintage damask napkins (circa 1925) that are similar and very soft and drapey. I was told they were stored for years and forgotten in a dowry chest. Hard to know for sure but these nicely preserved 16" x 16" squares can be an "instant heirloom" for your own special occasions. We have a few sets of 6 at the shop or on line:
It took several batches to perfect this recipe: not too sweet and very lush and light. Toasted almonds add a delicate crunch and a zing of fresh lemon zest make for a VERY addictive frosting. I'll post the recipe on my website tomorrow.
Meanwhile, come by and sample these treats all day...with bubbly and other French goodies.
What to do with the leftover loaf after the dinner party? One solution is this:
Slice it nice and thin,
Stir some cumin into a little bit of olive oil with a dash of salt,
Lightly brush the slices with the cumin oil,
Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes, until golden.
Or, you if you have a little extra time on your hands, you can also make an Haute Couture outfit:
This was a one in a series of outfits photographed by Ted Sabarese, collaborating with designer, Ami Goodheart of SOTU Productions for a project called "Hunger Pains", based on the models food cravings.
And by the way, this pre-dated Lady Gaga.
I know, I know, I always wear black. I can't help it, it's in my New York DNA. But it's June and my French genes are ready for gingham -- one of my favorite wardrobe flourishes. Here's a little sampler of delicious goodies from my latest wish list...and it's my birthday next week -- in case you need any inspiration!
These remind me of sitting at a Paris cafe in the late afternoon, reading and watching the passersby...
I like that the graceful porcelain cups and saucers have a nice, light weight but seem sturdy enough for everyday use
Also appreciate a smart idea with an elegant design: The delightful cylinder box swivels to open and close which makes for a great gift package and storage.
I was at a friend's house for dinner the other night and she brought out a package of coffee she had not yet tried. Did we want a cup?
Don't usually indulge in an after dinner coffee --unless it is decaf -- but one whiff of the incredible aroma from this unopened package immediately encouraged us make a fresh pot.
Wow! This was Monkey & Son, Organic Fook! blend and it did not disappoint. I like a full bodied, dark roast and this brew was rich and smooth with a strikingly fresh flavor.
Their website offers an array of light to dark roasts to suit all coffee palates with One to Four bean ratings marking the intensity of flavor. There is one decaf option and it is a lighter, Two Bean roast. I'm hoping they will add a Four Bean decaf to match the Fook! blend at some point. All the coffees they source are Fair Trade and Organic.
This coffee completely elevates the coffee experience and a happy new addition to my kitchen must-haves.