|CHRISTMAS 2009 • ISSUE NO. SEVEN|
'Tis the Cheeson!
We love Christmas - it's pretty obvious from the second you walk in the door these days. Carmen has, as usual, gone completely overboard with the ordering, and as a result we are absolutely buried in every imaginable kind of tasty, beautifully packaged, generally be-ribboned and precariously placed festive food. There are chocolates tucked into every little corner of available space. But don't worry - we saved room for the cheese, so if your Christmas wish is a turkey-sized chunk of Etorki, or Beemster's or Brie de Meaux, or even, dare we suggest, Le Dauphin, we can help make that come true.
This issue we're covering our festive food basics, we've got a couple of fun pictures of Christmas Chez Charelli's, and some fun snippets from Wikipedia on the history of favourite Christmas treats. And, as always, we've got a great recipe and some wonderful cheese recommendations. Have fun reading, and have a wonderful Christmas season!
And this issue's good news is: We're staying open this January! We just missed you too much last year... We'll take a day or two off, and our hours will be a bit shorter - but we'll be here!
All the best,
Every 8th and 26th of every month 20% of all cheese sales are donated to support Victoria Hospice.
FOODS WORTH CELEBRATING...
... and worthy of your celebration. This is hands-down the best time of year for indulging your sweet tooth - not to mention your cheese tooth, your savoury tooth... basically it's the season for just sinking all your teeth into the finest, richest, tastiest foods you can find, and chances are, you can find most of them here.
Charelli's Signature Cheese and Antipasto Platters
You know them, you love them and they're still the easiest way to thrill the host/ess. (Especially if the host/ess is you!) We just need 24 hours notice, and the day of your soiree you can pick up the ultimate hostess gift - plattered, labeled, wrapped and ready to go!
Breads can be wonderfully simple, but they should never be plain - especially not at Christmas. Our beautiful, festive breads include: Fol Epi Organic Loaves, Italian
SPECIAL ORDER ITEMS
For when nothing but the best will do. We can supply you with the following specialty items that will make your celebration truly distinctive:
Foie Gras & Foie Gras au Torchon,
Hot and Cold Smoked Duck Breast and Proscuitto, Rookvlees, and
Please order well in advance! The above items are in high demand and do sell out - we'd hate for you to miss out on any of them.
And a final note: allow us to have your Fondue & Raclette cheeses grated or sliced for your evening. You get more time for wine! (And friends...)
Christmas Food History Snippet: Mincemeat English recipes from the 15th, 16th, and 17th century describe a mixture of meat and fruit used as a pie filling. These early recipes included vinegars and wines, but by the 18th century distilled spirits, frequently brandy, were being used instead. The use of spices like clove, nutmeg, mace and cinnamon was common in late medieval and renaissance meat dishes. The increase of sweetness from added sugars, and those produced from fermentation, made mincemeat less a savoury dinner course and helped to direct its use toward desserts.
WE LOVE CANDY...
CHEESE FOR ALL!
Custom Gourmet Gift Packaging & Gift Certificates
No one needs more 'stuff' - everyone needs more cheese! (That said, if there's any fancy 'stuff' you'd like to get us for Christmas... well... we won't turn you away.) Let Charelli's help you with your holiday shopping for your family friends and colleagues. We would be pleased to assist you in creating your personalised, beautifully wrapped gift-package from our gourmet store inventory.
Our packages are ideal gifts for: Hosts, Congratulations, Tea Lovers, Cheese Lovers, Welcoming arriving guests, Thank you's, Birthdays, Corporate Packaging... We carry something for everyone, especially for those who already have everything.
Can't decide or don't have time? Get them a gift certificate, available in any amount.
Order your baskets ahead of time and we can have them ready for you to breeze in and pick up at your convenience.
Christmas Food History Snippet: The Candy Cane The candy cane began as a simple white stick of sugar for children to enjoy - there was no "cane" shape or stripes to speak of. The distinctive "hook" shape associated with candy canes is traditionally credited to a choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral in Germany, who, legend has it, in 1670 bent straight candy sticks into canes to represent a shepherd's crook, and gave them to children at church services. The signature stripes and peppermint flavor did not become part of the candy cane until the 20th century.
AND CHOCOLATES - WE LOVE THOSE, TOO.
RECIPE: APPLE PANETTONE PUDDING
The all-knowing wikipedia has the following to say about the history of Panettone: Though the etymology of the word 'panettone' is rather mundane, three more complex and fanciful folk etymologies have arisen. One suggests that the word derives from the Milanese, "pan del ton," meaning "bread of luxury."
Another states that a 15th century legend from Milan credits the invention to the nobleman falconer Ughetto Atellani, who fell in love with Adalgisa, the daughter of a poor baker named Toni. To win her over, the nobleman disguised himself as a baker and invented a rich bread to which he added flour and yeast, butter, eggs, dried raisins and candied lemon and orange peel. The duke of Milan, Ludovico il Moro Sforza (1452-1508), agreed to the marriage, which was held in the presence of Leonardo da Vinci, and encouraged the launch of the new cake-like bread: Pan de Toni (or Toni's bread).
Another legend credits the cake being invented in the court of the Sforzas, but with the following story:
It was Christmas and the court cook had no dessert to offer. So the guests were given a sweet bread baked by a mere kitchen boy, called Toni, which won general praise. Rather than steal the praise for himself, the cook congratulated his assistant and named it after him.
All very interesting, but if you want to get the most out of your sweetbreads this year, we recommend this scrumptiously luxurious recipe for Apple Panettone Pudding.
Christmas Food History Snippet: Eggnog The origins, etymology, and even the ingredients used to make the original eggnog drink are debated. Eggnog, or a very similar drink, may have originated in East Anglia, England, though it may also have been developed from posset (a medieval European beverage made with hot milk). The drink may have adopted the "nog" part of its name from the word "noggin", a Middle English phrase used to describe a small, wooden, carved mug used to serve alcohol. Another name for this British drink was Egg Flip. Yet another story is that the term derived from the name "egg-and-grog", a common Colonial term used to describe rum. Eventually the term was shortened to "egg'n'grog", then "eggnog".
THE BEST OF THE BEST
Whether finding gifts or spreading your own table, it's time for the best of everything, including cheese. Neal's Yard Dairy sends us some of our favourite cheeses - and these are some of our favourite favourites, described in Neal's Yard's own words.
A Christmas tradition, we'll start with the stilton:
Colston Bassett Stilton
The cheese has a rich, minerally tang and a buttery texture. Its flavour is strong and full without being sharp or overpowering: mellow, fruity, deep and savoury.
Stichelton - Unpasteurised Stilton
Stichelton is one of very few unpasteurised English blue cheeses. Flavours are cool and buttery with underlying nutty toasty notes. There is a spicy element from the blue mould but alongside that is a long lasting savouriness and caramel- like sweetness. The layers of flavours expand and develop in your mouth as you eat and last long after swallowing.
The basis for Yarg is a 13th century recipe that is a cross between Caerphilly and Wensleydale. However the nettling is a 20th century addition. The flavours are gently lactic but with rich, creamy and slightly sweet undertones. The texture crumbles very slightly but is moist and rich.
When ripe, this cheese has a soft, yielding texture more like a continental blue than a Stilton. The flavours are milky and savoury - sometimes quite salty - alleviated by the blue.
This is a true connoisseur's cheese, and an experience unto itself. Washed in Perry, the pungency of Stinking Bishop is unrivaled. But the taste is relatively (and we do mean relative) mild and beautifully complex.
Christmas Food History Snippet: Sugarplums Sugarplums were an early form of boiled sweet. Not actually made from plums...they were nevertheless roughly the size and shape of plums, and often had little wire stalks' for suspending them from. They came in an assortment of colours and flavours, and frequently, like comfits, had an aniseed, caraway seed, etc. at their centre. The term was in vogue from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, but is now remembered largely thanks to the Sugarplum Fairy, a character in Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker ballet
2851 Foul Bay Road, Victoria, BC V8R 5G5 (View map)
Phone: (250) 598-4794
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