Getting to the Point

Wusthof KnivesAfter 20 years of teaching the knife skills class, I am still amazed what a lot of folks don’t know about knives. It may sound strange, but learning how to hold and use a knife correctly will help you work faster and safer. Sometimes all it takes is a little forethought before you just randomly start breaking down your veggies.

The benefit of good knife skills comes with uniformity. I can’t stress this point enough! Every time you lift your knife to cut or chop, think to yourself: Is this the same thickness? Is this the same size as the last piece? Plain and simply put, pieces of food that are the same size and shape cook at the same rate. I remember my mom fishing around a big pot of boiling potatoes looking for the biggest to see if potatoes were done yet! With uniformity, you don’t have to ‘go fishing’.

Another bonus to good knife skills and uniformity is presentation. We all know that we eat first with our eyes. There is a simple elegance to perfectly cut and sized vegetables that a ”rough  chop” will never be able to give. If you’re looking to get on point, here are a couple of my favorite knives that we always carry in the Culinary Center:

I love the Chef’s knife. It can handle a lot of the everyday tasks in your kitchen. Its stable and curved blade helps promote a rocking motion that enables you to have better control and a finer dice. Available in 3 sizes (6 inch,  8 inch, and 10 inch) I like to call the 8-inch knife the workhorse of the kitchen. The 6 inch is a good one for beginners or those who are a little shy about knives. The 10 inch can cover more ground when prepping for larger quantities.

A Bread knife can do things that the chef’s knife just can’t.  Think things that squish. You use a sawing motion when using this knife, so it’s perfect for bread, tomatoes, croissants, etc. The serrated blade is not meant for chopping.

The Paring knife is handy to have around. Whether you are paring, peeling, or slicing, the small size of the blade can tackle mincing garlic to peeling an apple. Most are now available with either a serrated blade or a straight one.

When it comes to Japanese knives, two of my favorites are the Santoku and the Nakiri. The hollow edge of a Santoku creates air pockets which help prevent thin cuts or soft slice foods from clinging to the blade. The straighter, blunt, squarish shape of the Nakiri facilitates a straight up and down motion for chopping and most veggie prep.

Feel free to come in and ask us any questions you may have. We love talking knives and are happy to set you up with a cutting board so you can try out whatever type of knife you are interested in.  Or sign up for our popular knife skills class.  I look forward to seeing you soon!

Raising the Chocolate Bar—Maverick Chocolate & 6 More Chocolatiers to Adore

You don’t have to look far to find chocolate makers who see their work as equal parts passion and craft—a science to be explored, continuously perfected. Cincinnati-based Maverick Chocolate Co. has attracted national attention for their bean-to-bar approach, gaining quick accolades from the International Chocolate Awards.

Albeit impressive, that’s not the most interesting thing about Maverick. Hints of the story behind the bar can be gleaned from the packaging of their chocolate. You’ll note illustrations of revolutionary flying contraptions throughout aviation history—mavericks in their own time. As you move your fingers across the fastener on the packaging, the words “remove before flight” appear across the pull tab.

Founder Paul Picton spent the lion’s share of his career working as a mechanical engineer in the aviation industry for GE, Delta, and Mercedes-Benz. He traveled often and found a sweet way to connect with his family upon returning—with chocolate. About 5 years ago, he decided that it was time to reinvent his career and dreams of chocolate making surfaced. “I knew it was time for a change,” he says. “I quickly learned that not all craft chocolate is equal … It’s relatively simple to make [chocolate], but it’s very hard to perfect.” As an engineer, it’s clear that the quest for perfection is a big part of the fun for Paul. His evolution to a food entrepreneur has offered the opportunity to draw upon the talents of his family, like his son Ben Picton, who heads up sales and marketing at Maverick. Together, they are adding a new spin to the classic comfort of chocolate. “It’s not just candy,” tells Paul, calling attention to the devil in the detail.

Maverick’s stunning new chocolate-making facility located in Cincinnati’s Rookwood Commons area is an off-shoot from its original Findlay Market shop. Cocoa beans are roasted, ground, and then tempered on impressive brushed steel equipment from Italy. Paul describes how tempering the chocolate just right brings about changes to its innate crystal structure, resulting in that beautiful shine and snap by natural means—no artificial additives and the ingredients are kept simple.

“We are mavericks in chocolate-making,” Paul says. With that said, we are excited that such chocolate makers are locally based in our own backyard.

6 More Chocolatiers to Adore, by Todd Templin

Dorothy Lane Market Chocolate Bars by Ghyslain

Union City, IN • ghyslain.com

Here at DLM, we love great food and sometimes a collaboration is just natural as it is with our dear friend, Master Chef Ghyslain Maurais … who also loves great food! Together, we’ve created a line of chocolate bars that are beautifully made, affordable, and the perfect accompaniment to nearly any occasion. Available in Dark, Milk, Sea Salt Almond, Artisan Dark Milk, Hazelnut, and Sea Salt Caramel, these are meant to be nibbled at your desk mid-day, post meal for a decadent dessert, or paired with the perfect wine for a tasty treat.

Le chocolate des Français

France • lechocolatdesfrancais.fr/en/

We love this French company that brings to life a whimsical fun side with their vibrant packaging. They’re dedicated to making super high quality chocolates from pure cocoa butter, sustainably farmed beans from Ecuador and Peru, and French ingredients that are 100% natural, without palm oil or preservatives! With labels that remind one slightly of an Andy Warhol collection, these chocolates are delicious, fun, and make one simply smile.

MilkBoy Swiss Chocolates

Switzerland • milkboy.com

The milk from the famed herds that graze high in the Alps each summer is the base for these bars. High quality ingredients, including top-notch cocoa beans from some of the world’s best sustainable sources, make these chocolate bars some of our favorites!

Olive & Sinclair

Nashville, TN • oliveandsinclair.com

Working within an old grocery store turned chocolate factory, Olive & Sinclair is Tennessee’s first and only bean-to-bar chocolate company. They begin their chocolate making process by stone-grinding cacao, using melangeurs (stone mills) from the early 1900s, then adding only pure cane brown sugar. They call it Southern Artisan Chocolate™. From Buttermilk White Chocolate to 75% Cacao, their chocolates are nothing short of exquisite.

Charles Chocolates

San Francisco, CA • charleschocolates.com

Charles Chocolates’ founder Chuck Siegel is self-taught in the art of chocolate making. His passion has driven the dedication of the company to create some of the best handmade chocolate, all crafted with the finest ingredients. This attention to detail has given Charles Chocolates a glowing reputation in the world of small batch artisan chocolates.

K + M Chocolate

Napa, CA • kellermannichocolate.com

If there was ever a superstar duo to team up to make decadent tasting chocolate, it is this team: Thomas Keller, the famed chef and owner of Napa Valley’s The French Laundry, and Armando Manni, the owner of Manni Organic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. Chi Bui, the chocolatier who oversees production of the chocolate, helps with the unique production methodology where a small amount of heart-healthy Manni Extra-Virgin Olive Oil infuses the bean-to-bar chocolate with its signature texture while boosting antioxidant properties.

Equal Exchange Fairly Traded Co-op

Cleveland, OH and other locations • equalexchange.coop

Since their start, Equal Exchange’s mission has been to empower small farmer co-ops that use sustainable agriculture. Using that same vision, they source the organic cocoa and sugar used in their chocolate bars directly from small farmer co-ops in Latin America. Each blissful bite is silky, smooth decadence.

Edmond Fallot’s Mustard Paradise

There are few condiments as tantalizing as mustard. I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t like it for that matter. Smothered on a brat with sauerkraut, slathered on pastrami and rye, incorporated into a sauce and drizzled on asparagus … its tangy flavor makes your nose tingle and taste buds want more.

Combine this innate human need for mustard with our love for French food and you can understand why we were so excited to visit the home of one of the world’s great mustard traditions in the fabled wine and gastronomy region of Burgundy, France. The address: La Moutarderie Edmond Fallot, in the town of Beaune. The charming Fallot Mustard factory is just a stone’s throw from the Hospices de Beaune where aficionados, collectors, and wine geeks from around the globe gather annually in November for the famous wine auction and festival.

I first got to know Marc Désarménien nearly 20 years ago at the International Fancy Food Show in New York. Ever since, we’ve carried his family’s mustard, and I’ve always been a huge fan. Marc’s grandfather, Edmond Fallot, bought this mustard factory in 1928, which had been established since 1840. I asked Marc if he came from a long line of Burgundians, and he quipped non with his definitive French accent.

He shared that Edmond grew up in an unremarkable town in the east part of France, but loved good food as a young man, so moved to Beaune for the simple reason that he wanted to eat well—my kind of guy!

Edmond moved to Beaune and began to work in the town’s little mustard factory in the 1920s. He eventually took over the business, made it his own, and prospered. Edmond’s son-in-law Roger took the reins right after WWII and Edmond’s grandson Marc has headed up the firm since 1994.

As we toured his sparkling clean factory and tasted some extraordinary mustard, Marc and his colleague Caroline explained some amazing facts about mustard. While Dijon is capital of France’s famous Burgundy region and the namesake of the famous mustard, “Dijon mustard” today simply refers to a recipe. Interestingly, most of the world’s mustard seeds come from Canada and the U.S.

Dijon mustard indeed was created in the city bearing its name. Legend has it that Jean Naigeon replaced the usual ingredient of vinegar in the recipe with verjuice, the acidic juice of unripe grapes, which was a plentiful and inexpensive (at the time) leftover from the wine harvest. The use of verjuice gave the mustard a better flavor. Although verjuice is ideal as a liquid base for mustard, many Dijon mustards today, however, are made with inexpensive vinegar.

With a nod to tradition, Marc is resurrecting the glory days of Burgundian mustard by using French grown mustard seeds and white wine from Burgundy in his Burgundy Mustard IGP (IGP translates as Protected Geographical Indication). This is the single most balanced and pleasurable taste of mustard I’ve ever had!

Speaking of taste, the varieties of Fallot mustard will never leave you wanting. At the tasting room, you’ll see a wall covered with photos of many of France’s great chefs, both upcoming and famous. Mark has collaborated with many of them to create pairings and flavors of his mustards.

Try our Chicken Fricassee recipe featuring Edmond Fallot Tarragon Dijon Mustard!

We have chosen several including my favorites the Burgundy IGP, Tarragon, and Blackcurrant. My wife, who is a great cook, also loves the Walnut and standard Dijon. She incorporates these mustards in vinaigrettes, sauces, and other ways several times a week … and I’m a happy consumer of these sublime flavors! For good eating at home these cold winter months, make Edmond Fallot Mustards a regular feature at your table.

 

HONEY & BALSAMIC. A hit on Heavenly Ham®!

BURGUNDY IGP. The king of them all! Try this with any recipe calling for mustard.

WALNUT. Serve on winter meats, such as lamb shanks, roasts, and prime rib.

BLACKCURRANT. Excellent with duck, especialy pan-seared duck breast.

BASIL. Use a teaspoon in a vinaigrette for a Caprese salad or tossed with sliced ripe tomatoes.

TARRAGON. Perfect accompaniment to DLM Chicken Thighs.

DIJON. Superb on a DLM Baguette with French ham and butter.

GREEN PEPPERCORN. Try glazed on duBreton pork loin.

PROVENÇAL. Brush liberally on salmon just as you finish grilling.

 

Feast like a Gourmand with Duck

Looking for an alternative to everyday protein choices? Let’s talk about duck. When I was a kid, my only experience with duck was a whole roasted one that was usually greasy, overcooked, and drowned in overly sweet orange or cherry sauce. Did you have the same?

My experience and attitude changed when I first tasted Pekin duck in Chinatown as a teenager. I couldn’t get enough of it and then promptly fell in love with hoisin sauce. Fast forward to the 70s and 80s when duck was suddenly everywhere—from California-style pizzas to amazing chopped salads.

At DLM, we carry Culver Duck from Middlebury, IN. Their ducks are antibiotic free, sustainably raised, fed a vegetarian diet, and are free roaming. We like their strict standards as the quality really shines through in the flavor.

What has changed since my early experiences with duck is how easy it is now for the home cook to actually prepare it without having to roast the whole thing and smoke up the house. We carry smoked and fully cooked breasts along with legs and whole or half birds. So whether it’s the main dish, tossed in a salad, or carved tableside, branch out a little bit and taste how good duck can be.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

  • Try smoked duck breast sliced thin on your next charcuterie platter. A boneless breast can cook up in 15 minutes or so and is simply delicious. As an added bonus, that skin gets so darn crispy it’s almost addicting!
  • I’d be remiss if I didn’t brag about the recipe-ready duck confit. It’s wicked good and so much time is saved by getting it already perfectly cooked. Heat in a hot pan and voilà, so much flavor.
  • Try shredding a little duck confit over a winter salad or stir into a bubbling pot of lentils or beans for added depth of flavor.

Get Our Duck & Wild Rice Salad Recipe Here!

Bring on the Bacon at BaconFest

Sure, there’s the tantalizing aroma of bacon cooking that draws bacon-lovers from near and far. When we think of bacon here at DLM, our senses are not only awakened, but our minds start to swirl with all of the bacon-licious possibilities. With that said, at BaconFest, happening 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 26 & 27, at all DLM locations, Happiness is Bacon … Lots of Bacon. And we’re not holding back at this year’s BaconFest.

At BaconFest, we’ll be sizzling with bacon (DLM Uncured Bacon, which of course is nitrate and nitrite free) at every turn. You’ll find products we carry and foods we make that will be bursting with bacon. Look for favorites like our Bakery’s Bourbon-Salted Chocolate Bacon and Bacon Cheddar Pull-Apart Bread; the Meat department’s When Pigs Fly, a poblano pepper stuffed with smoked pork, Bacon-Wrapped Beef Tenderloin, DLM Cheddar Bacon Gourmet Burgers, and specialty items, like Glier’s Bacon Goetta; and the Deli’s Crunchy Bacon Coleslaw and Pine Club Pasta Salad. Also during BaconFest, you can add bacon for free to any order from the Sandwich Station, Jack’s Grill, or our Naples-Style Pizza oven!

Thirsty? Head on over to our Wine & Beer department as we’ll be teaming up with Crooked Handle Brewing to offer a Dig the Pig Bacon Beer they’ve developed for DLM. We’re also excited to have representatives from Flying Pig Marathon visiting during select times at BaconFest alongside coffee roaster Rooted Grounds. They’ll be featuring the Pig Roast, a whole bean coffee with $1 from each Rooted Grounds Pig Roast benefiting the Flying Pig Charities. As you can see, bacon knows no limits!

8 Ways to Bite Into Our Citrus Celebration

CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES, COME ON! Crank up the vitamin C volume and vivid colors—come celebrate citrus with us this January! We consider ourselves so lucky to be able to flood our stores with the beauty of all the colorful citrus we bring in this time of year. We have some of the freshest flavors from jumbo navels to Texas red grapefruit. We love how all the varieties of citrus are bursting with colors and will bring wonderful flavor as well as provide many health benefits during these cold winter months. Here are eight ways to bite into our Citrus Celebration (and don’t hesitate to enjoy some of the many citrus samples and recipes we’ll be featuring).

1. NAVEL ORANGES. These are the sweetest you can find, providing ample amounts of vitamin C for an added bonus!

2. CARA CARA PINK NAVELS. Among some of the prettiest citrus, these have a pink flesh and extremely sweet taste.

3. BLOOD ORANGES With an unmistakable deep red flesh and dangerously sweet taste, you won’t be able to resist! Both this variety and the Cara Cara are great low-acid options with the same healthful benefits as a Navel orange. To really unleash the flavor of a blood orange, try the Sicilian Citrus Salad recipe.

4. DLM FRESHLY SQUEEZED ORANGE JUICE. It’s made from the juiciest Valencia oranges and is made fresh in our Produce departments. We love it because it is extremely smooth to taste and is ultra fresh. We will also treat you with Cara Cara and Blood Orange Juice throughout this celebration, which is a true treat.

5. SWEET SCARLETTS TEXAS RED GRAPEFRUIT. These are the most colorful of all ruby grapefruits. These luscious grapefruits are grown in Texas where the hot sunny days and cool nights help these Texas reds become as sweet as can be.

6. PUMELO. This is a very large citrus that’s similar to grapefruit. It’s a Vietnamese staple and used in many dishes. Health benefits include boosting immunity (thanks to that vitamin C), improving digestion, and lowering blood pressure.

7. SPANISH CLEMENTINES. These sweet and easy-to-peel treats are a wonderful option for a great breakfast or snack option.


8. SUMO CITRUS. Coming later this month! First developed in Japan, these are now grown on family farms in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Loaded with vitamin C, these will sure to be the citrus star! It sets itself ahead of the pack in popularity due to its easy peel and low acid levels. Because it’s low in acidity, it’s a great option for those with a sensitive stomach.


Looking to add some citrus zing to make you sing? Try this Sicilian Citrus Salad recipe.

5 Festive Holiday Breakfast Recipes

As you settle in to enjoy a little time off amid the holidays, here are 5 holiday breakfast recipes to keep you warm and toasty with you and yours. For something you can prepare the night before but bake in the morning, the Red & Green Italian Strata is just the ticket for a make-ahead dish. We love the Mini Bacon & Frittatas if you are looking for something to add to a holiday brunch that you are attending. And if you are craving something perfectly sweet, well, keep scrolling for the most festive French Toast and Extra Gooey Homemade Cinnamon Rolls.

1. Egg Nog French Toast

2. Extra Gooey Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

3. Mini Bacon & Potato Frittatas

4. Red & Green Italian Strata

5. DLM Signature Omelet

Tiny Bubbles

Occasions to break out the sparkling wine evoke much anticipation and result in special memories for many people, whether celebrating a special anniversary, a new beginning, or a toast at a holiday gathering. “Bubbles” are a happy beverage and they pair beautifully with darn near any dish! We believe that all sparkling wine in any number of varying styles and originating regions can be a magical addition to any meal or event. Here are a few of our favorites!

Laurent-Perrier

A great value, this is from the historic city of Reims, France. Dry and elegant with a nose of bread dough yeast and a long finish.

Schramsberg Brut Rosé

Long the standard bearer of super well-made American bubbly, this is the consummate apéritif. Dry with wonderful strawberry and apricot notes; pairs well with smoked salmon dishes.

Dr. L Riesling

Yes, sparkling Riesling!  A bright, clean sparkling wine that is ultra-charming and super affordable!

Veuve Clicquot Rosé

A French favorite, this is a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and a touch of Chardonnay creating a fruity, full-bodied expression of the Veuve Clicquot style and perfect with an oyster platter.

La Marca Prosecco

An Italian sparkling wine that is quite dry and refreshing with dried apple, honeysuckle, and peach fruits.

Gruet Brut

Made in the French-style with a hint of dough mid-palate, this New Mexico favorite is crisp and sophisticated with apple and citrus flavor.

PEARfection: 10 Reasons to Love The Holiday Pear

“Try this one,” said Michael Naumes, as he tossed me a Comice pear. “You’re gonna need a towel,” he said as I take my first bite. My first meeting with the Naumes family a few years back started just like that. We were on a search for the juiciest, sweetest, most luscious pear we could find. And that journey took me to their orchard where I found the Naumes family’s Holiday Pear, also known as the Comice pear.

We had heard rumors that there was a family in Rogue Valley, Oregon, that grew the best Comice pears and the rumors certainly were true. After that first bite, I knew we had come to the right place. We started offering these pears to our customers a few years ago and we’re excited to report that they’re back, just in time for your holiday entertaining and gifting.

Just try a sample in the store and you will be hooked. They truly are the sweetest, juiciest pears around. Look for displays in the stores along with perfectly packed gift boxes sure to impress your most difficult to please relative.

Along with being the sweetest, creamiest, most luscious pear around, the Comice pear, also know as the Holiday Pear, is quite the intriguing fruit. Here are 10 things to know about The Holiday Pear:

  1. The grading and picking process for the Naumes’ family’s Holiday Pear is tedious, but for good reason. Only 1 out of 20 pears will make this grade.
  2. The Holiday Pear received its name because they are in peak season during the holiday months.
  3. The Doyenné du Comice, as it’s known in France, was first grown near Angers in the mid-1800s.
  4. The climate in the Rogue Valley leads to perfect growing conditions of this extremely sensitive pear, making the Naumes family’s orchards true “pearfection”.
  5. The shape of the Holiday Pear is truly unique, featuring a rotund body and a short neck.
  6. As the Holiday Pear ripens, the areas of green skin color will turn a yellow hue. The rule of thumb is to check the neck for ripeness by applying gentle pressure to it with your thumb. If it gives slightly, it’s ready! Once ripeness is determined, you can refrigerate it if you want to extend that peak taste for a few days.
  7. Savor this luscious pear as an appetizer by smearing baked brie on slices of a DLM French Baguette and topping it with slices of the Holiday Pear.
  8. It’s a great addition to a cheese plate with brie, Manchego, or a Gorgonzola, like Rogue River Blue Cheese or Dolce Gorgonzola and pairing that with Marsala, Sauternes, Riesling, or Champagne.
  9. Slice it onto a salad made with mesclun spring mix or arugula, caramelized pecans, pomegranate seeds, and a blue cheese. Toss with a simple vinaigrette.
  10. The Holiday Pear makes for a wonderful dessert. Take a few scoops of DLM Madagascar Vanilla Gelato, sprinkle with cut pears, and drizzle with a warmed DLM 100% Pure Maple Syrup.

4 Chocolate Bark Recipes To Gift This Season

‘Tis the season to create something sweet for those you love! One of our favorite things about Chocolate Bark is that not only is delicious to have on hand for your festive gatherings, but it’s a great gift idea if you are looking to add a homemade touch. So, without further ado, here are four chocolate bark recipes to keep you and yours holly jolly this season!

 

Minty White Chocolate Bark

Ingredients needed: White chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, peppermint extract, green food coloring.

Almond + Sea Salt Chocolate Bark

Ingredients needed: Dark chocolate, slivered almonds, shredded unsweetened coconut, sea salt.

Pistachio + Dried Cranberry Chocolate Bark

Ingredients needed: bittersweet chocolate, pistachios, dried cranberries, orange zest.

Dried Fruit + Walnut Chocolate Bark

Ingredients needed: Bittersweet chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, walnuts, dried apricots, dried cherries, golden raisins.