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Food Explorer Pleasures of Le Picnic

Sharing good food in the great outdoors—one of life’s most idyllic moments. It’s a beautiful concept shared by people everywhere, from a Hawaiian luau at sunset to an afternoon New England garden party. Now is the time to rediscover this most beautiful tradition!

FRENCH ORIGINS

Particularly in France, picnicking is the fabric of summer pastimes. I once wrongly assumed they borrowed the word from us, you know, as they did in “Le week-end.” Rather, it seems we adopted our English word “picnic” from the French “piquenique,” referenced as “a picking or nibbling of bits.” The etymology is fun, but the eating is even better! A French picnic is elegant, tasty, and beautifully simple.

The French have always loved to eat outside. Over a century ago, Renoir captured the joy and camaraderie of it all in his famous painting Dance at the Moulin de la Galette. Do a search for images of “Paris picnic” and you’ll see that outdoor gastronomy remains alive and well in French culture. If you do find yourself in Paris and are in the mood for creating your own fête en plein air, there are numerous venues to choose from. To start, head to the 7th district street market on La Rue Cler for baguettes, cheese, charcuterie, wine, and other provisions. A fifteen-minute walk in one direction is the large grassy field at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, the Champs de Mars. Or, even closer in the opposite direction is another sprawling lawn framing Napoleon’s tomb at Les Invalides.

LOCAL ADVENTURES

Pending a trip to Paris … why not kick off a great summer with a picnic at one of our area’s appealing venues? We did just that at John Bryan State Park recently on a particularly pristine Sunday. We took a little hike to work up the appetite, and rewarded ourselves with crusty bread, cheese, fresh fruit, and charcuterie.

Indeed, French food in particular is so well suited for picnics, including ones here in southwest Ohio. The basic elements are bread, cheese, charcuterie, fruits, crudités, and summer beverages

PLAN YOUR FEAST

Bread is obvious. We love our DLM Artisan French Baguettes for picnics, as well as its little sibling, the thinner, salted Ficelle. For heartier sandwiches, grab a loaf of Miche, which is our take on France’s hearty, crusty sourdough bread.

Fromage? Oui! Start with a soft-ripened cheese, such as Fromager d’Affinois or the iconic Brie de Meaux, add a nutty Comté Gruyère from the French Alps, and finish your cheese plate with the famous funky blue, Le Papillon Roquefort. Charcuterie includes sliced cured meats from Madrange ham and Three Little Pigs Saucisson Sec to pâté of all sorts … truffle mousse, duck rillettes, and chicken liver.

Stone fruits and strawberries are now in season, and they are perfect for a picnic. It’s always nice to cut them into quarters and serve alongside the cheeses. As for crudités (veggies) such as carrots, celery, broccoli, asparagus, and cucumbers, they are good raw, but even better blanched. Immerse for just a few minutes in salted boiling water, and then transfer to ice water for a minute to stop the cooking. Rinse and dry before packing in your picnic basket, and bring some of our Deli’s homemade dips.

For beverages, we have everything from our refreshing DLM Natural Spring Water to Lorina’s French lemonade (mix lemonade equally with a lager to make a French summer favorite called panaché) to abundant choices of wines for summer. Voilà … let’s go on a pique-nique!

Welcome Summer With French Wines

Early summer is a perfect time for dining al fresco in the Miami Valley, so let’s take a cue from the French and practice picnicking in style with some refreshing French wines! From every corner of this country comes a gastronomical wonder that just simply delights the senses and makes time in the fresh outdoors with good company that much better. Whether you’re slathering some Isigny Ste-Mère Butter on a DLM Artisan French Baguette or enjoying a bit of pâté with a cornichon, you must have a beverage to amplify the senses on the palate.

Speaking of the perfect beverage, National Rosé Day just happens to be June 12! For the ultimate safe poolside or picnic basket friendly pick, there is French Pool Toy, a wonderfully dry and flavorful rosé that’s in a recycled plastic bottle … no glass to break! Keep reading for some other wonderful food friendly yet simply pleasing wines.

LE GRAND BOUQUETEAU CHINON ROSÉ
A pink wine from the Loire Valley that is simply stunning! ($17)

CHÂTEAU DE CAMPUGET COSTIÈRES-DU-NÎMES
From the southwest region of France, this dry wine was one of our favorites on a visit, featuring an abundance of fresh berry fruit and a floral bouquet! ($13, save $2)

CLARENDELLE BORDEAUX ROSÉ
A rare rosé from the prestigious region of Bordeaux, this wine is actually sourced from its owner, the famous Château Haut-Brion! ($15, save $5)

DOMAINE DE PAJOT LES 4 CÉPAGES
This white from the South of France is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Colombard, Ugni Blanc, and Gros Manseng. Perfectly balanced, it’s crisp, clean, dry, and extremely friendly! ($11)

CLOS NORMAND BRUT CIDER
A delightful sparkling cider that’s dry, flavorful, and perfect with pâté and charcuterie. ($7)

LA MAXIMUS COTEAUX BOURGUIGNONS
From the southern edges of Burgundy, this red wine is a super-pleasing blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay. It’s very food friendly and does not have the heavy alcohol-laden tones of a bigger wine. ($10, save $5)

HOW TO MAKE PANACHÉ
Looking for a twist on your French lemonade? Mix half of Lorina Sparkling French Lemonade with Kronenbourg 1664 French Lager. Serve over ice for a refreshing summer drink!

The French Connection

You don’t have to look far once you step in our doors to get a taste of French cuisine. You see, like an artist paints when they are inspired, we never forget a good meal or glass of wine when we travel. That inspiration comes to life within Dorothy Lane Market in so many ways.

Take for instance our Miche Bread. In the fascinating world of French bread, if the baguette is a big city slicker, then the Miche is its soulful country cousin. The word derives from an old French word for ‘loaf’, and it’s the type of country sourdough that was once baked in large, stone communal ovens in France, but is now made famous by Parisian bakers. Our beloved Miche was inspired by our travels to the bakery-lined streets of Paris. We simply knew we must make our own so that you could enjoy it, too.

Properly crafted Miche such as ours is one of the world’s great sourdough breads, with a dark, chewy crust and complex, moist interior. The magic happens when the living dough marries the sweetness of wheat and backbone of rye. The sourdough taste is subtle, but enough to leave you craving more! It’s great products like our Miche that bring a taste of the world to your plate here at DLM.

More French cuisine favorites to explore at DLM!

SHOP FRENCH ITEMS THAT SHIP!

Pan Bagnat: A Picnic-Perfect Sandwich

Pan Bagnat is the iconic French make-ahead sandwich that’s perfect for outdoor eating. Think Salade Niçoise, but in sandwich form. We love making it on our DLM French Boule, but you also can build this luscious Provençal French-style sandwich on our DLM Artisan French Baguette or Ciabatta. From there, a good quality tuna packed in oil partners up with the flavors within, melding with the sliced egg, ripe tomato, olive tapenade, and slivered onion. The magic happens though when it’s made ahead of time, even overnight. Wrap it tightly before refrigerating so that all of the flavors can beautifully mingle to season the sandwich.

Get the Recipe!

PICNIC-PERFECT SIDE RECIPES

Complete your picnic with the perfect sides! Try our recipes for a French-Style Potato and Green Bean Salad and Celery Root Salad.

Claws Out for Lobstermania 2021

As we dive into exploring the great foods of New England, it all culminates to the king of the sea—Maine lobster! This anticipated catch will make its traditional splash at DLM for Lobstermania, May 29, as it does every year the Saturday before Memorial Day. Thousands of fresh lobsters make their way to us from the brisk waters of Maine from our lobstering friends at Ready Seafood for this annual tradition. Choose live and embark on a cooking adventure at home! Or, if you’d rather skip that part, well, that’s ok, as we’ll also have pre-cooked whole lobster available, too.

Get lobster cooking/reheating instructions here!

Remember that Lobstermania starts at 9 a.m. and once they’re gone, they’re gone! Here is how it works:

Step 1: Pre-pay for your lobster at any register in stores on Saturday, May 29, starting at 9 a.m. Live lobsters are $16 each and cooked lobsters are $19 each.
Step 2: After you pay inside, your cashier will hand you a lobster card to correlate with whether you are getting “live” or “cooked” whole lobster. Head outside to the Lobstermania outdoor station to get your Maine lobster.
Step 3: Present your Lobster Card at the Lobstermania station. We will fulfill your order!

 

An Annual Tradition

Each year for decades, folks have made a tradition out of Lobstermania, a much welcomed springtime feast!

Although we’ve always known that Lobstermania was special, these past few years have reminded us just how important and fun food traditions like this are in our lives. We also have been reminded how special friendships are, too, like ours with the folks at Ready Seafood in Maine. Not only are they all-around great people, but they catch with sustainability in mind to ensure lobster for many years to come. Although we will miss our lobstering friends this year at Lobstermania, we are grateful to continue featuring this bounty from the brisk waters of Maine!


HOW TO COOK LOBSTER

STEAM

  • In a large pot, bring 2 inches of salted water to a rolling boil over high heat.
  • Drop in the live lobsters. Leaving rubber bands on is optional, but safer.
  • Quickly cover and return to a boil.
  • When the pot starts steaming, cook for approximately 12 to 15 more minutes.

BOIL

  • Get a big pot and fill with fresh water about 2/3 full.
  • Add 1 to 2 Tbsp of salt per gallon of water. Bring to a boil and add lobsters.
  • Start the timer when the water comes back to a boil. You can figure 6-7 minutes for a 1.25-lb lobster, 7-9 minutes for 1.5-lb lobster, and 10-12 minutes for a 2-lb lobster.

*Remember, sometimes the lobster may be undercooked even if the shell is entirely red. Double check that the meat is a creamy white color with no translucent areas. Give a good tug on one of the antennae. If it pops off, the lobster is done. You can also insert an instant read thermometer into the underside of the tail. It should read 135-140°F.

HOW TO REHEAT LOBSTER

  • Wrap lobsters individually in foil. Place in a 350°F oven on a cooking sheet, belly up, and heat until warm. Or, place the foil-wrapped
    lobsters on the grill to warm.

HOW TO EXTRACT MEAT

Be sure to save the shells for stock!

FROM THE TAIL

  • Twist it off the body of the lobster and bend the tail fins upward until they snap. With your finger or a chopstick, push the tail meat out.
  • Similar to de-veining shrimp, make a shallow cut down the center top to expose the intestinal tract and remove it.

FROM THE KNUCKLE AND CLAWS

  • Twist off or cut with shear the knuckles and claws from the body in one piece. Separate the knuckles from the claws. Crack open the knuckles with the back of a chef’s knife or shears and remove meat.
  • Bend the small part of the claw up and down until it snaps. Gently pull away this small shell, leaving the meat inside still attached to the big part of the claw.
  • With shears or the back of a chef’s knife, crack open the claw and remove the meat in one piece. Make sure to remove the wide fin of cartilage from inside the claw meat.

Get Lobster-centric recipes here!

The Great Clam Chowder Debate

New Englanders take serious pride in their New England clam chowder, which you can easily find being slurped up at lobster shacks and roadside diners as well as top-rated restaurants. The famed cream-based soup has been around for a long time, being served in Boston in the early 1800s at the Union Oyster House (one of our country’s oldest continuously operating restaurants).

But the rivalry started when a Manhattan version was created in the 1930s that was tomato based. It caused such an uproar that in 1939, a bill was introduced in Maine to ban the use of tomatoes in clam chowder. It did not pass and has been an ongoing debate ever since.

clam chowder

The difference is visible—there’s no mistaking the two. Both are delicious and have the briny, sweet flavor of clams. The New England version tends to be richer and thicker whereas the Manhattan chowder is more vegetal with a lighter, more brothy base. I love that both styles can support my habit of using plenty of hot sauce and oyster crackers!

This month, our Seafood department will be making both New England and Manhattan Chowders (available in the hot soup well located by the Seafood department and in the soup grab ‘n go area). Come in and try our take on both styles of clam chowder. Then, we want to hear what you think! Take our Great Chowda Debate poll on our Facebook page.

Food Explorer New England Eats

EXPLORE NEW ENGLAND EATS

New Englanders have a fierce loyalty for their home towns and their patriotic history. Between the cordial quirkiness of the small towns, the buzz of big city Boston, old fishing ports, stunning architecture, plus the great outdoors—road tripping through New England is a must, especially as the beginning notes of summer are starting to play in May. We get it—miles and miles of gorgeous coastlines, picturesque lighthouses, quaint towns, and tons of outdoor activities. But let’s talk about the food—think succulent seafood from the land of lobster, as well as plump, briny oysters and clams for days. So many lobster and clam shacks, so little time! You’ll also find a plethora of local farmers’ markets (and Maine blueberries), renowned cheesemakers, breweries, and bakeries with whoopie pies piled high. What’s not to like? As we gear up for Lobstermania, May 29, we’ll be celebrating New England foods and recipes all month! So come get a taste of how delicious summer can be with these New England eats.

>Get our New England Eats checklist here!

Vermont Fromage Bliss

The U.S. is teeming with amazing cheesemakers from coast-to-coast who have been getting worldwide attention, as they’re making cheese that rivals the great fromage traditions of the “old world.” Many of us think of American cheese coming from the stalwarts on the coasts, such as Cypress Grove, Tillamook, and Laura Chenel to name a few. However, as we started to turn our taste buds toward the New England area, all things fromage seemed to bring us to Vermont!

Keep scrolling for Vermont Cheesemakers and picks to have on your radar! 

MODERN MAKERS MEET TRADITIONAL MAINSTAYS

Vermont is a state rich in agriculture, specifically dairy farming with a number of seasoned producers celebrating 100+ years of tradition. Then, there are newbies like the Kehler brothers of Jasper Hill Farm. Andy and Mateo Kehler bought the farm in the late 1990s with the goal of creating opportunities for Vermont’s working landscape with the concept of value-added agriculture … making milk into something more valuable before it leaves the farmer. They even take leftover whey from the cheese-making process and feed it to the Heritage breed pigs of Jasper Hill Farm Charcuterie. Having cheese aging caves below their barns helped them early on when their neighbors, Cabot Creamery, called needing aging space in these caves. You see, the Kehlers were making a name for themselves with clothbound Cheddars and European-style cheese that need space dedicated to cultivating natural rinds. In contrast, Cabot Creamery, a fantastic coop founded in 1919, had warehouses focused on keeping surface mold away from cheese!

FROMAGE TO LOOK FOR: Jasper Hill Farm Harbison (a soft-ripened cheese with a rustic, bloomy rind and wrapped in spruce cambium), Jasper Hill Farm Bayley Hazen Blue (made from the farm’s high quality whole raw milk, its dense texture has a toasted nut sweetness), Jasper Hill Farm Cabot Clothbound (produced in partnership with Cabot Creamery, these wheels are coated in lard and a layer of cloth to ripen and are constantly brushed, turned, and monitored), Cabot Smoky Bacon Cheddar is filled with crispy bacon bits and hickory smoke making it a super nibbler cheese.

WORLD-CLASS WONDERS

As you continue this cheese trek through this beautiful state, you’ll come to Vermont Creamery, started in 1984 by Allison Hooper and Bob Reese with the goal of making world-class products from goat’s milk. They exceeded their wildest expectations, and in addition to the many medals for their cheese, Allison is a James Beard Foundation winner. The Creamery, upon the founder’s retirement, continues under the ownership of the farmer owned cooperative, Land O’Lakes. Grafton Village Cheese Co. founded in the historic town of Grafton, Vermont, in 1892 is also world class! It started like many cooperatives of the time—by dairy farmers who needed to turn surplus milk into cheese in the days before refrigeration.

FROMAGE TO LOOK FOR: Grafton Village Cheese 1 Year Aged Cheddar (a classic New England Cheddar profile, comforting, lightly tangy, and rich), Vermont Creamery Bijou Goat Cheese Crottin (a stunning hand-shaped button cheese that’s perfect with Rosé), Vermont Creamery Coupole Aged Goat Cheese (aged goat’s milk cheese with a wrinkly, edible rind and a bright, fresh cheese taste).

Ship the New England Cheese Flight via shop.dorothylane.com to get a sampling of a variety of Vermont cheeses.

5 Mother’s Day Gifts That Ship

1. DAY AT THE SPA

Treat the mom in your life to a day at the spa right at home! This luxurious gift set includes everything needed to achieve total tranquility and relaxation: Rishi Lavender Mint Botanical Tea, DLM 100% Pure Honey, Zum Lavender Mist, DLM Lavender Bath Bomb and Lavender Bath Salt, and Savannah Bee Company’s Rosemary Lavender Royal Jelly Body Butter. $65 plus shipping.mother's day gift

 

2. BRUNCH ALL DAY WITH TEA GIFT SET

Make that quintessential Mother’s Day brunch memorable! Send mom all the essentials for a delightful brunch: DLM Quiche Lorraine, Bakewell Tart, DLM Raisin Walnut Bread, and Newby Earl Grey Black Tea (or choose the Brunch All Day with Coffee gift). $65 plus shipping.mother's day brunch

 

3. MOTHER’S DAY TEA SET

Give mom the gift of relaxation with this tea set that’ll be enjoyed for weeks to come! Featuring Tea Forte Green Tea Trio plus a lovely ceramic steeping cup and infuser. Mom will also love the Pré de Provence Private Collection Hand Cream, a luxurious lotion from France. $65 plus shipping.

mother's day tea set

 

4. BEST MOM EVER

We can never repay our moms for the sacrifices they make for us, but we can always say thank you and show our appreciation in small ways. Includes: From the Heart Gift Box with a 4-ct of Raspberry Killer Brownie®, Ghyslain Chocolatier Truffles (4-ct), and a Firefly candle tin to savor when all the chocolate is gone. $55 plus shipping.

mother's day

 

5. GHYSLAIN TURTLES: MAMA & BABIES

We love this beautiful mama with her baby turtles! The Mama Turtle comes with six hand-painted milk chocolate turtles, each color representing a different toasted gourmet nut delicately tucked into a shell filled with butter caramel. Walnut, Almond, Pistachio, Pecan, Macadamia, and Cashew. $35 plus shipping.

 

Discover more gifts for mom that ship here!

Parmigiano-Reggiano: The DLM Difference

There are many different types of Parmigiano-Reggiano marketed from plastic green containers to inexpensive tasteless renditions. But to taste a good Parmigiano-Reggiano is to taste a piece of Italian culinary culture. It carries with it a sense of place as it’s been made nearly the same way since the 12th century coming only from the regions of Modena, Parma, Reggio Emilia, and a small part each of Bologna and Mantova. The cows from which the milk comes from cannot be fed silage, only fresh grass, hay, or alfalfa, and only skim milk is used, reducing the fat content of the cheese. Ours is “extra,” meaning it’s aged longer than the typical Parmigiano. And the Minelli family, whom we’ve visited in the beautiful countryside just outside of Modena, produces just 14 wheels of this magnificent cheese per day! Of all the Parmigiano-Reggiano we’ve tasted over the years, this continues to be our favorite. Whether using on a cheese plate, in a soup or salad, or over pasta, it’s a great value as well!

Look for our Parmigiano-Reggiano in The DLM Cheese Shop or ship this staple via shop.dorothylane.com!

 

The 80 to 90-lb wheels of cheese designated as Parmigiano-Reggiano must only be made by approved producers. They are made using traditional methods that have been used for more than nine centuries.

We choose to have our Parmigiano-Reggiano aged for 24 months— longer than most. We think this has the best balance of flavor, texture, and aroma. The wheels are carefully aged in special rooms where they are cleaned and kept at specific temperatures and humidity.

For more than a decade, we’ve sourced our Parmigiano-Reggiano from brothers Valerio and Giovanni Minelli, and Giovanni’s son Carlo.

Parmigiano-Reggiano is named after the provinces Parma and Reggio Emilia. Just outside of Modena, Italy, are the rolling hills where the Minelli family’s cows quietly graze.

This cheese is made using unpasteurized cow’s milk. When we traveled to Italy,
Giovanni took us to where the cows graze and remarked “Look into their eyes. They are happy.” These words have stuck with us.

As the cheese ages, peptones, peptides, and free amino acids form. When these crystallize, they give Parmigiano-Reggiano its distinctive, slightly crunchy texture, as well as making it a healthy, easy-to-digest food.

After aging for one year, professional cheese testers from the Parmigiano-Reggiano Consortium scrutinize each wheel for maturation, aroma, color, consistency, and internal structure. After passing inspection, the wheel is branded with the Consortium’s symbol and finishes aging.

Try our recipe for Oven-Roasted Zucchini Parmigiano-Reggiano!