Category Archives: New Products

Three Great Reads For the Lunar New Year

“Invitation to A Banquet: The Story of Chinese Food”

Settle into your favorite chair and prepare to get hungry as you immerse yourself in “Invitation to A Banquet: The Story of Chinese Food” (W.W. Norton & Co., 2023).

London-based Fuchsia Dunlop has long been one of my favorite writers — and speakers. The first Westerner to train as a chef at the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine, she is fluent in speaking, writing, and reading Chinese. Her knowledge of the foods of every region in China is bar none.

In her newest book, of which I received a review copy, the four-time James Beard Award-winning cookbook author explores the historical, philosophical, and technical aspects of the vast range of Chinese food by presenting a literary banquet of 30 dishes. Each chapter hones in on one particular regional dish, serving up not only its origins and the importance of its ingredients, but the food producers, farmers, chefs, and home cooks who have put their indelible stamp on it.

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Sensational Sips, Part I

A pretty-in-pink gin.
A pretty-in-pink gin.

Malfy Gin Rosa

Have you ever spied a pink gin before? Me, either. At least not before receiving a sample bottle of Malfy Gin Rosa, an Italian gin that’s tinged a very pale pink from grapefruit.

Inspired by the Amalfi Coast, this gin gets a subtle citrus and bitter pith edge from Sicilian pink grapefruit, along with lemon. Juniper berries add characteristic pine and almost anise-like notes without veering into medicinal-tasting territory.

Just know, though, that because the color is so light, it won’t be visible once you add any kind of mixer.

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Get Ready For the Wackiest Chocolates Yet

You have to taste these TCHO chocolates to believe them.
You have to taste these TCHO chocolates to believe them.

Imagine chocolates that taste exactly like Doritos dipped in queso.

Is your mind reeling yet?

Mine certainly was when I popped a sample of the new limited-edition TCHO Natchos into my mouth.

Yes, just in time for the Super Bowl, the zany minds at Berkeley’s bean-to-bar maker have outdone themselves with this latest creation.

Chief Chocolate Maker Brad Kintzer is a Philadelphia Eagles fan (don’t hold that against him), who started playing around with crafting a nacho-flavored chocolate bar in 2018 when his beloved team competed in (and won) the Super Bowl.

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Aperture — (E)State of the Art

The 2022 Aperture Chenin Blanc. (photo by Carolyn Jung)
The 2022 Aperture Chenin Blanc. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

At Aperture Estate in Healdsburg, discover art all around — from what’s in the bottle, to what’s adorning the walls, to where visitors sip these beautiful Bordeaux-style wines.

After all, winemaker and founder Jesse Katz is the son of famed photographer Andy Katz, whose photos have graced the album covers of the Doobie Brothers and Dan Fogelberg, and who has published 15 photo books.

Andy Katz’s work has brought him to more than 90 countries. And it was on many of those travels with his father, especially to France, that inspired Jesse Katz’s passion for wine-making.

The sleek building that houses the tasting room. (photo courtesy of Aperture Estate)
The sleek building that houses the tasting room. (Photo courtesy of Aperture Estate)

In fact, the winery takes its name from the aperture of a camera lens, which controls the amount of light that hits the camera sensor that affects the exposure of the image. In that vein, Jesse Katz likens what he does to “shedding light” on what Bordeaux varieties grown in its 120 acres of estate vineyards in cooler areas of Sonoma can be like.

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Zingerman’s Gingerbread Coffee Cake

The ultimate gingerbread cake.
The ultimate gingerbread cake.

It may be called “Gingerbread Coffee Cake,” but it boasts no mountain of crunchy streusel on top like you might imagine.

Instead, this coffee cake actually has brewed coffee in it.

Along with a bountiful array of invigorating spices.

So much so, you won’t even miss the absence of a crumb topping.

This cake is so extraordinary that when Zingerman’s Bakery made the decision not to include it in its first cookbook, “Zingerman’s Bakehouse” (Chronicle Books, 2017), regulars were aghast.

Fortunately, the beloved 30-year-oled, Ann Arbor, MI bakery rectified that omission by featuring it in its newest cookbook, “Zingerman’s Bakehouse’s Celebrate Every Day” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy.

The book is a collaborative project by the team at Zingerman’s that includes managing partner Amy Emberling, marketer Lindsay-Jean Hard, editor Lee Vedder, and marketing manager and food photographer Corynn Coscia.

The idea for this cookbook grew out of the pandemic, when people were eating out less, and desiring to cook and bake more at home. The Zingerman’s staff used that time to write down more of its best-loved recipes to share.

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