© American Licorice Company
New Natural Vines
A worthy addition to the candy aisle: In May, the American Licorice Company
, better known as the maker of Red Vines, will release a new Natural Vines
line of licorice that's pretty terrific. Both the black licorice and strawberry variety, which come in one-inch twists, have great bright flavor and perfect chewy-yet-soft texture, and come in conveniently resealable bags. Best of all, they both use entirely recognizable, genuinely natural ingredients like molasses and wheat flour—there's nary a guar gum or carrageenan or even high fructose corn syrup to be found.
© Kate Heddings
Colossal red velvet cupcake from Crumbs.
I don't think anything makes me as happy as baked sweets—give me a brownie, blondie or cupcake and I'll be your new best friend. So I don't know what could possibly make my day more than the new Colossal Crumb—a gigantic sugar-lover's dream cupcake from Crumbs . It's four pounds, six-and-half inches tall and six-and-a-half inches wide. It comes in a variety of Crumbs' awesome flavors, like Peanut Butter Cup, Devil's Food, Vanilla Coconut, Red Velvet, and my personal favorite: Squiggle (a.k.a the Hostess cupcake). At $35 per, er, cake, it's not cheap, but it's supposed to feed up to eight people. Until you go out and splurge on this insane treat, try some of my all-time favorite F&W cupcakes:
Devil's Food Cupcakes with Espresso Meringue
Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes
Double Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Filling
Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Filling
© Con Poulos
Rice Pudding with Poached Rhubarb
Tomorrow is the first official day of spring and Tom Colicchio is all a-Twitter about ramps
. “It’s spring in NY bring on the ramps,” he Tweeted yesterday. He’s not the only chef excited about spring ingredients: At a recent benefit event for C-CAP
, Shaun Hergatt
from SHO Shaun Hergatt
told me that he can't wait to cook with spring peas and is planning to serve them with sous-vide lamb; Craig Koketsu
of the seasonally-driven restaurant Park Avenue Spring
is impatiently anticipating rhubarb.
Here are a few recipes for ramps, spring peas and rhubarb to help kick off the season. Plus, check out these 100+ recipes in F&W’s Guide to Fresh Spring Produce
:White Cheese Pizza with RampsSpring Peas with Mint Rice Pudding with Poached Rhubarb
© Courtesy of Sugar Buzz
Park City's Sugar Buzz
Last month, I spent a long weekend in Park City, Utah, hitting the slopes and checking out the emerging food scene we highlighted in our February travel story
. One of my favorite finds was the adorable retro-chic candy shop Sugar Buzz
, which opened about a year ago, just off of Main Street. The walls are lined with a dizzying assortment of glass candy jars, showcasing everything from licorice to lollipops to dark chocolates to caramels. I loaded up a paper sack with my nostalgic favorite, German raspberries, but also couldn't resist the red velvet cookies, topped with cream-cheese frosting, that were at the bakery by the register. I skipped the Illy espresso this time around but will surely pick one up the next time I am in town.
Mandarin Oriental New York has been in the news this week because of some of their guests (Robert Pattinson gave the hotel a big shout-out on The Daily Show). But at F&W we’re most excited about their brand-new Mad Hatter tea offered every afternoon until the end of April, in celebration of the opening-on-Friday film Alice in Wonderland by Tim Burton. Served in the lobby lounge way up on the 35th floor, the adorable tea includes Tweedle tea sandwiches, like smoked salmon with Meyer-lemon-caper mousse; Tweedle crumb desserts, like the Queen of Hearts linzer tarts; an excellent assortment of candy (plus handy little to-go boxes); and, of course, "Drink Me" teas. So far, there’s no confirmation on whether the movie’s stars will have a fun pre-party there, but Alice (i.e., the actress Mia Wasikowska) has been spotted in the hotel—perhaps they’ll let her have the Cheshire Catcakes for breakfast.
On the other hand, if you choose to host your own Mad Hatter tea party, F&W has assembled our favorite tea-party recipes, from delicate radish-lemon-butter sandwiches to ginger brandy snaps.
© Magenta Livengood
Whoopie pies from B. Hall Baker
For anyone looking for a sweet worth mail-ordering for Valentine’s Day, or any day, B.Hall Baker
’s new mini whoopie pies are now available online. Washington, DC-based Beryl Hall, a former Hill staffer, keeps the calories low by keeping the pies small (she bakes them in madeleine
molds). She gives her red velvet pies a rich tang (and a vibrant red color) with raspberry juice, raspberry extract and powdered raspberries from France. “Whoopie pies are a Yankee thing, but I’m trying to make them Southern,” the San Antonio native says, so this spring she’ll release coconut-cake and bananas Foster versions.
© Ross Todd
Dulce de leche ice cream at Freddo
My body might be back from my trip to Argentina, but my stomach is still firmly in South America. My friends and I had the requisite beef and Malbec (more on that later), but we also regularly indulged in dulce de leche
, which I am still craving. In Buenos Aires we got our fix at the heladerías
(ice cream shops), the best of which was Freddo
. The shop has locations throughout the city, and their menu has a separate section just for dulce de leche flavors. (My kind of place.) But my favorite vehicle for the milky caramel was alfajores
, a traditional South American sandwich cookie with dulce de leche filling. The best ones we had came from our hotel in Patagonia, Edenia
. Opened in 2007, the modern, minimalist hotel is located away from the touristy bustle of downtown Calafate and has panoramic views of Lago Argentino. Its alfajores
were crispier and less cakey than the ones in Buenos Aires, and I only wish I had packed some to bring home.
© The Berkeley
Haute-cookies at the Berkeley hotel in London.
I’ll be blogging this week about discoveries from my recent eight-day trip to London. The city was buzzing with pop-up restaurant/design projects, ambitious new hotels and hip new British comfort food joints. One of my favorite finds was at the Berkeley hotel, which just introduced the fall/winter collection of its super-popular Prêt-à-Portea (the menu changes every six months to reflect the new fashion season). This haute-couture-inspired tea service features edible designs inspired by Christian Lacroix, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior. Adorable confections include a Roger Vivier chocolate boot cookie, a Mulberry "Bayswater" white-chocolate-and-coconut-truffle "it" bag and a cinnamon Burberry Prorsum trench-coat cookie with a caramel belt and buttons. All are served on Paul Smith china alongside a proper cup of English tea.
© Ellen Silverman
Michael Anthony is a good source for grown up candy.
To end my week of candy obsession
, here are a few people and situations deserving of special recognition.Most Candy-Obsessed Chef
. I’m not sure that he eats more candy than I do, but his list of favorites is prodigious. They are, in no order: M&M Peanuts, Planters Peanut Bar, Hershey Almond Bar, Snickers (frozen), Hershey Almond Kisses, Twix, Butterfinger, Almond Joy, Reeses Peanut Butter Cup.
Most Unexpected Trick-or-Treat Spot
—Soho House New York
. Chef Neil Ferguson
reports that last year some 200 kids came through the restaurant—on the 6th floor of a private club. In the course of offering up all that candy, Ferguson got addicted to Sour Patch Kids. ("If you have a tough day, you can bite their heads off and not feel bad about it," he says.) My question: How did the kids get past the doorman?Best Candy for Parents
’s Michael Anthony
handed out GT's chocolate-covered pumpkin toffee.