Sweets for Your Sweetie

HOW DO I LOVE THEE? LET ME COUNT THE CHOCOLATE-Y WAYS.

Brooklyn bakers and chocolate makers are busy dreaming up all sorts of delights for Valentine’s Day. Here’s just a sampling.

Nunu-chocolates-salt-caramels

Nunu-heart-lollipopNunu Chocolates will package its salt caramels (above) in a heart-shaped box (6 pieces/$14, 12/$24). They are  hand-dipped in dark chocolate with a dusting of fleur de sel on top—I personally find them irresistible any time of year. Or how about giving all your beloveds a heart-shaped dark chocolate lollipop for just $2 a pop?
529 Atlantic Ave., Boerum Hill
917-776-7102

Mast Brothers Chocolate will have Valentine’s truffles and bon bons in its case.

Mast-Bros-Counter

250-MastBrothersValentinesCakeAnd they’re baking an over-the-top Valentine’s Day treat: a chocolate caramel layered cake with King’s County Distillery bourbon, buttercream filling and shaved chocolate on top. Call to reserve your cake; it is available for store pick-up only.
111 North 3rd Street, Williamsburg
718-388-2644

val-heart-cookiesBetty Bakery has hearts galore to choose from: a floral-embossed Victorian Heart—an orange-coffee cookie dipped in white chocolate, a Linzer Heart— sandwiched with raspberry jam, of course, and an Iced Sable Heart—hand-decorated in shades of pink, red and white ($3.95). But wait, there are small heart cookies by the pound ($32) and heart cakes, as well: the Romantic Quilled Heart Cake is an iced chocolate cake with raspberry buttercream, the Giddy Heart Cake is a yellow butter cake with fudgy chocolate ganache, iced in red rolled fondant …All this is making me feel a bit giddy myself. How about a chocolate dipped strawberry ($1.95) as a palate cleanser?
448 Atlantic Avenue, Boerum Hill
718-246-2402

FanyBrownieRobicellisRobicelli’s is offering a special dozen cupcakes in Valentine’s Day flavors—Strawberry Champagne, The Eve (walnut cake with pomegranate cheesecake buttercream), The Ebinger (chocolate, chocolate, chocolate), Creme Brulée—with a personalized card, ribbon wrapping and delivery ($50).Or how about a 4-pack or 12-pack of Robicelli’s Fany Brownies—named after Fany Gerson, aka La Newyorkina, whose kitchen and expensive equipment to make her Mexican ice pops were destroyed by Sandy. Robicelli’s dark chocolate brownie base is “spiked with Mexican cinnamon, swirled with sweet sexy cajeta.” A portion of the profits will go to La Newyorkina. Order cupcakes and brownies by 2 pm Tuesday, February 12, for hand delivery.
Bay Ridge, 917-509-6048
info@robicellis.com

The Owl’s Head / Wine Bar in Bay Ridge is hosting a pop-up dessert event with Robicelli’s on Valentine’s Day. You’ll need to make reservations— call 718-680-2436—for one of two limited reserved seatings: 7 pm  and 9:45 pm. An advance reservation for two people includes three shared Robicelli’s dessert courses and 4 oz drink pairings for each person for $75 (not including tax and tip). Just look at this menu…

First Course: Pear MascarponeTheOwlsHeadWineBar
Mascarpone panna cotta, roasted pear compote, spiced pear chip
Served with: German Gilabert Zero Dosage Cava Brut Nature 2011

Second Course: The Noah
Apple galette, goat cheese mousse, roasted candied bacon, bourbon brown sugar sauce
Served with: Niepoort 2001 Colheita Port

Third Course: Car Bomb
Jameson whiskey, Bailey’s Irish Cream & Guinness stout opera cake, Guinness beer nut praline
Served with: Sixpoint 3beans über-porter

No reservations, no problem. Walk-ins are always welcome for drinks and bites. There should even be some desserts available à la carte. Lovers and lonelyhearts, go have some fun!

The Owl’s Head / Wine Bar
479 74th Street, Bay Ridge
718-680-2436

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn for the 2nd weekend of February

caption will go here Aric Snee

Under construction: UrbanGlass’s renovation and expansion in the
1918 Strand Theater on Fulton Street is as fascinating as their exhibits.
Above, A Fuller Translation, by Aric Snee, M.F.A., Alfred University, blown glass.

Thursday Feb. 7 Opening reception for UrbanGlass M.F.A. Exhibition Competition, a juried show of recent M.F.A. graduates from glass programs across the country. Four emerging glass artists, Alli Hoag, Benjamin Johnson, Jessi A. Moore and Aric Snee, are showing work at gallery space 111 Front Street in DUMBO. Tonight’s reception is from 6pm-9pm, and the show runs through March 1. At the conclusion of this exhibition, one of the four will be selected for a solo exhibition at the UrbanGlass gallery. Founded in 1977, UrbanGlass is dedicated to aspiring and established artists wishing to create with glass as a creative medium. Their permanent home is undergoing an extensive renovation and expansion as part of a multi-million dollar investment in the 1918-built Strand Theater by the City of New York and the Borough of Brooklyn. The finished building, a LEED Silver facility, will be a cornerstone of the Brooklyn Cultural District. Meanwhile, classes, studio space and other programming is being offered in temporary space in the Gowanus area.

Deadline alerts
Art House co-founders Steven Peterman and Shane Zucker, at the Brooklyn Art Library. (photograph, Blue Window Creative)

Art House co-founders Steven Peterman
and Shane Zucker, at the Brooklyn Art Library.
(photograph, Blue Window Creative)

The Brooklyn Art Library first came on the scene for The Sketchbook Project, a library of over 18,000 artists’ books on display in a storefront exhibition space in Williamsburg. The Sketchbook Project was created by Art House, an independent company that organizes global, collaborative art projects that anyone can participate in. Most projects include a digital component, as Art House strives to combine hands-on art making with new technology. Current project stats indicate that over 52,000 artists from 128 countries have participated in an Art House project; 5,771 sketchbooks are archived in the Digital Library, and 37 worldwide projects have been organized. Several projects are open for participation now: Five Minutes | Buildings, with a sign-up deadline of Thursday, February 7, asks participants to take five minutes to draw the tallest building in your town. Other intriguing projects you can participate in: Memoir Project (500 handwritten books), The Meal 2013 (documenting a global snack on February 22), and The Print Exchange (a print swap), along with the original Sketchbook Project.

hello_etsy_2013

Etsy: “We hope to show
that business does not have
to be brutal to be successful
and fulfilling.”

This event will sell out fast. Hello Etsy at Pratt: Reimagine the Marketplace, March 22-24 at Pratt Brooklyn. This is an annual conference of creativity and ideas as only the entrepreneurs of Etsy can present. The aims of this event are to explore new methods of production, new patterns of consumption, and more lasting and purposeful ways of working. Etsy’s take on building the creative economy of the future as connected, human-scaled and joyful will be discussed. Over 14 high-profile speakers include Chris Anderson, 3DRobotics and WIRED, Rachel Chong, Catchafire, Chad Dickerson, Etsy, along with workshops. Register now.

BOOKMARK THISShout out to redesigned site downtownbrooklyn.comby Smart Ass Design.The events page is a snap tonavigate, colorful, clear.This month, there’s even a drawing to win a ticket to flya friend to Brooklyn.

BOOKMARK THIS:
A shout out to
redesigned site
downtownbrooklyn.com
.
The events page is
a snap to navigate,

colorful and clear.
This month, there’s
even a chance to win
a ticket
to fly a friend
to
Brooklyn.

JumpStart NYC 13.0 is a three-month educational program to help unemployed or underemployed professionals explore opportunities at small entrepreneurial companies. Applications for the next session, starting on March 4 is due by February 11. The backstory: I attended the premiere session of JumpStartNYC in 2010 at SUNY’s Levin Institute. As a traditional-media print art director, I knew that my career choices were becoming limited and less interesting. JumpStart NYC provided me with incentive to explore work in alternative media with entrepreneurial companies. Starting with a five-day intensive boot camp, my sessions included lectures from Wharton and Harvard professors; next came a 10-week consultancy at a start up that provided video-collaboration business services. Regular networking events with peers, mentors and local businesses led me to Apple, where I continue to work while pursuing other media projects, such as Brooklyn Artisan. Sponsored by the NYC Economic Development Corporation and SUNY Levin Institute. Companies wishing to participate as consultancy project sponsors can get information on the Levin site. The program is free and limited to New York City residents.

caption goes here

Back to fun

Be an online cookbook judge: This is a new event to me but sounds like fun: The 2013 Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks. Every day for the next week or so, the colorful site Food52 is hosting an NCAA-style competition to determine the best among 16 cookbooks published in the past year. Expert judges include Kurt Andersen, Studio 260, Wylie Dufresne, wd-50, and actor and cookbook author Stanley Tucci. Books in the  competition include A Girl and Her Pig: Recipes and Stories, by April Bloomfield, Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book, by Jake Godby, Sean Vahey and Paolo Lucchesi, Bouchon Bakery Cookbook, by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel, and Japanese Farm Food, by Nancy Singleton Hachisu. Four rounds of judging lead to a final, and you get to weigh in along the way.

sandwichMaking me hungry: The Brooklyn Sandwich Society, a farm-to-table restaurant with seasonal sandwiches and an attractive website peppered with ephemera and hunger-inducing menu descriptions: The Clermont, roasted maitake mushroom, black ledge blue, lacinato kale, parsley aioli on ciabatta, The Grand, pan-fried squid, baby bok choy, cilantro, hot & sour glaze on ciabatta, and Celeriac Soup with crispy oxtail and chive oil. That’s just some of the lunch menu. House-made soda too. From a chef-and-designer team that started out as the Brooklyn Edible Social Club, but has morphed into a true brick-and-mortar place. Fort Greene.

browniesSweet tooth or Valentine’s idea: Help Red Hook-based Fany Gerson of My Sweet Mexico and La Newyorkina get back on her business feet—knocked out from under her by Sandy—by purchasing Fany Brownies from Robicelli’s. Robicelli’s once shared a kitchen with Fany and her paletas (Mexican-style frozen ice pops) and they have pledged to donate a chunk of profits from online sales of these brownies—swirled with Mexican cinnamon and cajeta—through the end of February. Other BKLYN-based food purveyers have signed on to help out too:  Brooklyn Cured, Liddabit Sweets, Whimsy & Spice, see the site for more. Friends indeed.

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn, December 21, 22, 23

PERHAPS WE’RE STARTING A NEW TRADITION FOR BROOKLYN ARTISAN, a review of all that’s been good and interesting in the past few months for our fledgling blog. At the least, this is a Best of Brooklyn listing of what we’ve been thankful for—the people, places and events that have made us stop and think, smile, and go wow, look at that. So for the next two weeks, the team will be sharing their thanks for the things that make small-town Brooklyn, as my neighbor Helen calls it, so great. In the mix, we’ll post some timely end-of-year events. If Outer Brooklyn creeps in, we’ll understand too. What are you thankful for? We’d love to know. Share with us on Facebook, email, or leave a comment.

PART ONE
The Team at Brooklyn Artisan is thankful for:
The lights in Dyker Heights. Say what you will, but the lights stop traffic and stop us in place too. Shorewalkers, a group dedicated to seeing the world at 3 miles per hour, is having a free meetup on Saturday at 5:30 to view the lights. This is a 4 mile walk, and they'll be eating dinner in the neighborhood afterwards. Check website for details.

The lights in Dyker Heights. Say what you will, but the lights stop traffic
and stop us in place too. Shorewalkers, a group dedicated to seeing the world
at 3 miles per hour, is having a free meetup on Saturday at 5:30 to view the lights.
A 4 mile route is planned, but you can always do a shorter distance.
You’ll probably be on sensory overload anyway. Check the website for details.
(photograph: nycgo.com/Marley White)

Sahadi’s for renovating and reopening and turning us on to cumin once again.

Stroller Moms and Dads of Park Slope for their work and donations to help Sandy victims.

Landlines and Rotary Dials. Don’t misunderstand, we ♥ our twee iDevice. Sometimes we enjoy picking up a receiver and hearing the other person.

Saturday: Holiday Artisans Fair at The Monro (Liverpool in Brooklyn). Park Slope. 2pm-7pm.

More Brits in Brooklyn on Saturday: Holiday Artisans Fair at The Monro.
Park Slope. 2pm-7pm.

Fleisher’s Meats for letting us taste real beef.

The G train for coming back so we can get to BAM easily again.

← The footie in Bklyn → The Tottenham Hotspurs have a home in Kings County at Black Horse Pub. Oh when the Spurs go marching in!

Egg creams, panettone, black-and-white cookies for the 5 lb weight gain. NOT. (Better: our thanks to the staff and volunteers at the Park Slope Armory for running the emergency shelter for Sandy evacuees. We’re glad, too, that the Armory YMCA has reopened and we can work off the holiday excess.)

The Double Windsor, a "newish" neighborhood fixture.

In our opinion, we are thankful that The Double Windsor has surpassed Farrell’s as the neighborhood fixture.

The small businesses on our stretch of Prospect Park West that have made our life sane: Argyle Yarn Shop (new, filled with gorgeous yarn, yum!); DUB Pies (where the Paul Auster movie “Smoke” with Harvey Keitel and William Hurt was filmed); The Double Windsor (no Farrell’s competition here); Windsor Shoes (the best little shoe store nobody knows about); United Meat Market (for showing us what a butcher shop is all about and for keeping up with the changing neighborhood demographics); and even the sometimes unpredictable Enzo’s (brickoven pizza and a drink is always fine by us.)

Our generousity. Photographs and ephemera from The Santa Claus Association, circa 1913, is on display at The City Reliquary.For 14 years, this NYC-based philanthropic group answered letters to Santa and distributed gifts to over 28,000 children. Williamsburg. Through February, 2013.

Our generousity. Photographs and ephemera from The Santa Claus Association,
circa 1913, is on display at The City Reliquary. For 14 years, this NYC-based philanthropic
group answered letters to Santa and distributed gifts to over 28,000 children.
Williamsburg. Through February, 2013.

American Express for promoting Small Business Saturday. (Kudos to NYC Dept. of Small Business Services for their campaign too.)

bitter&estersLearning how to brew our own beer. Bitter & Esters will teach all the basics on Saturday at their Brewshop 101: Home Brewing Essentials class. Prospect Heights. 4pm-6pm.

Barclays Center (grudgingly) because the the traffic’s not as bad as we feared.

Brad Lander because he’s such an involved and innovative Councilmember.

Lisa Jenks for designing her coveted jewelry collection in Brooklyn!

THIS: Weigh Your Priorities. Most startups are focused on growing faster. That alone would not make us a great company. We realized we had to focus on three things: love, growth, and foundation. —Brian Chesky, CEO, Airbnb (as quoted in Fast Company)

mileend_xmasAn upgrade to our Jewish Christmas celebration of Chinese food and a movie. Mile End’s menu of DanDan Noodles with Spicy Lamb, Dry Rubbed Chicken Wings, Smoked Bluefish Toast, and more, plus BAM or Cobble Hill Cinema nearby practically makes us giddy. If only Schmulka Bernstein was still around.

Park Slope Gallery for encouraging Eric March’s beautiful artwork of Brooklyn cityscapes.

Gingerbread-FlierAll-natural Gingerbread House Making. No corn syrup for us, only dried fruit and natural candy, as guided by the team from The Farm on Adderley. This Sunday, build your brownstone at Hootenanny Art House in Park Slope. Next Thursday, have lunch and build a manse at The Farm in Ditmas Park.

The return of Patsy Grimaldi. The king of coal-fired, NY-sired pizza is back with Juliana’s Pizza and is better than ever. We went opening day, and will go again!

Brooklyn is practically a brand name. We were well-represented at the Grand Central Holiday Fair in Outer Brooklyn.

The fact that Brooklyn is practically a brand name. We are well-represented at the
Grand Central Holiday Fair
in Outer Brooklyn.

Stay tuned for Part Two next week.

Joy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists.
Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

The Chocolate Factories of Brooklyn

Day Twelve 12 Tastes of Brooklyn
Behind the tasting room at Mast Brothers: sacks of cacao beans and staff wrapping chocolate bars.

Behind the tasting room at Mast Brothers: sacks of cacao beans and staff wrapping chocolate bars.

dec17IT’S BEEN TWELVE YEARS SINCE MASTER PASTRY CHEF Jacques Torres shocked the culinary world by quitting his high-profile job at Le Cirque to open a factory in DUMBO (DUMBO???) to make high-quality handmade fine chocolate. Who knew he’d eventually be joined by so many other adventurers in chocolate-making?

For Rick and Michael Mast, of Mast Brothers Chocolate, the adventure goes well beyond the distinctive flavor notes of their chocolate. Last year, to save energy and appeal to their environmentally aware customers, they sailed The Black Seal, a 70-foot schooner, down to the Dominican Republic to pick up 20 tons of organic cacao beans they were purchasing from small cacao farmers there—and sailed it back to Brooklyn.  There, in their Williamsburg factory, they roast, winnow, grind and age the beans to make their dark chocolate bars.

A mural across the street from the Cacao Prieto factory in Red Hook. The painting was commissioned from artist Sebastian Gross Ossa.

A mural, commissioned by Cacao Prieto from artist Sebastian Gross Ossa, across the street from its factory in Red Hook. When we went by the other night, it seemed to have survived Sandy quite well.

Daniel Prieto Preston, owner of Cacao Prieto in Red Hook, makes his bars and bonbons (and liquors) from beans and sugar cane grown on the cacao farm in the Dominican Republic that has been in his family for 100 years. But with an eye to vertically integrating his business, Preston, an aerospace engineer and an inventor with 100+ patents to his name, also designs and custom builds production machinery for chocolate manufacturing.

Raaka Chocolate makes its “virgin chocolate” an unusual way—with unroasted beans. Cacao beans present a tremendous variety of flavors, according to founder Ryan Cheney. “Virgin chocolate lets the different flavors really stand out.”

Raaka-cacao-bean1912

A cacao pod, with beans visible inside, at the Raaka booth at Columbus Circle Holiday Market in Manhattan.

Cheney considers the cocoa farmers’ welfare part of his company’s mission: The farmers from whom Raaka purchases its beans receive at minimum $500 above market price per metric ton of beans, which at today’s cocoa prices is equivalent to a 20% raise. At the other end of the production, Raaka donates its leftover cocoa husks from the Clinton Hill factory to the  Edible Schoolyard NYC at P.S. 216’s after-school to use as mulch and fertilizer.

nunu-hokey-pokey1255Justine Pringle of Nunu Chocolates became a chocolate maker when she and her husband, Andy Laird, a musician, were trying to think of something more interesting than T-shirts to sell at his music shows. Before they knew it, chocolate making had taken over their life. They use a single-origin cocoa bean  from a sustainable and family run farm in eastern Colombia. Go to their tiny storefront on Atlantic Avenue, and you can sip a glass of wine or a brew or a hot chocolate (yes!) with a view of the chocolate making in the kitchen out back.

OK, OK, so you want to know about the chocolate. Here are some of our favorites, all carefully tasted by yours truly and her friends. With packaging that is “font-snob-worthy gorgeous,” as one writer put it, these chocolate bars make great gifts—or an affordable little luxury (usually $8–$10 for bars; $2/piece for bonbons). And besides, think of all those health benefits.

jacques-torres-choc-santa1533

Jacques Torres Chocolate snowman and santa for sale at the Dumbo store

Cacao Prieto’s Pistachio and Apricot bar, one of five very tasty fruit and nut bars, all made from 72 % dark chocolate. Can’t decide? Try the sampler with all five! Certified kosher.
—Available online or at the factory’s storefront in Red Hook.

Jacques Torres’s Chocolate Snowmen and Chocolate Santas. The 4-inch snowmen ($8) come in milk, dark or white chocolate, with contrasting decoration. The hollow giant Santa, in milk or dark chocolate with a beautifully detailed flowing white chocolate beard, stands more than a foot tall, and contains two pounds of chocolate ($45, or $25 for a medium-size one).
—Only available in the stores, since they are too delicate to ship.

Mast Brothers Chocolate’s Stumptown Bar and Salted Caramel Bonbons. Collaborations like this one with Stumptown Coffee Roasters lead to some great flavors. The caramel bonbon is not chewy, as I expected, just melt-in-your-mouth paradise. For a bar with seasonally appropriate hints of cranberry and cinnamon, stop by any Shake Shack for the special edition Mast Brothers made for them.
—Buy at the tasting room attached to the factory, online,or at stores like Dean & Deluca, The Chocolate Room, Brooklyn Larder, Whole Foods.

Nunu Chocolates’ Hand Dipped Salt Caramel bonbons and the Craft Beer or Booze-Infused Ganaches. The salt caramel is Nunu’s best seller, with fleur de sel sprinkled on top. Absinthe ganache? Mezcal chili? Who can resist? Nunu uses 53–65 % cacao in their chocolates, which they find goes best with the flavors they add.
—Order online  for pickup in the store or at these stores.

Raaka Chocolate’s 71% with Sea Salt bar and the Bourbon Cask Aged (83% cacao) bar. Sea Salt is Raaka’s most popular bar; the  bourbon bar is aged in Tuthilltown casks. Deservedly, we think, it’s up for a Good Food award.
—Buy online, at Whole Foods or markets and small groceries around town.

Cacao Prieto
218 Conover Street, Red Hook
347-225-0130

Jacques Torres Chocolate
62 Water Street, DUMBO
718-875-1269

Mast Brothers Chocolate
111 North 3rd Street, Williamsburg
718-388-2625

Nunu Chocolates
529 Atlantic Avenue, Boerum Hill
917-776-7102

Raaka Chocolate
Clinton Hill
917-340-2637

Photographs by Basia Hellwig. Date stamp typographic design by Joy Makon Design.The font is Mason, by Jonathan Barnbrook, Emigre, 1992.

Bring Back the Soda Fountain!

Day Ten 12 Sips of Brooklyn
P-and-H-sodas-at-The-Bklyn-Kitchen1453

P&H Soda syrups for sale at The Brooklyn Kitchen. From left, Ginger, Lovage, and Hibisicus

dec15HOW DID SODA GET TO BE PUBLIC ENEMY NO. 1? There was a time when the soda fountain was the shining emblem of wholesomeness and American values. Wasn’t that the place where The Beaver could go and conduct his heart-to-heart talks with dad Ward Cleaver? But here in New Bloomberg City 2012, that talk might land Ward with a referral to child protective services. Or at least pointed looks from the local moral guardians.

The Beaver's brother Wally working at the soda fountain.

The Beaver’s brother Wally working at the soda fountain in a “simpler” America

Hard to be a soda entrepreneur these days, with City Hall intimating that your product ranks with cigarettes and racy magazines in the corruption of the kiddies. On the other side, the big guys, the Pepsis and Cokes of the world, have been laying down heavy fire in their war on limiting soda sizes. It’s frankly hard to know which side to root for in that struggle. May both sides lose.

Things look far rosier to Anton Nocito, whose dream was to open his own soda fountain but who along the way became a fabricator of artisanal soda syrups. P&H Soda Co. started about three years ago when Nocito sold sodas at the now-defunct Greenpoint Market. Customers and stores like The Brooklyn Kitchen expressed interest in the syrups, so Nocito obliged. Then he taught classes on making syrups and landed on the Martha Stewart Show teaching Martha herself to make Cream Soda. In that appearance, he certainly doesn’t come across like a corrupter of youth.

P&H syrups are all natural and come in exotic flavors like Lovage, Hibiscus and the old stand-by Ginger. From the humble start in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, the product is now available in stores across the country, including in Georgia, Massachusetts and California, as well as on menus in restaurants and bars as far afield as Florida and Minnesota. A list of locations is available on the P&H Soda Co web site.

Locally, Nocito likes to get out to venues like the New Amsterdam Market to share special fabrications that can’t be bottled “because we don’t use preservatives, so the flavor tends to fade too quickly.”

Small-batch soda is getting to be an active market in Brooklyn, with Brooklyn Soda Works and Q Drinks making their own products focused on natural ingredients. Brooklyn Artisan will follow all the developments with interest.

As for his original dream, Nocito remains steadfast: He wants to “open a soda fountain with all natural sodas and a menu consisting of locally sourced ingredients. The manufacturing of the syrups definitely sent us in another direction and we’re currently trying to get back on track with our original goal.”

With any luck, The Beaver will be there for more heart-to-hearts, and not have to sneak around with back-alley natural sodas.

P&H Soda Co.

Brooklyn Soda Works

Q Drinks
718-398-6642

Photograph (top) by Basia Hellwig. Date stamp typographic design by Joy Makon Design. The font is American Typewriter, by Joel Kaden and Tony Stan, ITC, 1974.

The New Corner Grocers

Day Ten 12 Tastes of Brooklyn
salumi-platter-brooklyn-winery

Charcuterie and cheese plates, often with products from small local grocers, are offered up at Brooklyn’s wine and brew bars. This one at Brooklyn Winery.

dec15WITH SO MANY ARTISANAL FOOD MAKERS in Brooklyn, it’s good to also find some wonderful small grocery stores where you can buy their small-batch products. These are the anti-supermarket—you really want to call them shops because they often conjure up the feeling of a village shop where customers and proprietor greet each other by name. The selections in these diminutive stores are carefully chosen (dare I say curated?) from producers that the proprietors often know personally. They’ve tasted the cheese, or the salumi, or the sauces or pickles and they like them! And they want you to have them (for a price). I was on the hunt, recently, for salumi and cheeses and meze for a holiday gathering.

d-coluccioI’d already bagged my baba ganoush at Sahadi’s and some soppressata and Italian cheese from D. Coluccio & Sons (above), a store and importing/wholesale business that’s been around for half a century. (Like Sahadi’s, it has been an anchor in its neighborhood bringing hard-to-find artisanal and specialty products to a discriminating audience.) Now I’m ready to explore some of the small grocers.

Beth Lewand and Chris Gray opened Eastern District two years ago to bring their favorite beers and cheeses to Greenpoint. The shelves are stocked with plenty of local products, but the store sources farther afield too. The cheese selection will keep you there for half an hour trying to decide.

Mmmm....what to take? Great choices at Eastern District.

Mmmm….what to take? Great choices at Eastern District.

Salumi comes from such respected producers as Olympic Provisions in Seattle, Creminelli in Salt Lake City and Charlito’s Cocina in Queens. I sampled Charlito’s salumi earlier this summer at Smorgasburg. Charlito (Charles Samuel Wekselbaum), who was raised in a Cuban-American household, draws on the curing traditions of Spain and uses 100% pasture-raised heritage breed pork. (Check out his fig salumi, too.) Each week, there’s a different cheese/beer pairing at Eastern District, with rotating beers on tap (and growlers to take some home).

When you open the door of Bedford Cheese Shop, the pungent aromas of cheese hit you. This is a good thing. The cheese descriptions are witty, the staff helpful (they’ll always offer tastes). Salumi comes from small-batch producers.

Brooklyn Cheese Shop, established in 2003

Bedford Cheese Shop, established in 2003

bedford-cheese-shop1486

The whole shop is inviting, with shelves stocked with the best of Brooklyn and beyond. At a second branch on Irving Place in Manhattan, Bedford Cheese now offers classes. Next up, on December 19: whiskey styles and their cheese counterparts.

A.L.C. Italian Grocery is a gem of a store in Bay Ridge that has been open less than two months. Owner Louis Coluccio grew up in the specialty food business (he is one of the sons in D. Coluccio & Sons). Now, for his own store, he aims to combine “the best of Italian products and the best of local products,” he told us when we visited last week.

ALC-italian-grocery1699

The selection is meticulous and beautifully displayed. You’ll find Parmacotto Salumeria Rosi and smoked pancetta from Leoncini (both Italian) as well as Brooklyn Cured and Mosefund Farm meats.

Italian and Brooklyn products share the shelves at A.L.C. Italian Grocery.

Italian and Brooklyn products share the shelves at A.L.C. Italian Grocery.

Tastings happen often, sometimes twice a week; today was prosciutto—“Genuine prosciutto is made of only four ingredients: hand-selected legs of premier pigs, salt, air and skill.” A.L.C. Grocery is also working on some evening classes at the shop with select producers, which they hope to announce in early January.

Eastern District
1053 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint
718-349-1432

D. Coluccio & Sons, Inc.
1214 60th Street, Borough Park
718-436-6700

Bedford Cheese Shop
229 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg
718-599-7588

A.L.C. Italian Grocery
8613 3rd Avenue, Bay Ridge
718-836-3200

Photographs by Basia Hellwig. Date stamp typographic design by Joy Makon Design. The font is American Typewriter, by Joel Kaden and Tony Stan, ITC, 1974.

 

Distilled in Brooklyn

Day Eight 12 Sips of Brooklyn

kingscountybourbon

dec13 date stamp by Joy Makon Design

TODAY’S SIP TAKES TO HEART THE WORDS of the incomparable Ogden Nash: “Candy is dandy, but Liquor is quicker.” Instead of words, words, words, though, let’s cut to the headline: Brooklyn Brews Booze.

Kings County Bourbon (top) is distilled in the 113-year old Paymaster Building of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Check out Brooklyn Artisan‘s earlier coverage on a tour of the distillery. Kings County, one of the first small-batch distillers in the state, brews its mash with Scottish barley for authenticity, along with American corn. For true Brooklyn cred, the distillery has added corn picked from a small crop grown in the yard of the distillery into their batches. Best served neat—water breaks things!

dark-brew

Widow Jane Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey (above, left) is the most recent offering from Cacao Prieto in Red Hook. Released in October 2012 at a party there, Widow Jane is made with water brought from the limestone mine in upstate New York that provided stone for the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building.

Industry City No. 2 Vodka (above, center) is produced in Sunset Park, where Industry City Distilling creates its sugar beet vodka. They document their progress in building a larger plant on their nicely designed, fun web site, which has videos, photos of the distillers and details about the distilling process. Wonder what happened to No. 1?

77 Whiskey, from Brueckelen Distillery (above, right) in Sunset Park is made from New York State wheat. The distillers were the subject of a beautiful Made by Hand video a couple of years ago.

gins

New York Distilling is making gin (above, left) in Williamsburg, including a version named in tribute to Algonquin Round Table denizen Dorothy Parker, who definitely knew gin. They also have a full service bar cum tasting room next to the distillery called The Shanty.

Brueckelen also makes Glorious Gin (above, center) with New York Wheat, keeping it in the family.

 Brooklyn Gin, despite its name (above, right), is actually fabricated in Warwick, New York, which makes it part of that region we like to call Outer Brooklyn. But we take the name as a gin-soaked compliment.

Kings County Distillery
63 Flushing Avenue, Navy Yard

Industry City Distilling
33 35th Street, Sunset Park
917-727-5309

Breuckelen Distilling
77 19th Street, Sunset Park

347-725-4985

Cacao Prieto
218 Conover Street, Red Hook
347-225-0130

New York Distilling Company
79 Richardson Street, Williamsburg
718-412-0874

Brooklyn Distilling Company
Warwick, New York

Many of these drinks are available for consumption at fine Brooklyn booze halls like:

The Drink
228 Washington Avenue, Williamsburg
718-782-8463

Fort Defiance
365 Van Brunt Street, Red Hook
347-453-6672

Photographs by Bruce Campbell. Date stamp typographic design by Joy Makon Design. The font is Shelley Allegro, by Matthew Carter, Linotype, 1972.

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