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More Holiday Gift Ideas!

Well, it’s getting down to the wire, so hopefully, you have all of your holiday gifts bought and maybe even wrapped.  I have an ever-growing pile of things to take with me to Virginia that I have to figure out how to pack.  So, really, when I was at the New Amsterdam Market’s last market of 2010 yesterday, I shouldn’t have bought anything, right?

Alas, I couldn’t resist.  Even thought I was heading to brunch only a little while later, I had to pick up a few things.  There were just so much great stuff.  It started at the beginning, at the info table.  There, Nils Wessell had these gorgeous, handmade butcher’s block cutting boards.  Made in Brooklyn of materials from Pennsylvania and glue from Ohio, these were just stunning, but practical, works of art.  The waste from production is composted at a local center.  Good thing I hadn’t seen these earlier, otherwise they would have been at the top of my Christmas list.  Well, there’s always my birthday next year.

One of the new vendors to me were the folks at Nuts + Nuts.  The nuts are produced in Indonesia by the owners’ family and local farmers.  Then, they are transformed and packaged into various flavor combinations.  I tried the Spicy flavor which is in the center bin in the photo.  Perfumed with kaffir lime leaves, spices, and peppers, the citrus hits your palate and then is followed up by the heat from the chilies only to return with more citrus notes.  The packets are perfect for that mid-afternoon snack fix, and the boxes would make great gifts for the cashew-lover on your list.  I didn’t try the other flavors but am looking forward to tracking them down again.

In mystroll through the market, I chatted with Jen from LiddabitSweets (glad to hear the shipping is done!), Vince at Cellars at Jasper Hill, and Grace at TableTales (who was doing a brisk business in the cold weather).  Weswung by NordicBreads to stock up on their wonderful ruis bread.  I also had a nice talk about Italy and their possible cooking school plans with the people behind Fresh Flavors Catering, who had this greatdisplay of New York-made Italian food items.

Then,on the last row, there were the folks from The Bent Spoon.  They had oneof my all-time favorite flavors at the New Amsterdam Ice Cream Festival last summer.  A friend of mine and I tried their deeply chocolatey hot chocolate.  I haven’t had cup this delicious, this velvety warm since I lived in Italy.  With a dollop of real dairy whipped cream and a wafer cookie, this cup could have been a replica of the cioccolata calda con panna that I used to treat myself to every so often during the winter when I lived in Bologna.  

Although they were really trying to push everyone towards the hot chocolate, we were all there for their amazing ice cream, no matter where the thermometer was hovering.  I got a scoop of Peppermint Stick and one ofEggnog, the holiday’s greatest flavors in one cup. The cool, mint flavor with chunks of candy cane and sliversof chocolate was perfectly refreshing.  Nothing at all like the little ice cream cups from elementary school.  The Eggnog managed to capture thebooziness and creaminess of this drink, all in a frozen confection.  I was so disappointed that I didn’tpick up a pint of each of them, as they sold out by the time I circled backaround the market to pick up the last of my holiday gifts.  I guess I’ll just have to plan betternext year!


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