Despite the fact that we had snow and freezing rain a couple of weekends back, it really is still fall (or autumn), which is one of my favorite seasons. After sweltering all summer long and living in trepidation of pop-up thunderstorms, there’s a crispness in the air and brightly-colored trees show off their multi-hued brilliance. It’s the season of pumpkins, apple cider, fall festivals, and football. While there’s still some more time to get out there and enjoy this weather before it gets too cold and snowy, I put together a Fall Giveaway Pack featuring some more terrific food finds.
The “Backpack Through Provence” from renowned New York City charcuterie experts Les Trois Petits Cochons was something I first saw at the Fancy Food Show this year in Washington, DC, although it has been out for a bit. When we talked about how much I enjoyed eating their products, their marketing director offered that this would be a great giveaway item for my readers so that you could get to know them, too. This sturdy, insulated carryall is filled with their Mousse Truffée, Pâté de Campagne, and Saucisson Sec. They also throw in a block of soft-aged French cheese, a jar of spicy Dijon mustard, a package of crunchy Petits Toasts, a jar of tangy-tart cornichons, and it comes with a small cutting board, a spreader, and a corkscrew. There’s ample room to add a bottle of wine or other beverage to the backpack, to complete your meal.
I’d seen these products on store shelves, but had never tried them until I went to Brooklyn Uncorked earlier this year. After patiently waiting my turn behind many other hungry guests, I reached in and swiped a sample of their Mousse Truffée. I was struck by its delicacy yet earthiness, the smooth texture of the chicken livers and other ingredients pairing beautifully with the woodsy perfume of the truffles. The Spinach Terrine with Roquefort Cheese that I tried next almost made me forget that I was eating vegetables at all with its herbal freshness and pungent dairy combination. Since then, I’ve sampled a few of their pâtés and have enjoyed each one of them for their rustic presentation and hearty flavor combinations, chunks of meat with other ingredients that just lay perfectly on a slice of thick country bread dressed with a slather of their spicy, tangy mustard.
P&H Soda Co. at the New Amsterdam Market
This year, I’ve sampled so many delicious items that I knew that there were some fantastic ones that would work well to fill up those extra spaces in the backpack. Last week, I profiled P&H Soda Co. and Anton Nocito’s thirst-quenching products. When I approached him about this giveaway, he said, “Sure, we’ll throw in something.” After much negotiation, as I was torn about which one to include, Anton convinced me that his popular Cream Syrup was the one that would pair perfectly with all these tastes and textures. Just mix this with some seltzer water, or other bubbly beverage, and make a vanilla-bean flecked Cream Soda.
Pickled Strawberries from Anarchy in a Jar
Another one of my absolutely favorite delicious discoveries this year, one I really can’t rave enough about, is the jams and spreads from Anarchy in a Jar. I’d hoped to be able to do a Product Spotlight on Laena, but our respectively hectic schedules haven’t permitted it as yet. I might end up needing to trail her in the kitchen someday just to see how she makes her magical products. Don’t let the size of these jars fool you, they are packed with wonder. Her Pickled Strawberries were the secret ingredient in Steve’s Ice Cream Ricotta and Strawberry, with an extra spoonful added at the bottom of the cone for extra punch. Her rich, fragrant Wild Blueberry with rum, star anise, and juniper is my new breakfast companion and makes a good start on the day, even if it is a Monday. Here, too, we discussed what would complement the items in the backpack and decided on her sweet-tart Strawberry Balsamic Jam and her very popular Hot Fireman’s Pear Jam with Chipotle & Cinnamon as the treats to go into this giveaway.
The Rules (There have to be some of these, you know.)
Eligibility: U.S. mainland residents only
To Enter: Write a comment on this post with the answer to the following question: What your favorite thing about the fall season (or autumn, if you prefer)? Just a note, “watching the Redskins lose every Sunday” does not count as an acceptable response!
You must also have a valid screen name (NOT “Anonymous”) with a corresponding email address to enter this giveaway. I’ll need to be able to click on it in order to contact the winner. If you list “Anonymous” or do not have a valid email address with your comment, you will be disqualified. I do not share these addresses with anyone, and they are only for the purpose of entering this giveaway.
Deadline: Is Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 at 12:00 p.m. EST, based upon the date/time stamp on the comments. (I’m going to be very strict about this and make no exceptions.)
The Outcome: Only one winner will be chosen for this entire package of goodies. I’m going to put all the entries into an online Randomizer (like this one) to come up with the winner.