Trust the French to design a bright slip cover to adorn and protect their baguette baskets. In this sixteen-inch-long wicker trough, a loosely fitted liner of washable Provençal fabric makes a cozy resting place for bread, crackers, and other cheese-worthy accompaniments. (It’s been reported that Barbie dolls also like to recline there, so don’t be surprised if this pretty basket ends up in a toy room. Be safe: get two.)
In these small, tall squares, a silky-rich dark-chocolate filling made with mascarpone is sandwiched between layers of from-scratch devil’s food cake, then topped with raspberries.
Imagine the creamy sweet-cheese flavor of cannoli without the usual heaviness. Such was the inspiration for these bite-size cones made with crispy, light phyllo dough and a filling of ricotta cheese, whipped cream, chocolate bits, and candied fruit.
THE CONES: Heat the oven to 350°F. Lay one sheet of phyllo on top of a clean cloth. Brush the top of the phyllo with some of the melted butter and sprinkle with some of the cinnamon-sugar
Nuts, fruit, and cheese are a tasteful trio anywhere, anytime—including in this showpiece dessert. We especially like how the tanginess of goat cheese blends with its sweeter, nuttier counterparts.
THE CRUST: Heat the oven to 375°F. In a food processor fitted with a chopping blade, coarsely grind the almonds. Set aside 3 tablespoons of the ground almonds.
Porcelain Cheese Buttons
People who don’t cut cheese for a living might appreciate a bit of slicing support. These whimsical cow, sheep, and goat buttons provide stability thanks to small underside spikes, allowing them to sink easily into cheese rinds, stabilizing your grip. Even if you don’t need them for cutting, use the various forms to denote the type of milk used in making a particular cheese. They might look a bit menacing—but then again, we are eating their milk, aren’t we?
Santa Fe Stoneworks Cheese Slicers
Cheese planes, or slicers, shave our favorite food into glorious ribbons; professionals often use this tool when offering tastes to customers because it allows them to pull wafer-thin slices. We like simple, non-adjustable planes as they are less prone to complication. This decorative model is the result of a
partnership between a 125-year-old cutlery company and the reputable Santa Fe Stoneworks, which crafts the beautiful stone handles. Each comes with a lifetime warranty because, as Santa Fe Stoneworks owner Bob Wirtel says, “We want people to use these, not just buy them and keep them in a box.”
Boska Holland Tapas Fondue Set
Every once in a while, a product renews our enthusiasm for an activity that had fallen off the radar. This mini fondue set by Boska makes us want to make it more often. You don’t have to throw a party in order to enjoy fondue; just find one other person or maybe, if you’re quiet about it, go it alone. Cooler weather makes our tummies yearn for melted cheese, potatoes, meats, and pickles—how about you?
Wine Barrel Serving Platters
The fact that these boards fall into the “green” category is secondary, in our minds, to their aesthetic appeal and usefulness. Coopers select only the finest portion of each oak tree to use for their wood barrel
production, so it would be a shame for such beautiful raw materials to go to waste after a few crushes. These platters have a rugged elegance about them, due to barrel tops and staves that have been honed and smoothed to showcase natural grain patterns, with or without tell-tale grape stains. Anyone who entertains will sleep soundly knowing that these one-of-a-kind pieces are also eco-conscious.
Ivano Bellodi, cheese master for Guffanti Formaggi company, reflects on the enduring magic of opening Parmigiano Reggiano.
“La conoscenza dei principi basilari delle forze e delle tensioni che sopravvengono nei diversi prodotti, il corretto utilizzo degli attrezzi, la buona metodologia per affrontare questo atto tecnico...”
“Knowing the fundamental forces and principles that come together in different products, the expert use of tools, and the skillful way to approach this work…”
“...mi permette di vedere questo momento—l’apertura della forma di formaggio - come un momento magico, quasi di sorpresa—qual fosse uno scrigno pieno di tesori…”
“...allows me to see this moment—the opening of the cheese form—like a magical moment, one of surprise, like opening a full coffer of treasures…”
My brother, Eric, works in Brooklyn, out of an old store-front delicatessen. It's a great space for him, with high ceilings, a big basement, and lots of natural light. He's a sculptor, but people still stick their heads in from time to time, asking for sandwiches. To dissuade hungry passersby, he puts paper up over the windows, but it keeps coming unstuck.
"What I should do," he says, "is frost them. Thin a little nonfat yogurt with water. It stinks for the first couple weeks, but after that it lasts forever."