Well, I’ve almost come full circle on my first year writing a food column for the Local, but this is most certainly my first Valentine’s Day food column.
And so, this being the week of love, I wanted my column to be all about bringing the foodies in our lives the love they deserve.
Who doesn’t like to get a dozen long stem roses? I do. But do you know what I like even more? A pound of truffles, or a nice fresh red velvet cake. So before you FTD your sweet nothings, consider that the love of your life may be a lot happier with some Valentine’s treats suited for a sweet tooth, a chef, or just your average all-around food lover. Since I’m all about food here, I devoted this week’s column to my favorite local gifts for the foodies in your life, gifts that come straight from the heart.
Paula Fingerut takes candy very seriously for Valentine’s Day. The owner of Zipf’s Candies (8433 Germantown Ave.) makes chocolate a religion in her compact candy haven. For $24.50 per pound, you can mix and match truffles, foiled candies, butter creams, salted caramels and even vegan chocolates for that special someone. She carries a line of wheat and corn-free dog treats iced in hearts and treat shapes, and she makes custom baskets starting at $10 and up. One of the coolest discoveries I made when speaking to her was that Chestnut Hillers are like bees to a hive when it comes to black licorice. She stocks about 35 different kinds, including imports from Holland and Finland. We like our black licorice!
Night Kitchen Bakery’s (7723 Germantown Ave.) owner Amy Edelman is a tireless baker when it comes to holidays. For Valentine’s Day, her chocolate mousse cake for two is a fast seller, as is her red velvet cake for two with a chocolate drip. Did you know red velvet cake is actually chocolate cake, and that there is no such flavor as red velvet? I say the more chocolate the better. Edelman also does chocolate-dipped strawberries and strawberry and cream cupcakes. Roses? Who needs roses?
At Robertson’s Flowers & Events (8501 Germantown Ave.), one of the Hill’s go-to gift shops, they have a whole display of Valentine gift items. But here are some highlights. Their tea towels, $18, say “I love you latte” or “Xo” for that kitchen fiend who simply must decorate for every holiday. This year, they are also featuring red shot glasses, $4.50, as well as white heart candy dishes that come with silver spoons shaped like hearts, $49. If you have a coffee lover, I like the coffee mugs (around $12) with adorable words of love inscribed on them.
One of my favorite go-to brunch spots has always been Cake (8501 Germantown Ave.). I can’t think of a nicer spot to get engaged—or re-engaged—than in the greenhouse restaurant. You can grab a gift certificate for a special someone and enjoy Cake chef Jameson O’Donnell’s heart-shaped pastries, including a puff pastry with French pastry cream, chocolate ganache and fresh strawberries. I’ll buy my own ring to sit for brunch, thank you.
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AR Workshop (8607 Germantown Ave.) is the place to make and take fabulous gifts and farmhouse décor. This year, you can make a breakfast in bed tray ($29.50), or a wine and cheese tray( $69.50) for that special person. I love their bed tray that could also double as a Lazy Susan ($50) for when you actually leave your bed. Go to www.arworkshop.com/chestnuthill to sign up and make one of these gems.
Kitchen Kapers (8530 Germantown Ave.) has always been my store for coffees and Le Creuset. But this Valentine’s Day, the red is hot. Henckles, most known for their knives, has made heart-shaped cookware. Their 1.75-quart cook pot in red is a nice $149.50, and the Kitchen Kapers Le Creuset pepper and salt mills ($39.95) in red are fabulous.
One honorable mention that I am really excited about is Ella Vanilla. For those addicted to cake decorating, Noelle DeSantis is moving to a new, larger location further down Germantown Ave. Stay tuned for that opening, which I will cover. But I am happy to report that she sold out of her cake decorating classes before Valentines Day.
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