Archive for the ‘Other Places’ Category

j0438533I think I’ve learned something interesting in the last few months while writing for Bucks County Taste . “Local” means different things to different people.

We all tend to get very comfortable living within a pretty narrow geographical area. Grocery store, school, work, family, friends, a few local restaurants we go to over and over again. Mark and I are not much of an exception. We live in Central Bucks, and when we’re tired after a long day, we tend to stay close to home – sometimes no further than our backyard.

But we’ve learned in our exploring that there is A LOT going on in other parts of Bucks County. And now is the best time of year to get off your you-know-what and get out there. Go to Lower Bucks, go to Upper Bucks, or even just go into Doylestown, for heaven’s sake.

This weekend is a perfect example. A brand new farmers’ market, the Linden Hill Farmer’s Market, is opening up in Ottsville on Route 611 this Friday. And wait till you see the line-up of vendors (see our post below). That’s not all. Do you know that a totally organic, small batch, locally-sourced ice creamery called Owow Cow Creamery has just opened, also up in Ottsville, right at Routes 412 & 563 (near Nockamixon State Park)? And Perkasie Olde Towne is hosting its Hot Ribs, Cool Music Festival on Saturday. Weather forecast: Sunny and in the upper 70’s. Perfect rib-eating, ice cream-licking weather.

Here’s the run-down – or should I say, “fun-down” (ouch) for the weekend. Check out our online calendar, Food Events in Bucks County for more details.

Friday, May 29th:
Linden Hill Farmers’ Market, 3:30 – 7:30 pm, Ottsville.
Wine Concert Series at Shady Brook Farm,  6 – 9 pm, Yardley. Weather permitting. Free admission. Little Big Thing will be the musical entertainment.
Wines of Australia and New Zealand: From affordable to collectible, 7 – 8:30 pm, Carlow Cookery, Doylestown.

Saturday, May 30th:
Doylestown Farmers’ Market, 7 am – Noon, Doylestown 
Wrightstown Farmers’ Market, 9 am – 1 pm, Wrightstown.  
Quaker Heritage Day – Quakers, Pies & Bicycles, 10 am – 2 pm, Solebury Meetinghouse, New Hope.
Hot Ribs, Cool Music in Perkasie Olde Towne, 10 am – 5 pm, Perkasie. Rib Cooking starts at 7 am, competition and sampling starts around 12!
Beef & Beer at Stockton Fire Company, 4 – 7 pm, Stockton.

Sunday, May 31th:
Breakfast at Haycock Fire Company, 8 am – 12 pm, Haycock.
Saucon Valley Farmers’ Market, 9 am – 1 pm, Hellertown.
Hunterdon Land Trust Farmers’ Market, 9 am – 1 pm, Flemington.
2nd Annual Bucks County Chocolate Show, 10 am – 4 pm, New Hope (see post below).
Sunday Funday: Strawberry Festival, Shady Brook Farm, Noon – 4 pm, Yardley
2009 Bucks County Wine Tour, 12 – 5 pm, Bucks County.
Charity Barbecue at Kids Castle Park, 1 – 3 pm, Doylestown.
Wine Tasting, Cheese & Chocolate Fundraiser for Kehilat HaNahar, 6 – 8:30 pm, Chaddsford Winery Tasting Room, Peddler’s Village, Lahaska.
CB Cares 2nd Annual Celebrity Chef & Waiter Gala 2009, 6 – 10 pm, Doylestown Country Club, Doylestown.

Don’t forget to check our online calendar, Food Events in Bucks County regularly for great stuff happening. Have a wonderful weekend!

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strawberryfestivalpreserves09_21Another delicious weekend coming up in Bucks County. Here’s a round-up of some of the food stuff happening. Check out our online calendar, Food Events in Bucks County for more details.

  • Wine Concert Series at Shady Brook Farm,  6 – 9 pm, Yardley. Weather permitting. Free admission. Dogs Playing Cards will be the musical entertainment. (Friday)
  • Pancake Breakfast at The Plumsteadville Grange, 7 – 11 am (Saturday)
  • Doylestown Farmers’ Market, 7 am – Noon, Doylestown (Saturday)
  • Hoagie Sale Fundraiser, 9 am – Noon, Quakertown (Saturday)
  • Roast Beef Dinner at the Riegelsville Fire Company, 4 – 7 pm, Riegelsville (Saturday)
  • Sip and Spa – Mother’s Day Candle Light Dessert Tea at The Talking Teacup, 6 – 8 pm, Chalfont (Saturday)
  • Strawberry Festival, 10 am – 6 pm, Peddler’s Village, Lahaska (Saturday & Sunday) – Check out the new outdoor seating at Sweet Lorraine’s while you’re there!
  • Spring Fling – Bucks County Wine Trail, various wineries throughout Bucks (Saturday & Sunday) – New wine releases!
  • Breakfast at the Orion Masonic Lodge, 8 am – Noon, Frenchtown, NJ (Sunday)
  • Sunday Funday: Perennial Festival, Shady Brook Farm, Noon – 4 pm, Yardley (Sunday)

Have a great weekend!

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A great place to have a party just became even better. MaxHansenCaterers is now the exclusive caterer at the Michener Art Musuem.

Max Hansen is “a Carversville resident who understands our mission and appreciates Bucks County’s artistic heritage,” explains Hollie Brown, the Museum’s Director of Visitor Services and Retail Operations. “Max has built an impressive reputation for offering not only the finest and most innovative food, but also an unmatched level of service and devotion to detail.”

Max Hansen with Bruce Katsiff, Director/CEO of the Michener Art Museum

Max Hansen with Bruce Katsiff, Director/CEO of the Michener Art Museum

It’s an exciting time for the Museum as they prepare to unveil a new 5,000 square-foot upper level gallery in September, one that is large enough—and flexible enough, to accommodate major nationally touring exhibitions and the permanent collection. The patio area of the Patricia D. Pfundt Sculpture Garden will be covered with glass, creating a premier indoor event space for large public programs and private events. The second phase also includes the renovation of the Ann and Herman Silverman Pavilion which will include, among other things, an expanded museum shop and café.

Museum visitors can now enjoy MaxHansenCaterer’s great food at the café, adjacent to the Museum Shop. “We’re excited to introduce a new menu at the café, featuring healthy options such as yogurt, granola, fresh fruit, smoked salmon and bagels, salads, sandwiches and seasonal soups, as well as our homemade chocolate chip cookies and brownies, plus delicious scones from J. Scones in Doylestown and freshly roasted coffee from Rojos’s Roastery in Lambertville,” says Hansen.

MaxHansenCaterer is working with the Museum’s staff to schedule weddings, bridal showers, gala dinners, cocktail receptions, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, corporate meetings, workshops and luncheons onsite at the Michener Art Museum’s various event spaces. For additional information or to set up a consultation, interested parties should call Rita Gehkt at (215) 766-3439.

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Last month we talked with Sharon Schwartz about her evolution into a fine home chef. This month, we offer part two. Sharon talks about why she decided to “go organic,” and her favorite sources for ingredients in Bucks County. In her own words…

I started to get interested in healthy food choices when I was pregnant with my first child, Jennifer. At the time (this was the 1970’s), we were living on Long Island, and I decided to join a food co-op. They offered bulk food – mostly organic – at cheap prices.  It was the quality of the food that attracted me, and the fact that we had to work there sometimes, and I could meet like-minded people. 

We were also fortunate to live very close to a poultry farm where they raised their fowl and offered eggs that were raised with organic feed. To this day, those were the most incredibly delicious chickens we’ve ever had.  I bought the chickens the day they were killed and got eggs the day they were laid.  You can’t get better than that, and without having to do any of the work!

In those days there was not much organic farming being done in our area. The vegetables at the health food stores tended to be limp and old because they did not move quickly enough.  About the only decent veggies I could get were organic carrots. I did my best to buy produce from local farmers in season, and we did have a vegetable garden (organic of course) in our yard by the time the kids were 3 and 5 years old. 

It was also around that time that an especially great health food store opened in our town on Long Island, and I got very involved with macrobiotics.  I practiced it pretty strictly for myself, and offered it in the house, with much resistance from the kids and Mark (my husband).  In keeping with my “style,” I did take macrobiotic cooking lessons and learned to get pretty creative with my veggies, beans and miso soup.  After finding that my body needed more protein, I kind of gave up on it, but tried to find food choices that were as pure as possible for myself and my family.  I didn’t go back to eating beef or veal, however, because of the ways in which the animals were raised.

When we moved to Bucks County in the mid-80’s, it became more difficult to find organically raised chickens and eggs, and even fish choices were not as fresh or varied as what was available on Long Island.  I did the best I could, but loosened my standards a great deal out of necessity.  I was happy if I could find locally grown food of good quality. 

It has only been recently, with the advent of more local organic farming, and the arrival of Whole Foods and a few other sources, that I have gone back to my purist organic food choices.  Between the organic sections in most markets, the better selections in health food stores, and the arrival of a great wholly organic meat department at Whole Foods (and some at Wegmans) I can get most anything I want (beef and veal included) at the level of quality I want.  Hallelujah!

These are some of Sharon’s favorite places to get ingredients, both in Bucks County and nearby. (Sharon lives in Central Bucks, so she is partial to places nearest to her.) In alphabetical order:

  • Altomonte’s (Doylestown and Warminster): assorted Italian ingredients, including oils (Iliada Greek Olive Oil) and vinegars, and cage-free, organic eggs, handmade ricotta
  • Blue Moon Acres (Buckingham): organic salad greens and herbs; “I’ve even gotten beautiful, big zucchini flowers in season from them which I use to make ‘Ricotta-Stuffed Zucchini Flowers.””
  • Buckingham Seafood (Buckingham): good quality, wild caught fish
  • Cote & Co.  (Doylestown): they carry Max and Me Smoked (organic) Salmon, oils, vinegars
  • Heller’s Seafood (Warrington): good selection of fish
  • Jamie Hollander (New Hope): organic aged strip steaks, good take-out, interesting grocery items
  • The Larder (Doylestown): great bulk food, specialty items, cashews
  • Newtown Farmer’s Market (Newtown): from the Amish stand, chicken, other types of poultry, organic, cage-free eggs; good quality fruits and vegetables from the Asian produce stand (although not organic), and “the falafel guy is great!”
  • None Such Farms (Buckingham): Antibiotic-free, hormone-free, locally raised meats; local produce. “I can even get a brisket with the deckle (fatty part) still on – which makes a superb brisket!”
  • Wegmans (Warrington): for organic produce and other natural foods, in particular, baby artichokes and handmade ricotta
  • Whole Foods (Montgomeryville, Jenkintown, Princeton): for everything organic, but especially meats (Jenkintown store has complete butcher shop). The Princeton store is “huge and fantastic.”

And Sharon’s favorite in-season farm stands:

What are your favorite places to shop for ingredients? Please let us know.

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Slow Food Bucks County is hosting a Valentine’s Day tasting event of Kallari Chocolate, an Ecuadorian Fair Trade company that produces chocolate from the cacao they grow. The event will begin at 11:00 am on Saturday, February 14th at the Northampton Library, located at 32 Upper Holland Road, Richboro.

As Kimberly Kaufmann, Leader of Slow Food Bucks County, explains:

Ordinarily, ‘Fair Trade’ chocolate is made by large North American and European owned companies that pay a fee to a third party to be certified. Cacao beans used by conventional chocolate companies are warehoused or stored for years before they become chocolate. During this time, the beans are exposed to insects, worms, mold, and fungus all of which reduce the potency of the antioxidants and polyphenol compounds.

By purchasing Kallari Chocolate, Kaufmann says, consumers are taking a giant leap ahead of standard Fair Trade practices. Buying directly from the producer achieves higher income for all the local farmers involved.

Kallari Chocolate (pronounced kai-YAH-ri) produces chocolate from cacao beans harvested by a cooperative of Quichua farmers. A profile in the New York Times gives more background about this unique enterprise:

The cooperative uses an unusual blend of cacaos that grow on the Quichua land — fruity Cacao Amazónico, nutty Criollo, Forastero Amazónico, Tipo Trinitario and, most important, a rare variety that flourishes around their homes, Cacao Nacional.

“They have a certain smell and taste that is herbal, flowery but also savory, like black pepper,” Tomas Keme, a Swiss chocolate expert who consults for Kallari, said of the Cacao Nacional beans. “It’s the same taste I find in a Californian cabernet.”

So join us and other Bucks County chocoholics on Saturday, February 14th. There will be a member of the Quichua present to explain the Kallari operation and plenty of chocolate to taste. Slow Food Bucks County is asking for donations of $10 per person to pay for the Quichua family member’s travel expenses to the US.

RSVPs would be greatly appreciated at bucksslowfood@comcast.net.

Think of it as doing good AND eating chocolate. Kaufmann puts it best when she says,

By paying a bit more for a little taste of heaven, end-consumers of Kallari chocolate play a small role in increasing the standard of living in a developing nation, and are in return rewarded with a higher quality product.

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Finally, we’ve made our way through the piles of laundry, e-mail and regular mail, restocked the fridge, and have resettled into our cozy home in Wycombe. England, specifically the Cotswolds, was relaxing and fun, especially from a culinary point of view (that’s all you’re really interested in, isn’t it?). Mark decided he loves pubs and English beer in particular. Lynne got her Cream Tea (clotted cream, jam and scones – yum).  While you may not get to England any time soon, we thought we’d share our food highlights, in the hopes you can one day visit.

  • The Spice Merchant in Malmesbury (Wiltshire) was great Indian food even by English standards (and there are a lot of good Indian restaurants in the UK).
  • The Green Dragon Inn, a gastropub in Cheltenham (Gloucestershire, England – not Pennsylvania). Our friends Sarah and Dino are regulars, and after spending several hours eating and drinking there we understand why. The menu features everything from pigeon to beef steak, venison to lamb, all well-cooked and beautifully presented. Rooms are available if you care to spend the night. We had a great meal, for a reasonable $50 per person (plus beer).
  • The Twelve Bells, a local pub in Cirencester (Gloucestershire), with good food. It was recently named the best pub in town, and though it was all-but empty on the Monday night we visited, we can understand why: The owner, cooks and regulars are all friendly, the food is good, fireplaces abound.
  • The Thames Head Inn, another Cirencester pub, though this one’s on the outskirts of town. It’s more contemporary than the Twelve Bells, and a bit less rustic. Still, it’s a comfortable place to have a drink on a chilly night. And, yes, the great Thames River begins its journey as a small creek nearby.
  • The King’s Hotel in Chipping Campden. So, here’s the story: After a day ranging around the countryside, Lynne was determined to find a good cream tea. When we inquired at the King’s Hotel, the Maitre D’ apologized for not having scones, but said he’d put something together for us. With our brother-in-law Alan, we settled into the bar and had a fine time over excellent tea, cakes (in lieu of scones) and clotted cream. When the time came to get the check, the Maitre D’ declined to take payment. Apparently, if he couldn’t offer a proper cream tea, he wasn’t going to charge for it. Establishments like that deserve thanks and praise. Such kindnesses aside, the hotel’s restaurant offers an attractive menu in a comfortable dining room, in the midst of a lovely village. Chipping Campden’s the kind of place we’d like to spend more time in.

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