Here’s a little post from Donna D on desserts!

I don’t consider anything to be dessert unless it is chocolate and am usually happiest when I am consuming it. I don’t waste precious calories on any type of chocolate. For starters “white chocolate” is an insult to the chocolate family and should seriously be renamed and second of all I really can’t stomach generic mass produced chocolates. At the end of the day, life is too short to eat cheap chocolate. If you share my proclivities, you should be stopping by Mast Brothers Chocolate in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Their chocolate is orgasmic. My favorite is their Maine Sea Salt which is the perfect balance of salty and sweet. If for some reason [which I really could never understand] you don’t care for chocolate, visiting their factory is an experience in itself. You get to see the entire chocolate making process from bean to package. Speaking of package; I am in love with their packaging and design. I seriously couldn’t get enough of this place and can you believe that I just happened to stumble upon it?

Mast Brother Chocolate Factory

Samples of Chocolate

Mast Brothers Double-Chocolate Cookie

Mast Brothers Baker

Bags of Cacao Beans & San Martin Chocolate Samples

Truffles

Chocolate Making Machinery

Mast Brothers Double-Chocolate Cookie & Truffles

Mast Brothers Assorted Chocolate Bars

Macroons

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While I ventured Upstate for the weekend, Donna D stayed local, and spent her Saturday taste-testing Williamsburg. Check out her great shots!

Every Saturday on the Williamsburg waterfront between North 6th and North 7th St., from 11am to 6pm, Smorgasburg brings together food entrepreneurs and established purveyors from New York City and across the region selling both packaged and prepared foods, fresh produce, and other food-related stands. The market is open rain or shine, and man-oh-man, did I get my eat on this past weekend. As you can see from all the photos, I sampled a lot of food. I think I managed to hit up 50 vendors. Some of my favorites were the Lime-in-the-Coconut candy bars from Liddabit Sweets, the S’morgasm from S’more Bakery, braised Pork Belly with sliced cucumber, pickled jalapeno, scallions and hoisin from Bite Size Kitchen, and a shot of Vichyssoise soup from Sea Bean Goods [they are a micro-soupery which I’m dying to try their soup subscription]. If you don’t already know, I have an obsession with carbonated water – so obviously Brooklyn Soda Works‘ Apple Ginger Soda was a major hit to my taste buds. I also picked up some of Grady’s Cold Brew which is a New Orleans–style coffee concentrate and the best staple for a girl that doesn’t have a coffee maker.

White Barn Inn

April 25, 2012

Nestled in the quaint New England coastal town of Kennebunkport, White Barn Inn was one of my first stops through southern Maine last week, and one I thoroughly enjoyed. An intimate, classic inn setting, I was welcomed with open arms into the kitchen of Grand Chef, Jonathan Cartwright, to taste his Forbes Five Star menu. Feasting on more than my stomach could take, it was too delicious to leave the plate anything but clean. The various courses included an appetizer of Pan Roast New England Quail Breast and Foie Gras with a Basket of Smoked Leg Confit and Forest Mushroom Risotto. Parmesan Cheese Ice Cream with Crisp Fig Fitter as an intermezzo and Local Salmon Filet in a Parma Ham “Jacket” with Bacon Wrapped Scallop, Spaghetti Squash and Maple Dijon Mustard Sauce for the main course. Although it didn’t stop there, as I had to try Cartwright’s specialty smoked lobster dish and finished off with a multitude of desserts. The entire inn was more than welcoming, and certainly a must-stay for anyone traveling to the Pine Tree State. I hope to return very soon, next time booking an extra day to take advantage of their luxurious spa treatments!

A walk along Kennebunkport's rocky coastline and White Barn Inn

Smoked lobster

An extra dish from the chef

Lounge area

Parmesan Cheese Ice Cream with Crisp Fig Fitter

Inn interior

Pan Roast New England Quail Breast and Foie Gras with a Basket of Smoked Leg Confit and Forest Mushroom Risotto

Local Salmon Filet in a Parma Ham "Jacket"

Bacon wrapped scallop

Salmon

Front Porch at May's Annex

Grand Chef, Jonathan Cartwright's signature smoked lobster dish

Grand Marnier souffle with chocolate sauce

Grand Marnier souffle with chocolate sauce and sorbet

Espresso

Front porch

Maine blueberry sorbet

Breakfast Quiche

Fresh bread

Muffins

Fresh berries

Breakfast meat selection

Perfect for a Picnic

April 19, 2012

When I was back in Syracuse browsing through Wegmans, I discovered a combo for the perfect snack. Their fresh apple cider bread, with actual pieces of baked apple throughout, is amazing enough eating it alone. But topped off with brie and a nut/raisin spread made it complete. Easy enough to pack in your picnic basket the next time you’re looking for an outdoor snack.

I’m off to Maine for a few days to shoot those beautiful New England coastal towns and delicious local seafood fare. Be back next week! x

Apple Cider Bread

Brie and nuts spread

Apple Cider bread with brie and nut spread

Easter Desserts

April 12, 2012

My parent’s house was a makeshift bakery this past Saturday. Filled with the aromas of melting chocolate, bread cooking in the oven, and bits of flour trailing around, the end result was well worth it. We baked the usual Italian chocolate filled cookies and banana bread to share with friends and family. Luckily they’ve lasted me through the week and I even have a loaf frozen. A great find and prop for the shoot was the 1950’s mixer I took home from my grandmother’s house. Still need to get it working, but for now, it’s a perfect vintage accent to keep as kitchen decor.

Chocolate filled cookies

Banana Bread

Chocolate Filled Cookies

My favorite dough

Banana bread

With the flowers blooming all across Central Park, taking an enjoyable walk home is a far better option than the subway. The sun was setting to create a beautiful golden light on the cherry blossoms, lilac gardens and midtown’s skyline. After all that walking, why not take the time for a quick snack. Local favorites of mine include breads from Sarabeth’s and Ciao Bella’s Green Tea gelato from the new foodie shop in town– Gastronomie 491, that is part cafe part gourmet market.

Happy Weekend! I’m heading Upstate for Easter, so be sure to check back soon for all the holiday menus! x

Green Tea Gelato

Central Park

Green Tea Gelato

Sarabeth's breads

Sarabeth's raisin bread

Trees in bloom

A Taste of Sprüngli

March 28, 2012

A couple weeks ago a friend from Zurich was visiting, and brought me a box of my favorite Swiss chocolates from Sprüngli. The bright package of miniature truffles included a taste of hazelnut, plain, cappuccino and bourbon vanilla flavors. Immediately wishing I was back on my 2010 summer holiday in Switzerland, I ate my dessert while browsing through my photo archive to pull up those summer days spent out on the lake taking in the fresh air of the Alps. And now I’m ready to go back.

Lake Luzern Bath House and Sprüngli chocolates

Bourbon Vanilla & Hazelnut truffles and Lake Luzern

Sprüngli

Lake Luzern & Bourbon Vanilla truffles

Zurich and a cappuccino truffle