Tag Archives: shop local

Spring Events Roundup: May We Have Your Attention Please

When spring hits in Boston, it hits hard and fast, like a home run hit in Fenway park. Hard as the sound of a million boat shoes hitting the patio pavement. Fast as a bunch of rosé bottles being emptied into a slushy machine. If you blink, you might miss it and you’ll already be headed into the dog days of summer, sitting in traffic on your way back from the Cape.

As unpredictable as the weather can be here in New England, there are a few things we can rely on. There will be at least a few nice days. And there will be lots of events with great opportunities to try new things, whether it’s food, alcohol, or meeting new people. We’ve spent a lot of time shoveling, de-icing, and sitting indoors – spring means we’ve earned a little rosé on the patio time.

Plus, we had to get in on the action ourselves. Below, learn more about a dinner party at Steel & Rye and two events we are hosting in the store this spring.

Thursday May 4th $95
Steel & Rye House Party #3
Six stunning courses paired with wine from one of our favorite local importers, Oz Wine Company. Chef Brendan Joy will be cooking up a spring menu, and AP will be contributing with a cheese course. Space is very limited! Call S&R to reserve your spot.

Saturday May 6th 6-9pm FREE
Hip Hop & Rosé
Join us in the store to taste fresh wines and hear fresh tunes. We will be pouring samples, and DJ Ryan Brown will be spinning in the store while you shop and drink.

Saturday May 20th 6:30pm TBA
Natural Wines 101
When you think of additives and chemicals, you probably think of twinkies or lunchables – but do you ever think about what goes in mass-produced wine? Mike from Mise Wines will be here talking about their specialty – natural wines. What they are, what they aren’t, and what that word actually means when it comes to wine. Stay woke. Subscribe to our email list to stay in the know about when tickets are released for this event.

Now, check out some of these local chosen events with people, things, and places that we love.

APRIL

Saturday April 22nd 11am-10pm FREE
Pennypacker’s Pig Roast
@Night Shift Brewing
New England natives and beer brewing heroes Night Shift combine with Pennypackers, a culinary delight, to bring you this event at Night Shift taproom.

Sunday April 23rd 3-5pm $5
GUAC OFF
@the Painted Burro
Attention, guac lovers! Entrants to this event will put their best avocado forward in hopes to bring home the prize: a $400 gift card and the chance to grace the Painted Burro’s menu. Ticket proceeds will benefit No Kid Hungry. As an attendee, you will get to try and vote on your favorite guac(s).

Tuesday April 25th 7-9pm $30
DIY Spent Grain Dog Treat Class
@Slumbrew
At this informational class, learn how to use a beer brewing by-product to make healthy treats for your dog.

Saturday April 29-30th 10am-4pm FREE
SoWa Open Market Kick-Off Weekend
@450 Harrison Ave
Boston’s biggest outdoor market needs no introduction. With a farmer’s market, vintage sellers, plenty of food trucks, and live music; it’s no wonder this is one of our favorite spring/summer rituals.

MAY

Monday May 1st 7:30-9:30pm $30
Beers & Bites: Wings!
@Harpoon Brewery
Wings from 10 different Boston restaurants and 20 beers on tap!

Wednesday May 3rd 8-10pm FREE
Opinionation
@Sixth Gear Cask & Kitchen
This isn’t your typical trivia – teams guess the most popular answer to questions. The more popular the answer, the more points you get. And of course, there are prizes. If you’re a fan of Family Feud you have to check this out. This event happens every Wednesday.

Thursday May 4th 6:30-7:30pm $15
Tea Basics 101
@MEM TEA
This workshop will take you through the different types of teas, where they come from, the processing of the plants, and their health benefits.

Saturday May 13th 10am-5pm FREE
Bubble Party!
@Evy Tea
All patios aren’t just for alcohol – some have bubble tea and cold brew too!

Saturday May 13th 12pm-11pm FREE
Springtime Spectacular at the Lawn on D
If you’ve never been to or heard of the Lawn on D, it’s the place where everyone takes pictures on those luminous swings. This event will have all the bells and whistles an opening day should: food, music, drinks, and activities.

Saturday May 13th 12:30-4pm or 5:30-9pm $59.50
Beer Summit
@The Castle
This event is a must for beer lovers. Join local and international brewers at the Castle in Boston for their 9th year running.

Saturday May 13th 12-1:30pm & Sunday May 14th 2-3:30 $24-60
Mother’s Day Truffle Making Workshop with Taza Chocolate
@Boston Public Market
Learn how to roll truffles for mom at this hands on class. Taza Chocolate and The KITCHEN will provide the ganache, chocolate, and toppings. You’ll leave with a dozen truffles and a one of a kind gift for mom.

Sunday May 14th 10am-3pm FREE
Lilac Sunday
@the Arboretum
Lilacs only bloom once a year, and the Arboretum makes a day of it. Tours, family activities, food trucks, and dog watching are key parts of this festival.

Monday May 15th 9am-4pm members/non-members $100/$150
Sensory Evaluation of Cheese Workshop
@Boston Public Market
MA Cheese Guild collaborates with The KITCHEN on this intensive one-day workshop. This course, offered by cheese educator Dr. Montserrat Almena, is an opportunity for anyone serious about cheese to improve sensory skills and understanding of cheese quality.

Saturday May 20th 11am-4pm FREE
Kite & Bike Festival
@Franklin Park
Come ride bikes and fly kites at this historic annual event. Franklin Park’s opening day will have food trucks, music, and Boston Bikes will be supplying bikes to ride.

Friday May 26th 6:30-10:30pm FREE
Friday Brass with Boycott and the Hartford Hot Several
@Aeronaut Brewery
This monthly brass band show series caught our eye because the hosts are our friends at Aeronaut Brewery. Definitely one of our favorite taprooms in the Boston area, Aeronaut has options on tap for every beer lover, from IPAs to sours. Have a beer and put some brass in your step.

Hopefully this list gets you started with some spring fun, but when in doubt: spend a day hanging out on the Charles, walking through the North End, people watching in Boston Common, or enjoying an American Provisions Italian while watching the waves at the M street beach. Have a specific event or must-do thing in spring? Leave a comment below.

Bantam Cider: An Apple a Day…

Tucked on a tiny side street about a five-minute walk from the heart of Somerville’s Union Square is Bantam Cider. Thankfully, signs mark the way in, as it is an industrial-style space that might otherwise shy away the less adventurous. It is here that Bantam conducts their production facility Monday through Friday, churning out unique and delicious ciders that they distribute throughout Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York City, Chicago, and Massachusetts. Lining the outer wall, big steel drums hold huge batches of their flagship ciders, awaiting canning. Oak barrels are pushed against the back wall, aging experimental batches within. A worker precisely handles an interesting filtering device that looks like a bunch of folders in need of filing. But this space isn’t purely production – Bantam is an urban facility, but they also function as a taproom on weekends. Which is why much of that equipment sprawled out in the space by day is on wheels — it gets rolled away to make room for an urban cider oasis.

Manager Christina Bencivenni is my guide, and serves me up a cider in a tulip shaped glass. I choose “Hopped Scrumpy,” due to the description that includes Mosaic, Amarillo, and Centennial hops. Coming from someone who has been more on the cider & sour train as opposed to the hop hype, I find it delicate, refreshing, and palate pleasing. For the last three years, Bencivenni’s been Bantam’s sales manager and has been in the interesting position of seeing not only Bantam grow, but also witnessing the shift in the increasing involvement of women in the micro-brewing workplace. Dana Masterpolo and Michelle da Silva are the founders of Bantam, and according to Bencivenni, “to say they are involved is the biggest understatement of the century.” She goes on to say, “They’re the hardest working women I’ve ever met and they’re pretty inspiring with how dedicated they are to the quality of our product.”

After five days of full-time production and getting product out to distributors who will then get them to the consumers, you’d think they’d want to take a break, right? Nope; at 5 p.m. on Friday when most Bostonites are heading home for some R&R, Bantam is setting up their taproom. They move out the equipment and move in the tables, complete with jars of complimentary pretzels. Guests can grab a draught for $6 or a flight of 5 for $10, and enjoy a free tour while there. I assumed Bencivenni was exaggerating when she said Masterpolo and da Silva “literally live here” but maybe she isn’t so far off.

If you live in Boston and are interested in cider, or know someone who is, you may be able to recognize Bantam’s cans on sight. The sharp design and bright, primary colors draw your eye. It’s simple, but chic. The transition to cans, like many other local producers, was a no-brainer. They’re easily transportable, suffer from less light pollution, and are better for the environment. If you can’t get to the taproom, these are a great option for you to enjoy the cider. But if you can – go growler! Or should I say, growlette -not only are the glass 32 oz bottles adorable, they also have several other uses – water bottles, flower vase, spice storage – the list goes on. Not to mention, these mini growlers open the possibilities to sampling every kind of cider that Bantam offers without fear of waste.Perhaps the best thing about the wide variety of Bantam’s ciders is that you can find a unique cider to pair with almost any of your favorite cheeses. Check out some of our favorites below.

Pairing Possibilities

Wunderkind
Crisp, clean, & bubbly due to sparkling wine yeast and a touch of flower blossom honey.
Pair with: local VT brie Jasper Hill’s Moses Sleeper or french triple cream Delice de Bourgogne

Rojo
Tart and semi-dry fermented with an ale yeast, sour cherries, and black peppercorns.
Pair with: ash ripened goat cheese Ruggles Hill Brother’s Walk

The Americain
Liquid apple pie. Still dry but slightly sweeter than the rest with rose petals, green cardamom, coriander, clove, and cinnamon.
Pair with: Parish Hill’s cider washed Hermit or Daphne’s Snowy Cheddar

Find the three aforementioned ciders on our shelves at AP, or head to the taproom at 55 Merriam St in Somerville for Hopped Scrumpy and more.

All pictures and words by the author.

Jam Out: A Conversation with Bonnie Shershow

Fruit preserves – the key is in the second word. For us New Englanders – slaves to the seasons – it’s an irresistible treat to get a taste of summer-ripened fruit on your plate in the middle of March. Even as the latest Nor’easter bears down upon us, let each bite remind you that though winter is here (and still coming, apparently) there is a drop of sunshine on the east coast that we can still enjoy – and it comes in different flavors.

Bonnie Shershow, the founder and owner of Bonnie’s Jams, was kind enough to speak to me about her product and how she got her start in the jam business. First of all, it was kind of an accident. How she tells it, Shershow got her start in jam making as her mothers helper, in their California home surrounded by berry bushes and fruit trees. Later in life, Shershow achieved a graduate degree from the Kennedy School at Harvard. She worked managing non-profits, political campaigns, and did marketing. Through it all, she made jam as a hobby, but she never thought it would become a career. Things clicked when Formaggio kitchen started carrying her jams 17 years ago – Shershow says, “At one point, I thought I should be paying them, it was such a thrill to see it on the shelf.”

A Question of pectin…

Many of Bonnie’s Jams have the telltale description “no pectin” on the label. I had no idea what pectin was, but I presumed it was some sort of negative additive. I referred myself to Google, and learned that it was a plant-derived substance with a variety of applications, both in food and medicine. Shershow informs me, “Pectin’s not bad for you – in fact, pectin can be good for you.”

So what’s all the fuss about pectin in jam? It boils down to this (pun intended) – sugar and water.

Let’s say you’re making jam in a pot with a bunch of fruit and sugar, and you add pectin. It is a thickening component – so the jam is ready in maybe a half hour. When Shershow makes her pots of jams, she cooks the fruit down for several hours, adds only a touch of sugar, and no pectin. This does a couple of things. In the first scenario, with the pectin, we had to add a lot of sugar (according to Shershow, some recipes call for a 1:1 ratio of sugar to fruit). The sugar is compensating for the water that is still in the jam – it’s helping it taste yummy. But if you let the jam thicken by cooking it down more, you’re removing the need for both a thickener and extra sugar to compensate for loss of flavor. You’re also subtracting the possibility that the pectin will change the actual flavor of the fruit preserve.

How can pectin change the flavor? Well, because pectin itself is made from fruit. It is found crabapples, citrus peels, and many other fruits. Hence why Shershow avoids using the derivative in most of her products – “I don’t like using it in berries or stone fruit jams. I want the flavor of that particular fruit to be pure; I don’t want it to have a citrus taste.”

On the flip side, Shershow tells me she uses pectin in her Red Pepper Jelly, a delightful product that we can barely keep in stock at AP. Pectin has a place in the Red Pepper Jelly – it’s a more liquid base, and it has vinegar as an ingredient. So, Shershow uses an orange peel based pectin that gels with the red pepper flavor. (Last pun, I promise.)

Finally, we get to the fun part. Shershow and I got to talk pairings, and she gave me some of her favorites. Cheese and meat may be the star of the show for snacking spreads – but accoutrements are the sidekicks that all superheroes need to shine. Jams have a way of elevating a cheese board – they bring taste, differentiating texture, and color to your appetizers. Keep scrolling for some visual inspiration for your next cheese board.

Nuts and honey & Chiriboga blue
The sweet, salty crunch of nuts & honey marries perfectly with a creamy blue. We love the rindless Chiriboga, a Bavarian blue so decadent it’s been made into ice cream. Fair warning – it’s addictive; this pairing should come with a waiver.

Strawberry Rhubarb & Lake’s Edge
If you’re after less of a punch and more of a delicate handshake, try this pairing on for size. Somewhere between creamy and fudgy, Lake’s Edge is an ash ripened goat cheese. Paired with Strawberry Rhubarb jam, it’s spring in a bite.

Peach Ginger & Twig Farm Goat Tomme
This pairing is a double whammy of tang, and I’m not talking chimpanzees. A snap of ginger and stone fruit with a crack of goat will have your palette on its toes.

Black and Blue & Marcel Petit Comte
Juicy berries with one of our favorite French alpine cheeses? Yes please! Kick up this pairing and make a warm tart with the black and blue and shave some Comte on top. Melty.

Fig preserves & literally any cheese
The best part about pairings is that it’s all up to you and your taste. We love Fig preserve with everything from our best selling Cabot Clothbound cheddar to taleggio. You can mix it in with some yogurt, or have it on a slice of toast with Ploughgate butter. Experiment. Find what you love. That’s what it’s all about.

All pictures and words by the author.

Claire Cheney’s Cabinet of Curiosities

Note by the author:
This interview with Claire Cheney from Curio Spice Co. will be the first
in a series of a spotlight on woman owned & operated businesses.

Curio Spice Co. is a tiny spice shop owned by Claire Cheney on Mass Ave in Cambridge. Just down the road from Davis & Porter Squares, it has a sanctuary-esque feeling. An avid traveler and collector of curiosities, Cheney has a way of blending both spices and ambiance. Old fashioned looking instruments, animal skulls, and a copy of the Drunken Botanist frame her spice blend and salt offerings. Curated to be an aromatic experience, each shelf has a row of clear jars so you can see and smell the spices. It’s one thing to talk the talk of being a small sustainable business but she really does walk the walk – 99% of the spices on her shelves are fair trade, organic, and/or from small sustainable farms.

Cheney grew up in Massachusetts and spent an impressionable part of her childhood in a shipbuilding town on the coast of Maine. She credits her first solo-abroad trip to Ghana as one event that spurred her interest in botany. She says, “People don’t have access to western style doctors, so there’s a lot of tribal medicine and using the plants in their environment, and I was curious about that.”

Curiouser and curiouser….

She went on to study at Oberlin, a small liberal arts college in Ohio, where she majored in creative writing and environmental studies. As far as her studies contribution to her business acumen, Cheney attributes more the critical thinking and creative skills she acquired at school with bringing her success than her actual degree. She jokes, “I sometimes will mix it up and say I was a creative studies major, cause it sometimes felt like that. Very, very interdisciplinary.”

At Oberlin, she worked as the Local Foods Coordinator at an 800-person food and living co-op. That meant she traveled to Amish farms in Ohio to source vegetables and eggs direct from the farms. Being a woman, the farmers would not make eye contact when she spoke to them, and would only speak to the male she was working with. Also impactful was her senior thesis on wild foods, which started as a project on the wild blueberry industry in Maine, but expanded wildly. She talks about interviewing Alice Waters as part of her project, who is a proponent of the slow food movement, food activist, and all around badass; as I would talk about meeting Beyonce (but with less hyperventilating). She credits her project as being very beneficial to defining her passion for local, organic, and sustainable food practices. You can tell she’s brought her interests full circle: she informs me of her newest spice blend offering named Herbes de Romance contains wild oregano from her folk’s farm up in Maine.

Cheney’s current business model is fashioned around becoming a certified B Corp, short for benefit corporation. A benefit corporation has a mission statement that goes beyond just profit. Other businesses that have achieved B Corp status include Kickstarter, and Cheney’s friends at the company Susty Party, who sell compostable party supplies. To be certified, you need to create a set of achievable goals to fulfill your mission, which vary depending on the business. Curio Spice Co.’s mission is rooted in environmental responsibility and gender equality.

Cheney points out, “it’s a little bit tricky for consumers, because there’s so much language on packaging. Whether it’s organic, now it’s non-GMO, there’s fair trade, then there’s words like sustainable and natural.” As more and more people are becoming aware, “natural” is often used to make a packaged food seem less processed – that doesn’t mean it’s true. While for-profit corporations only have a responsibility to how they can achieve financial success, B Corps also consider environmental and social factors.

If you look closely at the label, you can see the silhouette of a bear. That, according to Cheney, is because bears are super sniffers. After a little bit of my own research, I discovered bears have a sense of smell seven times greater than that of a bloodhound. That, together with Cheney’s affinity for perfumes gives an inkling as to how much sourcing spices direct has to with picking up scents. “It’s a similar process to spice blending, using your nose and finding cool combinations. I’ve studied some natural perfume and it’s helped develop my sensory abilities.”

Cheney has put those sensory abilities she’s gained to work; she seems to always be going on spice hunting trips, her latest of which being a vanilla quest in Madagascar which you can read about in her new blog post. Her social media accounts certainly capture her passion for spices and are a wonderful way to feel like you’re on an adventure right alongside her. As she says, “I think it makes people enjoy the food more when you have the story behind it.”

As for her spice blends, they are very exact, “down to the gram,” Cheney assures me. Her scales also have to be certified by the city because of weights and measures regulations. When I was considering Curio, and wondering about, of all the things I could ask Cheney, about her cool products and amazing travels, the phrase “The whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts” by Aristotle came briefly to mind. When I asked Cheney if she agreed with that assessment, she said, “That’s what’s cool about blending – and you could say the same about cooking. When you combine certain things and it creates a balance, it transcends all the individual ingredients.”

Some of Claire Cheney’s favorite flavor combinations:
Southeast Asian: lemongrass, makrut lime, and long pepper
Greek & Mediterranean: Oregano, saffron, lemon, and thyme

Find Curio Spices at American Provisions in the spice section.

All photos and article by Hillary Anderson.

Butternut Squash & Poblano Pepper Chili

butternutblog7The recent cold snap has put us here at AP in the mood for some delicious comfort food. I decided to take some of the latest local offerings from Enterprise Farm out of western Massachusetts to put together a hearty chili to warm up from the inside out. Beautiful poblano peppers and seasonal butternut squash are the stars of this cozy dish.

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For the chili:

2 tbsp olive or coconut oil
1 whole red onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic
3 large poblano peppers
1 large butternut squash
5 stalks celery
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 lb ground beef *
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cinnamon

 

on top:

sour cream or crème fraiche
sliced avocado
l’amuse signature gouda
salt, to taste
lime juice, to taste

 

1. Roast the poblano peppers in the oven at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes until the skin is just starting to look blistered. Peel and cube the butternut squash into ½ inch pieces while they’re cooking.

2. De-seed the poblano peppers and chop roughly into ½ inch pieces. Chop stalks of celery.

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3. Chop the onion and garlic. Throw onion into a large pot with your oil on medium heat. Stir every couple of minutes, waiting until fragrant, about 5-10 minutes. Add in the butternut squash and poblano peppers. Stir. Add in the celery.

4. Let everything cook on medium high heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the ground beef and brown in the pot for a couple of minutes.

5. Add the can of tomatoes, black beans, and tomato paste. Season with chili powder and cinnamon. Stir, cover and cook on medium low heat for 15-20 minutes.

6. After the chili cools, top with lime juice, sour cream, sliced avocado, salt, and for extra brownie points shred a little (or a lot) of l’amuse gouda on top!

* if you are a vegetarian or don’t want beef, another can of black beans works just as well in its place.

Enjoy!

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September Box Club: Beer & Wine

The treasures you see before you are the result of an epic journey. Our journey to acquire the elusive royalty of Vermont made products. The beers in this box have earned world class ratings from those who have been lucky enough to try them. They are outstanding examples of their styles, as well as some of the best beers that the Green Mountain state has to offer. The hype and excitement displayed at a name drop of these breweries is enough to make anyone curious, but it isn’t until you experience the Vermont beer scene that you can really understand…

Until you wait in lines behind fellow travelers with large bags being filled with growlers; until you drive a few hundred miles across the state, hopping in and out at each store to check their supply…you can’t understand. For those two days of our journey, we became part of the devoted. We traveled far and waited patiently for these elusive gems. The Vermont beers and products in this box are a result of fierce devotion — the obvious devotion displayed by their fans, but more importantly, the devotion of their makers. It is their commitment to making local, stand out products, and their love of the craft that makes this Vermont box so incredibly amazing.

Some of Vermont’s Finest

The Alchemist Heady Topper Double IPA: Even John Kimmich, the co-owner and head brewer of The Alchemist, whose likeness is portrayed on the illustration on Heady Topper cans, could not have predicted the immensely positive reception of their double IPA by New Englanders. Heady Topper has been in incredibly high demand since it was first brewed back in 2003; this hop packed ale has a huge cult following, who luckily enough have a website completely devoted to tracking the beers’ whereabouts. Over 45,000 cans of Heady Topper are released to select stores and restaurants around Vermont and they usually sell out within a few hours. Heady Topper’s popularity can be attributed to the beers’ layers of complex hop flavors and aromas ranging from tropical orange to pine-y spice, but what really makes this beer a top tier beverage is the quality of execution – a factor that we have come to expect (and delight in) from Vermont breweries.

Lawson’s Finest Sip of Sunshine IPA: The only way we could follow a world class beer from Vermont is with another world class beer from Vermont. Lucky for you, we were able to collect a few precious cans of Lawson’s Finest Sip of Sunshine IPA! This bright yellow tall boy is one of the many small batch brews that Lawson’s Finest cranks out at their microbrewery in Warren, VT. After one sip of this Sunshine IPA, the quality of this beer is undeniable. Pouring a hazy golden color with a short creamy head, Sip of Sunshine bursts with tropical fruit scents. Notes of fresh squeezed oranges, grapefruit pith, and mango fruit sweetness mingle with perfection among leafy hop bitterness and whispers of pine. The smooth, round body of Sip of Sunshine is so light and creamy, with almost a nitro like quality – making it seriously hard for the sipping to stop.

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Hill Farmstead Brewery ArthurOur last beer from our Vermont journey strays from the previous IPA styles, but it is in no way inferior in terms of quality or taste. From an equally revered Vermont brewery, we have for you – Arthur from Hill Farmstead. A true local resident of Vermont, Hill Farmstead Brewery sits on the land that belonged to the brewers’ grandfather and his 13 siblings. Following traditional methods and using locally sourced ingredients is incredibly important in the creation of Hill Farmstead beers. Arthur (the youngest brother of 13) is brewed with their distinctive farmhouse yeast, American malted barley, and water from their own well. Described by many as a meticulously excellent example of a saison, Arthur has a full doughy malt body with notes of  yeasty funk. The earthy malts are matched wonderfully by zesty lemon tartness , subtle grassy hops, and a clean, refreshing finish.

 

September Wines

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September is the border month between summer and fall. Lovely cool nights follow sporadically hot days as the weather awkwardly transitions. To help with the temperature confusion, we offer these bottles as a liquid transition. For these lingering hot days, we have a powerfully refreshing white wine that can stand up to the heat. As the nights get chilly and our palates become ready for something with a little more weight, you’ll need this full bodied red with some serious substance. And for the awkward in between days, find comfort in a gorgeous bottle of red wine, so light and lively it can even stand to be slightly chilled for those porch sipping times.

Château de l’Oiselinière de la Ramée Muscadet 2013Muscadet is the highest produced wine in the Loire Valley of France, with the Chéreau family being one of the most prominent names in its production. Today Château de l’Oiselinière is run by Bernard Chéreau, the son of  Monsieur Chéreau and Edmonde Carré, who combined their names at the start of their estate in 1960. Created by organic farming and indigenous yeast, this Muscadet is aged for 6 months on the lees. This process gives the wine its slight bubbly quality, which mingles perfectly with an abundance of acidity. Lively citrus flavors of grapefruit and lemon are balanced by white flowers and salty freshness in this high quality bottle.

Broc Cellars Love Red 2014A great transitional wine, Broc Cellars’ third release of Love Red is full of incredibly fresh juicy fruit. This sultry dressed bottle contains three grape varieties – the majority being Carignan, with a little of Valdique and Syrah. The belief at Broc Cellars is that minimal intervention is necessary for their wines to develop a specific character and complexity. For Love Red, malolactic fermentation was allowed to happen naturally, giving the wine a soft, round body. This softness however, is merely an understatement to the lively acidity and red fruit flavors of red berries and spicy anise. Enjoy this gorgeous bottle of wine at room temperature or slightly chill the bottle for a fun early fall drink!

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Chateau d’Archambeau Graves Bordeaux 2010This red will get you ready for the colder nights with this big bottle of Bordeaux. The Dubourdieu family have been running Chateau d’Archambeau in Graves for several generations. The Graves region of France is named such because of its gravel filled soils – a factor that gives the wines such strong minerality. An equal blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this 2010 Bordeaux has a rich full taste, with plump roundness and soft tannins. Pair this Feminalise Gold medal winner with your first batch of roasted fall vegetables and a hearty protein.

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Snacks

For New England, September is a beautiful month in which to enjoy the pleasing temperature and changing landscape. We picked the state of Vermont as the quintessential New England representation,  mostly because of the scenery, but also because of the killer local products that the state produces. Many of the products at American Provisions are the result of a fierce passion and a love for locally made goods – several of which come to us from Vermont. The three snacks in this box are Vermont made, which could also be titled “Made with Love”.

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Big Picture Farm Cider Honey Caramels: Big Picture Farm is an insanely idyllic piece of paradise hidden away in the windy back roads of Townsend, VT. A true labor of love, the 87 acres of farmland making up Big Picture belong to two of the kindest, most creative, and inspiring people you will ever meet: Louisa Conrad and Lucas Farrell. For a little over five years, Louisa and Lucas have had a hand in every aspect of their business of creating goat’s milk caramels and cheeses. From personally herding, feeding, and caring for their 40+ goats, to designing each beautiful illustration on the caramel boxes, not to mention tackling everyday problems like jams in their rolling machine or plumbing issues from expanding construction that affect cheesemaking. These tedious issues don’t stop them from creating many many delicious goat caramel flavors, like the one in this box: Cider Honey, which is made with a local Vermont cider jelly and honey.

Poor Farm Collective Maple Syrup: Poor Farm Collective in Vershire, VT is, as their name implies, supported by a community of sugarmakers in the Vershire area. Poor Farm was started by Sam Kelman and Makenna Goodman with a mission of creating a local product with sustainable methods. Their syrup is made with wood-fired evaporators – an old fashioned and more traditional method than larger producers of syrup use. The magical time for syrup in Vermont happens mid March to April, when the sugarmakers bring life to the woods with their tractors and horses, ready to carry away gallons of freshly tapped sap. It took about 2.5 gallons of sap to make the one half pint bottle of distinctively tasty Vermont maple syrup in this box.

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Jasper Hill Cellars OmaOma, the washed rind, tomme style cheese in the boxes this month, is not only a personal favorite, but also a prime example of a Vermont made product. For over three generations the von Trapp farm has been a certified dairy farm and have more recently  become a cheese making operation in Waitsfield. Their fellow cheesemakers at Jasper Hill Farm, assist the production of Oma by housing many wheels of it in their cellars in Greensboro. In the specifically calibrated vault #6 of the Cellars at Jasper Hill, wheels of Oma slowly ripen into an earthy orange rind covering the pungent buttery paste full of rich flavors of roasted nuts and cured meat.

Call the store at (617) 269-6100, email us at info@americanprovisions.com, or ask a staffer for more information on signing yourself or someone you love up for the Beer or Wine of the Month Club!  

The 2014 American Provisions Gift Guide

We can officially stop pretending we aren’t ready yet when Bing Crosby’s croon comes on the radio, because the month we wait for all year is finally here!

Hopefully you survived whatever giant sales you took part in this weekend—whether you prefer the FOMO stress of Cyber Monday, or the war games of Black Friday, you are on the other side of it now. All that’s left is filling in the holes between flat screens and Xboxes with thoughtful, unique choices your friends and family don’t know they need. That is where we come in.

You can view last year’s gift guide for additional ideas, but here we will focus mostly on new giftable products we’re excited about (with a few familiar favorites tossed in). Hopefully you can find something for everyone on your list—even if your family doesn’t know the difference between a chocolate truffle and a truffle mushroom, everybody loves to eat. Wake up their inner foodie with some of these treats! Continue reading

October Beer & Wine of the Month Club

The seasons of 2014 have brought with them plenty of false starts and overstayed welcomes. Winter hung around longer than anyone wanted, spring either didn’t exist or lasted til July depending on how you look at it. And now we can’t seem to let go of summer as mixed weather messages are thrown our way (even though the leaves are speaking in unequivocal colors, it’s hard to carve a pumpkin when its 80 degrees outside).

vscocam784We’ve assembled this month’s box with these contradictions in mind. Ordinarily we’d be resigned to several months of hefty reds, Belgian quads, stouts and porters by now, but it just didn’t seem right to lay the heavy stuff on you just yet. Here you have a DIPA and a barrel-aged Belgian Tripel to balance out the obligatory pumpkin beer (which we happen to think is one of the best out this year). You have a spicy Spanish red blend and two lively whites that are big and bold enough for any cuisine. And to stand up to these intense flavors, you have a scrappy little washed rind wheel, a cooked-down apple cider reduction, a tangy cinnamon apple mustard, and salty pumpkin caramel corn, all of which pair beautifully with your beer and wine. All told, we think this medley of fall flavors come together to tell the story of a very in-between, very colorful season. Continue reading

To the Makers!

We like to think every day at AP is a celebration of our makers, but this past weekend we made things real official with a rager thrown in their honor. Chalksign

On Saturday night, the store closed early for an all-out after-hours bash, where we introduced some of our favorite local craftspeople to their devoted fanbase in Southie and welcomed some newcomers and out-of-towners to celebrate the artisanal New England scene, too. Continue reading

Hop Harvest 2014

photo-46What you have here, is essentially a love song to Peak Organic Brewing & Blue Heron Organic Farm. But it’s disguised as a recap of their annual Hop Harvest event, so just play along, ok?

Each year for the past 3-4 years (no one can seem to remember exactly, maybe due to the boozy nature of the event), Peak & Blue Heron have co-hosted a hoe-down that is pretty much the best. Their annual Hop Harvest began when Peak was looking for more local organic hop farmers to use for their 100% organic beers, and Ellery of Blue Heron had just started experimenting with growing hops for use in her own homebrews. Continue reading

Grillo’s Comes to AP / AP Goes to Grillo’s

photo-41A long time ago, before restaurant menus started boasting brine in every appetizer, before the food world fell mouth-over-heels for pickles (and before Portlandia made fun of us for it), Travis Grillo had a crazy idea.

In 2008, the founder of the now-ubiquitous Boston-based pickle company had just endured a rather involved interview process for a job at Nike when the pickle idea came to him. Nike narrowed it down to just two candidates, and when they chose an inside guy, Travis gave the corporate world the proverbial middle finger and decided to start selling pickles out of the back of a wooden cart built by his cousin Eric. Continue reading

July Beer of the Month Club

For this patriotic month,we couldn’t help but assemble a box of comestibles that come to you from all across this great nation. From San Francisco to South Carolina and the great plains of Missouri, Oklahoma and Michigan in between, the goods in your box are a country-trotting bunch. And what better way to celebrate our country’s Independence than with fried pork skins and Bruce Springsteen beer!photo (21)

Tangential characteristics aside, the beers in our July collection have something else in common—brettanomyces. These bottles don’t have a wild side, they are wild on all sides. And really, what more do you need in a July beer? Everyone is trying to let loose this month—be it partying on a boat, wearing clothes you’d scoff at the rest of the year, or going skinny-dipping at midnight. These beers live life on the edge, and they encourage you to do the same. Continue reading