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Kusmi Tea – May Producer of the Month

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Tea is a pleasure and an apothecary. It is ancient and ever-evolving. It may be the one thing that unifies disparate cultures. Chelsea Market Baskets is  delighted to present Kusmi Tea as May’s Product of the Month (though we host tastings every month!)

For 150 years, Kusmi Tea has crafted over 70 varieties – black, green, red and herbal infusions – from whole leaves and extracts sourced  from around the world. Founded in 1867 as the T.M. Kousmichoff Tea House in St. Petersburg, the blended teas produced in the small shop became a favorite of the Romanovs.

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Tribute to Moms for Mother’s Day

tribute to Mom

The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found. ~ Calvin Trillin

On Mother’s’ Day, it nice to give back to a mom with a gift of food or a nice meal since mothers are forever associated with the nourishment they provided during our growing years. As time goes on, we reflect fondly on our mother’s good cooking or laugh about the bad. In honor of Mother’s’ Day, we thought it would be nice to pay tribute to Chelsea Market Basket moms. Below, some of our staff members reflects on how a mother they have known viewed food and provided for their families [click to continue…]

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Shortbread House of Edinburgh

Shortbread House of Edinburgh is our April Producer of the Month. For almost 20 years, Chelsea Market Baskets has been the proud North American importer of Shortbread House of Edinburgh, a heritage brand with a bold new look.

Owned and operated by a family that has run large-scale bakeries for generations throughout the United Kingdom, Shortbread House insists on producing its variety of biscuits, oaties and fingers by hand.

I had a nice chat with Rupert Laing, who recently began sharing management duties with his parents, and with his brother Christopher, who I have known from since they were wee lads. Below are his answers to my questions about the art of shortbread and working with the family.

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In March, along with Saint Patrick’s Day we happily celebrate all things green!

Real mint, as opposed to artificial mint flavoring, makes an enormous difference in recipes that call for the herb. Summerdown Black Mitcham is the rare and real thing. Sir Michael Coleman of Summerdown Farms (of earlier mustard fame) grows mint on his Hampshire Estate. He also uses it to create his line of heritage English chocolate mints. Chelsea Market Baskets began carrying Summerdown Mint products in 2005 and we were the first to bring it to the United States. It has been one of our favorite staples ever since.

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Staff Tasting Single Origin Chocolate Bars

Similar to wine and coffee, the world of chocolate involves many nuanced flavors. Cocoa beans take on a terroir or a taste of the land similar to many foods, whether they are grown in the mountains of South American or near the coast in Viet Nam, the beans taste different. In addition, where and how they are crafted into couverture or their handling once harvested along with the grinding of the beans and the emulsification of the cocoa butter to form chocolate, all contribute to the taste. [click to continue…]

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