Need a Holiday Sugar Fix? Head to Danvers.

Posted: December 14th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Bakery, Cakes for Occasions, Danvers | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Whether you’re in need of treats for a holiday gathering or looking for a wow-them hostess gift, Cakes for Occasions is the place to go.

The Danvers bakery has been featured on “TV Diner,” “The Today Show,” and even “Home Shopping Network,” so we were eager to see what all the fuss was about.

Walking through the door is like stepping into a sugar-fueled fantasy. Rows of gorgeous cakes, pastries, and cupcakes await your ogling pleasure, as well as shelves full of cookies, candies, and all manner of treats. We love the fact that you can see into the decorating kitchen to watch cakes being created.

Owner Kelly Delaney had a few minutes to chat with us and told us about the store’s recent renovations, which doubled the space this summer. Delaney is smart, funny, and clearly knows her business.

Overwhelmed by the array of treats, we opted to try a few varieties of cupcakes. The cupcakes range from traditional chocolate and vanilla to gourmet flavors like Death by Chocolate, Mocha Bliss, 24Karrot, and Strawberry Grand Marnier. ($1.25 to $2.95).

There’s nothing worse than a cupcake that’s all décor and no flavor, but these beauties weren’t just pretty to look at. The chocolate cupcake topped with coconut frosting was lush and moist, and the frosting had rich coconut flavor. The snowman-topped holiday cupcake we brought home for our junior tasted garnered raves as well. She was delighted that the frosting was “light and creamy, not heavy and gross.”

We also tried a few of cocktail-inspired mini-cakes dubbed Cupcakes After 5 ($2.25). Both the Champagne & Strawberries and the Kahlua Mudslide were delicious, but we didn’t find them particularly boozy. And because they are smaller, the topping-to-cake ratio gives a sweeter overall experience. For the price, we’d go with the larger specialty flavors.

Those with special dietary needs will be glad to know that bakery is not only 100% nut-free, but also offers options for gluten free and sugar-free treats, so don’t be afraid to inquire.

Cakes for Occasions has a .pdf Holiday menu and online ordering at their website, but we suggest stopping by the bakery for the full sensory experience.

Cakes for Occasions
57 Maple Street, Danvers
(978) 774-4545
www.cakes4occasions.com

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Much More Than a Fish Market

Posted: April 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Ipswich, Ipswich Shellfish Fish Market, Marketplace, Seafood | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

It’s no secret that we love exploring gourmet food markets, and when they carry lots of local and store-made products, we really get excited. At Ipswich Shellfish Fish Market, it seems like every time you turn around, you discover something wonderful.

For starters, there’s the gorgeous display of fresh fish, clams, and Maine crab—lobsters swim in a custom-built pool nearby. Then there are prepared foods like stuffed peppers, grilled cajun scallops, lobster-stuffed clams, and salmon cakes, plus taramosalta and fresh Greek yogurt. If you’re in the store near lunchtime, you can feast on a variety of soups, sandwiches, a great-looking salad bar, and individually packaged desserts.

And that’s just the beginning. There are store-made sauces, seasonings, and vinegars (blood orange and black fig sound particularly good). There’s an Asian-food section that includes nori, bonito flakes, short-grain rice, and rice paper wrappers for summer rolls, saving area residents a trip to a specialty market. A rack of bread holds a number of selections from Annarosa’s in Newburyport and Alexandra’s in Gloucester.

The freezer contains a wealth of treasures like salt cod, octopus, fish stock, and lobster stock, along with a selection of prepared entrées. If you have a sweet tooth, we highly recommend a package of whoopie pies from Newburyport’s Chococoa ($5 for three and worth every penny).

Treasures for those eating gluten free are also abundant, including a hot prepared entrée each day, frozen entrées, and packaged goods like bread crumbs, crackers, rice pasta, and granola.

But perhaps the most surprising thing you’ll find in this fish market is grass-fed beef from Appleton Farms, a Trustees of Reservations property located a few miles from the store.

The beef is not only fresh and local, it’s considerably healthier than beef from cows fed a grain diet. Store manager Zina Smith says she tried the ground beef and a few steaks from last year’s supply (it’s available from late spring to early winter), and it was terrific. She added a warning not to overcook it, as it’s much leaner than supermarket beef.

Smith suggests calling the store in advance if you’re looking to purchase beef, as the farm’s CSA members get their shares first, with the remainder going to Ipswich Shellfish and Bruni’s Market.

Tucked away on a side street a few blocks from the main drag, this beautiful, well-stocked market is a hidden gem worth seeking out.

Ipswich Shellfish Fish Market
8 Hayward St, Ipswich
(978) 356-6941
www.ipswichfishmarket.com

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