On a Lark

Posted: December 18th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Gloucester, Lark Fine Foods, Sweets and Treats | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

“All of life is a dispute over taste and tasting.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Gloucester resident Mary Ann McCormick and her daughter Nicole Nordensved enabled us to enjoy quite a dispute over taste recently. In 2007, McCormick started Lark Fine Foods, a purveyor of fabulous “grown up” cookies, and they have been growing in popularity ever since. These are sweet and savory wonders chock full of real butter and quality ingredients, made without preservatives or genetically modified ingredients.

On a recent stop at Shubie’s in Marblehead, I met Nicole, a Salem resident who works for her mom a couple days a week and was handing out samples. I was immediately fascinated with some of the taste combinations. Chocolate and chili? Shortbread with rosemary and sea salt? And what the heck were olive wafers? These are definitely not your kid’s cookies.

I brought a bunch of flavors back home and invited Jill to share them for a taste test. The next day, I received an e-mail from her outlining her response. Her favorites were the Polenta Pennies, bite-sized lemony cookies that feature golden raisins. She had also enjoyed the Coco Locos, toasted coconut butter cookies, but felt some of the others were too strong.

Her assessment made me laugh out loud, because it was the exact opposite of mine. While the sweeter cookies were good, I found the spicy ones much more memorable. The rich chocolate Cha-Chas with their hot spicy kick and the tangy Mighty Gingers were both terrific.

Lark also features two cookies with sweet and savory combinations; the Scourtins, a traditional French-style wafer made with olives is the most unusual in their repertoire, and the Salted Rosemary Shortbread, which was my absolute favorite of all the cookies. The organic rosemary and the sea salt make the buttery shortbread sing with subtle flavor.

Lark’s products, which are headquartered in Gloucester and baked in Essex, can be found in specialty food stores and markets throughout New England, helpfully listed on their Web site. You can order online as well. Whether you go for spicy or mild, if you try these unconventional treats yourself, let us know your favorites in the comments—and remember that disputes over taste can be seriously fun.

Lark Fine Foods
5 Way Rd., Gloucester
(978) 768-0012
www.larkfinefoods.com

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A Slice of (Foodie) Heaven in Newburyport

Posted: September 30th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Deli, Grand Trunk Imports, Marketplace, Newburyport | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

On our recent trip to Newburyport, we were introduced to Grand Trunk Imports by Kim Gobbi of Newburyport Today. The store is not new, but somehow we had completely missed it on previous trips. Now that we know about it, we can’t wait to go back.

Husband and wife team Jeremy and Angela Kirkpatrick have stocked their small space with a treasure trove of gourmet food, microbeers and wine, and accouterments. One wall is filled with imports like chutney, pasta, and olive oil, plus unusual items like orange flower water and roasted chestnuts.

At the back of the store, a large blackboard lists available wines by category, and the cheese case is full of interesting selections. A separate case holds bowls of olives and cured meats like sopressata and paleta iberico (dry cured Spanish ham).

Nearby is a selection of imported European beers and local microbeers, including Haverhill Brewery, as well as sandwiches like blue cheese with apricot and honey. The sandwiches are made fresh each day on artisan bread that’s also available by the loaf.

The front of the store features interesting non-food items, including gorgeous European cheese knives, sexy black slate cheese boards, and handcrafted cutting boards from New Hampshire Bowl and Board.

The next time you need picnic fixings or an interesting pre-dinner spread, we suggest giving Grand Trunk a try. Or you may want to time your visit to coincide with their wine tastings, held Fridays from 3:00 to 6:00 and Saturdays from 2:00 to 6:00.

Grand Trunk
53 Pleasant St, Newburyport
(978) 499-4441
www.grandtrunkimports.com

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