Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring is here. Start filling that pic-a-nic basket!

Spring is here. The flowers are blooming. The weather is warm. The tourists are out in full force and the parks in Philly are packed with pasty skinned sunbathers, tanning themselves in preparation for summer clothes.
Although you won't find me bikini-clad in the middle of Rittenhouse Square any time soon, you might find the hubby and I enjoying a picnic there.

Looking for some new grub to put in that pic-a-nic basket? Here are a few of my newest favorites. I bought all of these at the new specialty food store, Garces Trading Company (1111 Locust), but I'm sure you can find some of these in your area if you try.

Seeking a good Salami??? Try this: Saucisson Petit Jesu It's a coarse grind salami with a very rustic flavor. I loved it for the fat. Unlike some salami that can have tough, chewy hunks of fat this Petit Jesu had specks of the most creamy, melt on your tongue goodness.

Looking for the perfect cheese to spread on that baguette? Try this: Cana De Oveja It's a sheep's milk cheese from Southeast Spain. It's mild yet very flavorful. It has a bloomy rind, a gooey consistency close to the rind and a firmer consistency towards the center (as a result of the rind ripening the cheese from the outside in). Delicious!

Where's the beef? Try this: Bresaola Bresaola is an air dried, salted beef. You can find this pretty much anywhere. It's rather strong and can hold up well to things like arugula or a sharp cheese.

What about the side? Serve these with your meat and cheese: Cuquillo olives Cuquillo olives are small, Spanish olives with an amazing fruity quality and tender mouth feel. The ones at Garces Trading company were marinated with orange rinds which highlights the fruitiness of these olives even more. They would go well with pretty much any meat and cheese selection.

And of course you would expect me to pair these meaty, cheesy delights with a wine, but not this time. A few days ago I stumbled across a type of Yuengling beer that, until recently, I had no idea existed. It's the Yuengling Bock and they just rolled it out in celebration of their 180th year anniversary. 180 years! In case you're not aware, the Yuengling brewery is recognized as the oldest brewery in the country and a Pennsylvania point of pride. In fact, when ordering a Yuengling Lager in a bar in Philly all you have to ask for is "a lager". So when I came across this "late winter" brew I though it would pair wonderfully with my picnic picks. It's got a dark amber color and a mild malt taste. It's a very "drinkable" beer, perfect for a balmy spring day. Plus, it's got a super cute label. How could a goat drinking beer NOT make you want to buy a six pack!? The website said it might only be around for 10 or 12 weeks so stock up while you can!

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