Somerville Local First

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Not Your Generic Gift Guide: Last Minute Gifts for Everyone Else!

Dec 22 10:02 am

By Elise Ramsay

One of the potential stressors of the holidays is the dilemma of finding gifts for people you might not know so well. From in-laws and distant relatives to bosses and coworkers—you don’t always know their taste, and you don’t want your gift to bore or offend. No need for anxiety! These options are safe bets for just about anyone:


Ornaments are a great option for those who celebrate Christmas, especially if the recipient is someone who might appreciate a memento of you for years to come (parents of a significant other, for example). These leaf ornaments are each made from a real leaf that is preserved in gold, silver, or copper.

Still Life leaf ornaments, Davis Squared - $24-31


Another nice neutral choice is this set of 12 snowflakes laser cut from birch.

Roost snowflake ornaments, Davis Squared - $17


For a slightly more personal touch, this sweet “Bird in Love” glass ball and felted acorns (miniature ones too!) will add sweetness to any tree.

Glāk Love “Bird in Love” ornament, Magpie - $17

Felt acorns, Davis Squared - $8 large, $4 small


Let’s face it—you should probably also pick up some miniature acorns for yourself, just because.

Felt acorns, Davis Squared - $8 large, $4 small



Candles? Trust! When done right, they add instant coziness and holiday atmosphere. Plus, scent is closely tied to memory, so you’re also giving them the gift of nostalgia. This “Frasier Fir” variation smells just like a Christmas tree and comes in a variety of sizes.

Frasier Fir candle, Davis Squared - $12-$17


As good as trees and wreaths smell, there’s nothing like the warm spicy comfort of more edible holiday treats. You’ll have to resist nibbling on this “Quince Spice” candle, though, no matter how tempting!

Quince Spice candle, Davis Squared - $22


For a neutral scent, these natural beeswax owls, pinecones, and twigs are whimsical yet classic.

GreenTree candles, Magpie $8-$26

GreenTree candles, Magpie - $8-$26



This time of year, calendars are everywhere. Many stores in the area offer beautiful editions by artists and designers—calendars that are no longer boring gifts, but pieces of art! Some favorite finds include:

“Boots On & Ready” by Atherton Lin, which offers an illustrated trip through England in each month’s design;

Boots On & Ready calendar, Magpie - $18

Boots On & Ready calendar, Magpie - $18


Julianna Swaney’s “Bird Children,” which is delicate and refined;

“Bird Children” calendar by Julianna Swaney, Magpie - $15


and APAK’s “Space Garden,” which is somehow surreal, pretty, and cute at the same time.

“Space Garden” calendar by APAK, Magpie - $14



Do you know anyone who recently had a baby? If so, you’re very lucky to have an excuse to shop around for miniature booties and furry things (betraying some personal jealousy here). Local Somerville shops have an abundance of cute baby items. This clever one from Egg-A-Go-Go (made in Boston) just scratches the surface of the adorable onesies.

Egg-A-Go-Go onesies, Magpie - $18-$24


One of these animal spoons from Beehive Kitchenware (in Fall River, MA) would make a very special baby gift—plus, there is something so endearing about the back side of the spoons showing the “backside” of the featured critter!

Beehive Kitchenware baby spoons, Magpie - $28 each. Photo cred:

Beehive Kitchenware baby spoons (backside), Magpie - $28 each. Photo cred:


It’s never too early to begin unicorn education, so why not include this print to kick-start the kid’s imagination?

“U is for Unicorn” by Matthew Porter Art, Magpie - $18


Finally, there is no better snuggle buddy than these stuffed animals by Jelly Cat—they come in a variety of species and are so soft, you just might buy one for yourself (no judgment).

Jelly Cat stuffed pig, Davis Squared - $20



Some other unique items for anyone and everyone include these wonderful locally made terrariums by Amanda Sawitzky. The miniature environments need very little maintenance and provide a desperately needed burst of green life in the winter months.

Terrariums by Amanda Sawitzky, Magpie - $10-$40


Another nice housewarming or host/hostess gift is this pair of glasses that are festive but not over the top.

Glasses, Consignment Galleries - $6


Grand has prints from several local artists like these clever messages on creativity from Union Press and this seasonal photo by Erik Dasque.

Union Press prints, Grand - $15 small, $25 large

Union Press prints, Grand - $15 small, $25 large

Erik Dasque photograph, Grand - $50. Photo cred:



For the final touch, local Albertine Press holiday cards in a variety of minimalist designs that can be found at several shops around the area - double the local!

Albertine Press set of 6 cards, Grand, Blue Cloud Gallery, Magpie - $15. Photo cred:


This set by Julianna Swaney is a unique alternative to classic holiday cards; it celebrates the spirit of giving among all kinds.

Holiday card set by Julianna Swaney, Magpie - $15



Always a great “when in doubt” gift option? Food! Don’t worry, local deliciousness got its own post – check out the food gift guide post here!



416 Highland Ave

Somerville, MA 02144



374 Somerville Ave

Somerville, MA 02143


Davis Squared

418 Highland Ave

Somerville, MA 02144


Blue Cloud Gallery

713 Broadway

Somerville, MA 02144


Consignment Galleries

363 Highland Ave

Somerville, MA 02144


Not Your Generic Gift Guide: Foodie Edition

Dec 19 10:07 am

By Elise Ramsay

They say that experiences are the gifts that really stick with people, and there are few better experiences than devouring some amazing local food! Whether you’re looking to contribute to a holiday party or find an exceptional gift, Somerville’s food purveyors have delicious edible options. Here are some of the many offerings by local bakeries, markets, and more:


3 Little Figs

One of the most exciting new additions to the Somerville food scene is the “Mediterranean-inspired” 3 Little Figs on Highland Ave. They focus on locally sourced and natural ingredients to create treats both traditional (Spinach Pie, “Greek Candy” farina cake, Galaktoboureko, Kookla) and creative (Apple Cider Donut Muffins, Avocado Tea Cake).

Mini donut muffins, $4

Mini donut muffins, $4

Granola, $6

Granola, $6


3 Little Figs is a family owned business that couldn’t be friendlier or more welcoming—it is abundantly clear that each item is made with care. Support them and spread some of that warmth to your own family and friends this holiday by picking up some treats, big and small. Their holiday ordering menu includes large-scale items like a pan of Spinach Pie ($50) or a whole Frosted Squash, Maple & Yogurt Bundt Cake ($25), but you can easily add some “figgy” goodness to any gift arrangement by picking up some of their assorted scones, muffins, and cookies. Check out their catering menu for more options, which also includes vegan items.


3 Little Figs Holiday Menu. Photo Cred:

Ginger bombs, $5

Ginger bombs, $5


Petsi Pies

Petsi Pies is the ultimate stop for real—as in, no fillers, no mixes, all natural—pies of every kind imaginable. They of course have incredible sweet pies, with holiday specials such as Eggnog Custard ($22), Salted Caramel Apple ($22) and Chocolate Peppermint Cream ($25). The Plum Gingerbread ($15) also sounds deliciously festive, and is available in individual sizes as well ($2.50). On the other hand, Petsi Pies offers savory pies like Spinach Ricotta, Roasted Vegetable & Goat Cheese, Mushrooms with Potatoes and Gruyere and more, all for $22 and perfect for brunch. Consult their holiday ordering menu for more details, or stop in to pick your own assortment of pastries and other delights.


Petsi Pies. Photo Cred: Andrew McFarland at[email protected]/5641593 883/in/photostream/


When Pigs Fly

Stumped about what to bring to the holiday feast, and don’t want to add yet another dessert? Creative breads from When Pigs Fly are always a wild hit. With flavors like Veggie Potato Latke, Sicilian Green Olive & Hot Cherry Pepper, and the addictive seasonal special Savory Cranberry (tastes like stuffing!), this bread can change an entire meal.

Savory Cranberry Bread, $6

Savory Cranberry Bread, $6


If you’re looking for a sweeter holiday option, the Jingle Bread (rum-soaked raisins, almond paste, hazelnuts, cran-raspberries) makes for a very decadent breakfast. But seriously, you must try that Savory Cranberry. Go!

Jingle Bread, $6


Sherman Market

A great gift option is an arrangement of local edibles. At Sherman Market, throw together a post-Christmas breakfast basket with maple syrup, pancake mix, and granola, all local.

Maple syrup, $8

Pancake mix, $4

Granola, $8.75/lb


On the savory side of things, they have fancy salts, ravioli, and the most amazing pasta sauce you’ll ever try: Red Gravy by Valicenti Organico (really, get this immediately). Their prepared food also offers some delicious and unusual dips such as green hummus and roasted red pepper with feta that would bring flavor and personality to any appetizer spread.

Valicenti Organico ravioli (frozen), $10 approx

Valicenti Organico Red Gravy, $9.75


Salts, $12/lb & $20/lb


Dave’s Fresh Pasta

Get a basket, walk into Dave’s Fresh Pasta, and you’re pretty much good to go with a plethora of items to impress even your snobbiest foodie friend. Grab some handmade fresh or frozen pasta and sauce for a personalized meal-in-a-gift. For something a little easier to transport to a party, get some local cheeses (burrata by Fiore di Nonno!), cured meats, and olives. Preserved figs and some of Dave’s famous holiday panforte are special sweet accompaniments. Some of Dave’s holiday specials are truly decadent: roasted duck tortelloni, butternut squash and ricotta gnocchi, caviar, and more. While you’re there, pick up some wine to serve with your platter, utilizing the expert advice of the friendly staff.


Panforte. Photo Cred:



For a food related option that isn’t perishable, give a cooking class! ArtEpicure offers many different varieties, including private couple’s classes. Class topics include everything from Authentic German Cooking to Italian Vegan, and the focus can also be customized to a specific theme or requested dish. Look to their list of classes for details. Know someone who prefers to stick to eating and would rather just watch their meal prepared? ArtEpicure also offers demonstration dinners, which are educational without requiring participation until it comes time to eat. Each class and demo is about three to four hours, with a final meal afterwards.

Classes: $85/person

Couples classes: $200


Taza Chocolate

Taza is already featured on many other lists, but deserves a mention! The perfect gift for a Taza novice is the Taste of Taza ($50), sampling some of their signature products. Mix and match individual goodies to throw into any holiday basket or stocking, including tickets to a factory tour ($5 per person). If you can’t make it to their factory store, Taza products are sold at many shops in the area, including Dave’s Fresh Pasta and Sherman Market.

Taste of Taza, $50


Savoring East Somerville

This book is a wonderful collection of the community’s food and the faces behind it. Savoring East Somerville features local restaurant owners and employees alongside signature recipes-it perfectly captures the vibrancy and warmth of the local food culture.

Savoring East Somerville, $15 at Grand 


Dave’s Fresh Pasta

81 Holland Street

Somerville, MA 02144-2738


Sherman Market

22 Union Square

Somerville, MA 02143


Taza Chocolate

561 Windsor Street

Somerville Ma 02143



1 Fitchburg St

Somerville, MA 02143


When Pigs Fly

378 Highland Avenue

Somerville, MA 02144


3 Little Figs

278 Highland Ave

Somerville, MA 02143


Petsi Pies

285 Beacon Street

Somerville, MA 02143



374 Somerville Ave

Somerville, MA 02143


The SLF Shift Your Shopping Holiday Gift Guide – Part Deux

Dec 09 4:11 pm

This post is part of our series covering Shift Your Shopping Week, which runs in Somerville from December 2-11.  Shift Your Shopping week highlights holiday shopping themed events and gift ideas from local businesses to promote choosing local and independent this holiday season. Shift Your Shopping week is part of SLF’s 3rd annual Shift Your Shopping campaign, now a national collaboration of hundreds of local business networks. To find out more about Shift Your Shopping, related events, and how you can get involved, please visit

We’re halfway through the holiday shopping season, and more than halfway through Somerville’s Shift Your Shopping Week, so we thought, what better time to give you Part 2 of our SLF member gift guide? For those of you who may been missing out on all the sweet events going on this week, you can still pick up some great finds around town on your own time.

Did we miss something great that you think deserves the spotlight? Is your local business featuring a special item or sale that we haven’t about? Let us know in the comments!



Grand has a wide assortment of household items and crafts. Use ‘em for stocking stuffers or gifts, or make someone really happy at the office Secret Santa. Stop in this weekend for Sip & Shop Saturday and get 20% off everything in store!


Owl Kitchen Timer









Cheery little owl kitchen timers. The perfect stocking stuffer!

Price: $5

Coffee Mug












Graphic coffee mugs in a variety of designs. Each comes packaged in its own gift box.

Price: $12


Nervous System jewelry













Unique stainless steel earrings and necklaces from local designers.

Price: $25-60


Vinyl Wall Clock















Rock around the clock! Glass front 8 inch clock.

Price: $14


Dreamlights Solar Lamp




















Made to resemble a jar full of fireflies, this flickering lamp features a solar powered lid.

Price: $32


The Boston Shaker

The Enthusiast Bar Set

Here’s a bar kit from The Boston Shaker with some of our favorite items. When we’re mixing drinks at home, this is the gear we’re often reaching for — high quality, durable and a pleasure to use. Includes all of the key components for a basic home bar set up along with a copy of Gary Regans’ classic “The Joy of Mixology,” a go-to cocktail resource. All packaged up for easy gifting to the craft cocktail lover in your life.

Price: $98



Blue Cloud Gallery

Photo Paintings by Marshall: Dali
















Photo Paintings by Marshall of local establishments. All your favorite places produced on a canvas frame and varnished to seal in a painterly look. In a variety of sizes and prices.

Price: $20-350



Pick up some shiny things for someone else’s nest at Magpie!


Holiday Postcards by Oh My Cavalier! (a set of 10!)















Magpie has several boxed card sets, such as the one pictured above by Oh My Cavalier, as well as ornaments - perfect for the holidays!

A Year in Pattern by Angela Traunig












Check out the cool art prints by Angela Traunig of Ferntree Studio, then contribute to her Kickstarter campaign to make two new children’s pattern designs every week for a year!


Davis Squared

Inflatable Wreath!










Davis Squared has it’s usual line of products, as well as some holiday themed items. Pick up some photo ball ornaments for the tree, or with this inflatable wreath, celebrate the holidays all year long…in style.


Stinky’s Kittens & Doggies Too

Treat the furriest member of the family to something special too (no, we don’t mean Uncle Phil). Stinky’s is running a Customer Appreciation Celebration through December 24 (while supplies last). Purchase any brand of dry dog or cat food, and receive a free can of Wervua Dog Food and Wervua Cat Food In A Pouch.

The first eight dog customers that buy dry dog food will receive a surpise gift for your dog.


For your foodie friend, many of our restaurant members are offering gift cards for the holiday season. Check out some great spots on our members page.


Somerville Holiday Events 2011

Nov 28 11:08 am

By Sam Coren

Tis the season for The Slutcracker Photo: Liz Laneri

There comes a point during every holiday season when it hits you. After so many hours of cooking, decorating, family drama, and general chaos you just need to get out of the house and do something fun. Good thing there are plenty of options right in the neighborhood this season to help you escape the craziness and bring back some good old fashioned holiday cheer!

Check out some of these upcomming holiday happenings around town:

December 1st

DARBI’s Midnight Madness in Davis Square 6pm-midnight

Were you a trooper and decided to avoid Black Friday like the plague? The “shop local for the holidays” spirit of Plaid Friday carries on this Thursday with DARBI’s annual December Midnight Madness shopping event. Some businesses will offer coupons or specials to shoppers during the event.

At least 14 local businesses, primarily retail stores and restaurants, will take part this year. Confirmed participants include Dave’s Fresh Pasta, Magpie, Artifaktori, Kickass Cupcakes, Davis Squared, When Pigs Fly, The Boston Shaker, Suneri, Johnny D’s Uptown Restaurant and Music Club, Buffalo Exchange, Found, Comicazi and Sunshine Lucy’s.

In addition, Zipcar will have a special booth set up in Statue Park throughout the event. Plus, Thalia Tringo Real Estate will host an art opening, “Elements and Artifacts,” featuring photographs by T.L. Litt and food and drink from local eateries.

December 2nd - 24th

The Slutcracker (Somerville Theater)

Everyone’s favorite Burlesque production of The Nutcracker is back for another season! Pick a date this December to see The Slutcracker performed live at the Somerville Theater for a night of raunchy adult fun. Don’t wait on getting tickets, folks, they’re already selling like hot cakes. Even cooler? The Boston Ballet is giving a 25% discount to Slutcracker patrons for tickets to their production of The Nutcracker. That way grandma and the kids can also enjoy the story of The Nutcracker without the intentional wardrobe malfunctions.

December 3rd

Artisan’s Asylum Public Opening (10 Tyler St) 1pm-5pm

Artisan’s Asylum is a non-profit community craft studio dedicated to supporting and promoting the teaching, learning and practicing of craft of all varieties. They’ll be throwing a free public housewarming party on December 3rd to celebrate the opening of their amazing new facility on Tyler St. with free tours of the space and exhibits. While you’re there, be sure to meet the instructors and  learn more about their upcoming classes.

December 3rd & 4th

Libana presents Artisans of India Holiday Marketplace

Libana is a global music ensemble that illuminates the creativity, vision, and spirit of the world’s women through  the performance  of traditional and contemporary music and dance. They’ll be hosting and performing at an India Holiday Marketplace in Union Square on 10am - 6pm Saturday the 3rd and Sunday the 4th from 11am - 6pm.  What will there be? Fair trade crafts, scarves and imports from India, Libana merch, and much more.

For more info including directions check out their handy flyer:

December 15th

The Weisstronauts’ Holiday Jubilee with The Rudds at Radio

The Weisstronauts will be playing their 12th annual Holiday Jubilee at Radio in Union Square to kick off the release of two new CDs, the full length “19 Something 9” and the EP “In Memphis 2.” Get ready for new tunes, holiday tunes, special guests (Hillbilly Holiday and The Rudds) and other celebratory goodness! Please note that the ‘nauts will be performing 2nd that evening and they’ll have tons of new merch available for purchase at special holiday prices.

December 16th

PA’s Lounge Annual Christmas Party 

If you miss the holiday tunes at Radio the night before, PA’s Lounge will be hosting their annual Christmas Party the next day. Details are still TBA but if it’s anything like last year’s party, good tunes and good brews should be plentiful so bring some friends and let loose.

December 23rd

Johnny D’s Holiday Party with Funky White Honkies

The Christmas Eve-Eve party kicks off at 10pm at Johnny D’s. Led by the fearlessly un-selfconscious and immensely talented Dinty Child, (perhaps best-known for being a member of Boston roots/rock masters Session Americana), the Funky White Honkies are a rag tag band of fine New England music veterans. More of a ‘tribe’ than a band, the Honkies have been around for years, providing a gorgeously joyous and free dance experience for people of every age, leanings, stripe, and style. With it’s large, rotating band of expert players, and under the spontaneous direction of Dinty, the Honkies converge for one purpose only: to get down and get dirty, laying down a set of grooves that start loose, and build inexorably to nothing less than pure, transcendent jazz/funk/punk fueled cacaphony.


The SLF Shift Your Shopping Holiday Gift Guide - Part 1

Nov 21 3:17 pm

As we approach the real kickoff of the holiday shopping season, SLF is pleased to offer a series of blog posts highlighting great local gift options, all in the name of helping you Shift Your Shopping!

Below, you’ll find 10 great items to get your thoughts rolling, with prices, descriptions and photos.  We hope they spur some good ideas for you and help make it easier for you to Choose Local & Independent this Holiday Season.

We’ll have follow up posts in the coming weeks, so be sure to check back.  And if we missed something great in the meantime, feel free to suggest it in the comments!

Local Arts & Crafts

Albertine Press

2012 Calendar

2012 Calendar

Our 2012 letterpress wall calendar will take you on a trip around the world with postcards to send to your friends and family when you’re done. Every month features an original sketch from a different city in the USA and around the world - when you’re ready to flip the page, cut along the dotted line and you’ve got a ready-to-mail postcard. Bon Voyage!

We will be featuring the inspiration behind each city on our blog throughout November:

Price: $30

Ogusky Ceramics

Compost Jar

Compost Jar

For the folks that love to compost, this 7″ tall functional handmade jar to hold all your kitchen waste is perfect!

This jar holds close to one gallon and includes a lid that fits right on top. It also has a handle made from sturdy braided wire. And the front states ‘compost’ — so you clearly know what is inside — and is created using vintage letterpress stamps.

Price: $110

Three Graces Designs

Fresh, contemporary jewelry handcrafted from sterling silver

Price Range: $25-$250

Om Nom Nom

Taza Chocolate

Taste of Taza Gift Set

Taste of Taza Gift Set

Item: A Taste of Taza gift set

A Taste of Taza is the ultimate Taza Chocolate gift.  This elegant cigar-style gift box is brimming with a generous assortment of our organic stone ground dark chocolate. From our fresh Roasted Cacao Nibs, to our perfectly unrefined 80% Stone Ground Bar, A Taste of Taza lets serious chocolate lovers experience the full range of intense flavors and bold textures of Taza Stone Ground Chocolate.

Contains: 1 - 1.75 oz. bag Organic Roasted Cacao Nibs, 1 - 3 oz. 60% Stone Ground Bar, 1- 3 oz. 80% Stone Ground Bar, 4 - 2.7 oz. Chocolate Mexicano Discs (Orange, Cinnamon, Guajillo Chili, Cacao Puro), 1 - 8 oz. can Chocolate Covered Nibs.

Price: $49.50

Item: Mexicano Classic Collection

The Taza Chocolate Mexicano Classic Collection celebrates the centuries-old Mexican stone ground chocolate tradition that inspired founder Alex Whitmore to create Taza Chocolate. A perfect, any-occasion gift for the serious chocolate lover.

Contains: 6 - 2.7 oz. Chocolate Mexicano discs, one each of Guajillo Chili, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Salt & Pepper, Coffee, and Salted Almond.

Price: $27

Fashion & Apparel


If you need tshirts, caps, jackets or any other type of apparel - we are your complete source for your apparel needs. QRST’s also has an online store of licensed apparel from some of the best Boston bands from the 80s. Morphine, The Neighborhoods, The Del Fuegos, The Rat (club), The Atlantics and much more online at QRST’s is also a licensed seller of Harvard apparel.

Price Range: $7.5-15


Ronen Chen Coco Dress

Ronen Chen Coco Dress

Ronen Chen Coco Dress

Jewel neckline sleeveless dress with grey print paneling down the center of the front and back with black side panels which create a slimming effect along with a black front strip.

Price: $282

Liza dress

Tailored sheath dress ideally suited for power meetings or a night out. Comfortable cotton with a touch of Lycra for stretch when you need it.

Price: $320

Shape Up and Relax

Bow Street Yoga

The joyous and love-filled holiday season can sometimes be hectic! Give the gift of yoga and melt the stress of the your loved ones. Giftcards available in any amount, from a single class to a year of yoga bliss.

Price Range: Starting at $15

Corpbasics (CBC) Fitness & Training Club

Holiday Gift Card: Give the gift of fitness this holiday season! Good towards the purchase of Corpbasics fitness classes or personal training sessions. Also valid towards our 12 week “Get Fit” programs.  Gift cards are available for purchase online or in our studio.   Questions should be directed to Kristen at [email protected] or by calling 617-628-8400.

Price Range: $25-$150

Mass Metta Massage Therapy

One hour massage gift certificates will be on sale during the month of December for $60 (normally $75) and if you buy 4 at this price, you get one for yourself free!

Price Range: $60-$240

Massage Therapy by Judith Prager

Offering CDs for relaxation and stretching and gift certificates for massage in the heart of Davis Square. Achieve relaxation, relief of pain and injury. Soothing, energizing, 30+ years experience. 1 hour and 1.5 hour sessions

Price Range: $15-$85

The Training Room

Personal Training & Group Exercise Classes

The Training Room is a local, privately owned fitness studio offering personal and small group training, kettlebell training, cycling and group fitness classes. There is no membership required to train or participate in a class. Our convenient online scheduling system allows you to book ahead and reserve your space in class or purchase training and class packages right from your home or office.

Price Range:  $12-$90

For Four Legged Friends

Stinky’s Kittens & Doggies Too

Yeowww Candy Cane

Yeowww! Candy Cane Over size (over 8”) and stuffed full of Yeoww Catnip. This toy is quite the mouthful. Festive colors and fuzzy fabric are sure to inspire Kitty this holiday.

Price: $10.99

Nature Naps Beds are oval, purrfect for those finicky cats and pampered pooches. Made from soft, cozy designer fabric.
Easy to clean. Made in the USA

Price Range:  $22.99-$59.99

Chilly dog Sweaters: Do not let your dog out in the harsh weater of New England. Buy them a Chilly dog Sweater. Comes in an array of different designs and solid colors. 100% organic wool and original, hand knit sweater for dogs.

Price Range: $25.99-$42.99


A Gourmet Holiday Love Story at Ball Square Fine Wines

Nov 17 10:17 am

Not sure which wine to pick? The experts at Ball Square Fine Wines are happy to help!

Today on the Somerville Local First blog Joe Ferraro, Gourmet Foods Buyer of Ball Square Fine Wines, tells us how to organize a holiday spread with local and worldly flair. Try not to read this post on an empty stomach and enjoy the delicious gourmet suggestions:

Fall is officially upon us, with all the attendant gatherings and entertaining of the holiday season just around the corner. Putting out a fun and yummy spread for your friends and family can be a daunting task, but Ball Square Fine Wines has got you covered! With just one stop you can pick up a wide assortment of gourmet goodies, craft beer, fine wine and cocktail fixings, and we’re always happy to offer our advice if you need it.

Our gourmet food department is featuring lots of fun accompaniments for the libations of the season. Here are a few ideas:

Raclette ($11.99/lbs) is a classic semi-soft cheese hailing from the Swiss Alps. It has an earthy, nutty flavor balanced by a texture that’s still relatively milky. It’s also the center piece of the dish known as “Le Raclette”. This dish, a family favorite in France and Switzerland on chilly nights as it’s both delicious and simply prepared, is real Alpine comfort food. The cheese is served baked and melted, with charcuterie (cured meats), boiled potatoes, cornichons (baby sour gherkin pickles) and fresh bread. We’ve got all of that, except the potatoes, but fortunately those are easy to come by. Enjoy this dish family style with lots of friends. An Alsatian Pinot Gris, dry Riesling, or medium bodied, earthy Cotes du Rhone are perfect counterparts. Belgian Trappist beers also go great.

Landaff ($19.99/lbs) hails from the small town of the same name in New Hampshire. It’s a hard cheese with a washed rind, sharp and a bit salty, but also very rich. It’s a distant cousin to the Scottish cheese called Caerphilly, made by hand using milk from Landaff Creamery’s own cows. It melts beautifully, and it’s great on what I call an Autumn pizza, with mashed butternut squash instead of tomato sauce, fresh sage and red onion. Try it also on it’s own as a satisfying nosh, paired with a big red wine, luscious white Burgundy, or even, dare I say it, a smoky single malt Scotch.

Cabrales ($23.99/lbs) is an intense and majestic blue cheese from Spain. This giant of a cheese is full of musty, earthy “blue” flavor. With some walnuts and a glass of your favorite Port or sweet oloroso Sherry, it’s downright hedonistic. And really, what is a cold night good for if not to enjoy the big sweet dessert wines that we’ve been missing all Summer.

And don’t forget about chocolate. We now carry a wide array of fine chocolates from local Somerville heroes Taza, as well as many selections from around the world. Who said sweets were just for the kids?

All that is just a tiny teaser of what you’ll find on hand at Ball Square Fine Wines – and yes, we can put a whole bunch of these goodies together in one of our custom made, Gourmet Gift Baskets, just ask! So ignore the diet for once, and come down for some yummy treats. There’s always something delicious on the menu - just don’t tell your doctor.

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developed with a whole lotta local love by trulygood