If you like to make desserts, then you must have a good vanilla extract on hand. I did my research, and heard a lot of good things about Rain’s Choice Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract (The Vanilla Company).. It is very aromatic, and not too strong – like some store brand extract.. Not too expensive either- $20.00 for 16 oz.. also very good is the Tahitian Vanilla, which is a bit more fruity, and very good. Its my lil secret weapon.
My fiance, Mike, introduced me to Sunbutter – because of the whole peanut salmonella scare.. Mike loves peanut butter, and eats about a jar every month.. so he switched to Sunbutter for the time being and told me to try it. Its awesome, it tastes like peanut butter, but rather than the peanuts its sunflower seeds. Yum yum.. It also has absolutely no peanuts in it, and its processed in a completely peanut free facility.. so people with Peanut Allergies can go to town on this stuff. Get it at Trader Joes or most natural food stores.
During my trip to DC and MD, I caught a little cold. The innkeepers assistant at the Bed & Breakfast we stayed at recommended Honey & Lemon to soothe a sore throat, so when I got back, ofcourse I raided my cabinets and remembered that I had picked up a gem from Fauchon Paris.. A little pot of honey from atop of an Opera House in Paris.. You may wonder what the big deal is about honey from a paris rooftop, really the difference is in the type of bees in cities versus countryside.. It also helps when Time magazine does an article “Whats The Buzz?
“Keeping city bees safely is an art that the French teach right in central Paris in a rucher école (hive school) next to an apiary established in the Luxembourg Gardens in 1856 that houses about a million bees. Beekeeping in Paris is, well, a hive of activity, with colonies living on private balconies, at an inner-city nunnery and, famously, atop both the Opéra Bastille and the Palais Garnier, the latter still tended by Jean Paucton, 73. Paucton’s bees forage in the Tuileries Gardens, the chestnut trees of the Champs-Élysées and the linden trees of the Palais Royal. The honey they produce sells at a premium price at Fauchon.”
anyway, to the honey.. its sweet, with a little floral spicyness to it.. a very strong flavor, and the consistency is thick, and somewhat creamy..
I feel so lucky to have re-discovered this right in my kitchen cabinet… Im kind of glad I got a sore throat for a day. (By the way, a spoonful of honey with a few drops of lemon juice makes your throat feel good!)
A very thick and very balanced balsamic vinegar. Very concentrated and rich. I mix this with Oliviers & Co brand Basil Olive oil and toss it in a spinach salad with some apples and walnuts. Simple and delicious. Its pricey, at $33 for an 8 oz bottle, but like everything that I write about – worth it! And a little goes a long way – so your bottle will last.