Saturday, December 18, 2021
Celebratory Desserts for Your Holiday Table
So many of the best holiday flavors are sweet treats! Home made baked goods are a time-honored tradition that bring people together. And, we have fantastic specialty desserts ready made at our store.

This month's issue is all about holiday desserts. We have lots of recipes including great ideas for your holiday feasting.

And, let's begin with some favorite products recommendations…
DIY Treats
If you are doing your own baking and making of treats, we love to start with the highest quality ingredients for best flavor.

We cannot overemphasize how wonderful King Arthur All-Purpose Flour is for baking. It is consistent and dependable. And, for our gluten-free friends (and guests) you can't go wrong with Cup 4 Cup Gluten-Free Flour. All you need to do is substitute it directly in a recipe, and it really works!

We love Dufour Classic Puff Pastry because of its pronounced buttery flavor with a flaky texture and easy-to-shatter crust. It is the best quality pastry we can find, because it is made using only butter. It is crisp, flaky, and especially light. You can use it to make puff pastry twists (both sweet and savory).

Spectrum Culinary Non-Stick Cooking Spray brings fresh aroma and clean flavor to you favorite baking projects we carry both their Coconut and Canola Oils.

You will notice the difference if you use Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter in your holiday cooking. Kerrygold's richness is fantastic in al kinds of dishes where it's creamy, smooth, and subtle taste can shine. Their unsalted butter has a higher butterfat content and is a perfect butter for baking as well as a delicious eating butter.

To top things off (or for a lovely filling) Strauss Organic Heavy Whipping Cream is our staff pick. The Strauss Family Creamery is located right here in Marin County and their milk and cream comes in a charming returnable glass bottle.

The spices you choose play a big outcome in everything you prepare, that is why we recommend Morton & Bassett for more dimensional flavor. They provide the best quality, most flavorful spices in the world. In fact, the difference in quality is so pronounced, you can easily see the difference.

Diamond Krystal Kosher Salt is used in top restaurants by top chefs around the country. It’s chosen for its simplicity, purity and coarse texture. Unlike other kosher salts, Diamond Crystal is coarse enough to pick up and fragile enough to crush between your fingers for perfect seasoning.
Christmas Cookies
We carry two great holiday cookie boxes from Kelley's Kookies, both the Chocolate Lover's Shortbread Treat Box and their Holiday Assortment Treat Box. Both make great hostess gifts.

And, if you are looking for cookies that come in a decorative holiday tin, we recommend grabbing a box of the Walker's Shortbread Scottie Dogs or Grandma Wild's Mini Butter Shortbread Biscuits that come in a very cool tin with vintage photos of London including telephone booths.

We also have a great selection of other delicious cookies including Walker's Chocolate and Raspberry Shortbread; Borgo de Medici Macarons from Italy in pistachio, champagne, and vanilla flavors; and also their Panforte with figs and walnuts; Lambertz European Cookie Collection; Bahlsen Gingerbread Pretzels; both milk and dark chocolate coatedsmall Gingerbread Men from Fortwenger; as well as a variety of other shortbread.

And, if you are looking for an easy solution to the gingerbread house, we have two styles from Bee International. The pre-baked gingerbread has interlocking pieces for easy assembly. They come with candies, but you can also add your own decorations. A great minimal-fuss project for the little ones.
Other Baked Goods

Chiostro de Saronno Panettone is a sweet bread loaf that makes a wonderful dessert or accompaniment to brunch. The long process of making panettone includes the curing of the acidic dough, which is similar to sourdough. Panettone is traditionally served in slices, vertically cut, accompanied with sweet hot beverages or a sweet wine.

Taste of Denmark Cranberry Bread is wonderful sliced and toasted and served with butter or cream cheese for a holiday breakfast. And, their Mixed Fruit Wreath also is a delicious breakfast treat.

Tiptree Christmas Pudding is a traditional, seasonal, British treat that is made by hand. It comes in an earthenware basin covered with a tie-in cloth. Highest quality ingredients include French brandy and tawny marmalade. It tastes best when steamed. We have both regular and organic.

Chiostro di Saronno crunchy Amaretti Cookies are traditional Italian treats with a crisp texture, balanced sweetness, and nutty flavors that flawlessly come together and create an authentic Italian dessert. Individually wrapped cookies.

We also carry traditional Christmas Stolen, Walker's Spiced Orange & Cranberry Mince Pies, and a variety of other treats.
Candies and Chocolates
We love confections and carry a lot of fantastic chocolate in the store. Here are a few favorites that we picked out for the season.

Sander's Dark Chocolate Peppermint Sea Salt Caramel Gift Box is new this year. Enjoy this seasonal flavor as a reward to yourself, or give as the perfect gift!

Confiserie Heidel creates fine praline chocolates in extraordinary packages. Their Christmas Boot box is filled with delicious chocolate pieces with praline cream filling. It makes a wonderful gift with a keepsake box.

Sugar Butter Love's Buttercrunch Toffee with Pistachios are delightful little bites that are baked in a home kitchen.

Giving and receiving Fazer Wiener Nougat is a Finnish holiday tradition! Individually wrapped, this classic chocolate confection has a soft almond nougat that will melt in your mouth.

We also have a bit selection of all kinds of Christmas chocolates, hard candies, and candy canes that make great stocking stuffers.
House-Made Holiday Sides
News & Events

If you are looking for sides to supplement your holiday dinner menu—or perhaps looking for a dish to bring to a potluck feast, we are making it easy this year. Beginning next Monday, December 20th, our entire selection of house-made sides will be available, pre-packaged, from our Deli Department. They are grab & go, heat & eat, and the perfect addition to your table!

Check out our Holiday Catering Menu to see the list of delicious, house-made sides as well as holiday roasts.
A Staff Favorite

Now that's some exceptional vanilla!
Since vanilla shows up in almost every holiday baking recipe, Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla from Nielsen-Massey is what we are using for our burst winter baking. It is complex, sophisticated, and intensely flavored. This extract adds depth no other vanilla can match.

Taking premium, hand-selected beans cultivated on the Bourbon Island of Madagascar, Nielsen-Massey uses a proprietary cold extraction process to gently draw out and preserve the vanilla’s over 300 flavor compounds. The result is a sweet, creamy, mellow flavor with velvety after-tones, perfect for cooking and baking both sweet and savory dishes.

One tablespoon of vanilla from Nielsen-Massey is equivalent to one vanilla bean.

From our blog, The Kitchen Table

Christmas On The Couch
It is officially December…which means cookie season is here! I love cookie season. Planning the selection. The cookie-palooza day of baking and the packaging. The best part, of course, is the delivery. The look on people’s faces never gets old.
This year is going to look a little different.

While on vacation this past July, I injured my knee—which required surgery. So, I am on the couch for the foreseeable future. That means cookie-making is not in the cards. At least not for me. But, I refuse to go without.

So, I am enlisting the help of my resident sous chef. And, between the two of us, we should be able to make things happen. First up, will be our traditional Swedish Gingers Cookies which we will be devouring while I micromanage the decorating of the tree. After that, we will have to see…as this year’s cookie lineup has yet to be determined.

The list will no doubt include traditional favorites like Classic Scottish Shortbread, Chocolaty Caramel Thumbprints, and Red and White Pinwheel Cookies. We’ve been looking at books and websites for some new additions. But, one thing I know for certain is that last year’s star of the show will be back.

These little Italian Hazelnut Cookies require a bit more labor and attention than the average cookie. But, they are soooo worth it. They are a hazelnut lover’s dream! I swap chocolate ganache for Nutella to make the sandwiches. This both adds hazelnut flavor and makes things a bit easier. And, this year I am all about easier!

Winter Holiday Hours
News & Events

Piedmont Grocery will hold special hours over the next two weeks. We are extending our shopping hours on Thursday. But, close early on Christmas Eve so our staff can go home to celebrate the holiday.

Get your holiday shopping completed early so you, too, can enjoy time with family and friends!

  • 12/23 Thursday, 8 AM to 8 PM
  • 12/24 Friday, 8 AM to 6 PM (closed early)
  • 12/25 Saturday, closed for Christmas
  • 12/26 Sunday 9 AM to 8 PM (regular hours

We will also close early on 12/31, New Year’s Eve at 6 PM, and be closed on New Year’s Day.
From our blog, The Kitchen Table

Amuse Buche
There is nothing more quintessentially holiday than a Buche de Noel. For one, it’s only made this time of year. For another, it’s definitely a project dessert that you wouldn’t want to make all that often. Buche de Noel, or Yule Log, is essentially a French tradition that dates back to the times of Napoleon Bonaparte though these days they are everywhere.

My sister took a class a few years ago and there has been a yule log on our Christmas Eve table ever since. The class made a big difference in terms of how to make one. The real challenge is rolling and not breaking the cake. You can find great videos on the internet to help you along. This one is my favorite, probably because there is never a bad time for a little dose of Julia.

The good news is that even if you do have trouble with the cake rolling, you can just hide it with the frosting. And, if it is too far gone, just crumble it up and go with a trifle. Win-win.
There are any number of recipes out there to choose from if you do a quick search. Here is a good one…

Buche de Noel Recipe
This one is a heavenly chocolate cake rolled with chocolate filling. Traditionally, Buche de Noel is decorated with confectioners' sugar to resemble snow on a Yule log.

A Cookbook Recommendation
by Sarah Kieffer

A charming holiday baking cookbook brimming with delicious, indulgent recipes, cozy winter photography, and lots of holiday cheer.

Celebrate this special time of year with more than 50 delicious recipes for seasonal brunches, cookie swaps, and all those Christmas, Hanukah, and New Year's Eve parties.

Delight family and friends with edible gifts and whip up some delicious baked goods to treat yourself through the long winter months after the holidays have ended.

Recipes include: Triple Chocolate Peppermint Bark, Meyer Lemon-White Chocolate Scones, Pear-Almond Danish Bread, Hot Chocolate Cake, and Pumpkin Pie with Candied Pepita Streusel.

With cozy holiday imagery, a lovely, clean aesthetic, and easy yet innovative recipes, this is a go-to cookbook for baking enthusiasts.

In this cheerful collection, Kieffer…shares dozens of sweet recipes perfect for the holiday season…Avid holiday bakers should put this on their wish list.
—Publishers Weekly

About the Author
Beloved, accomplished blogger and author, Sarah Kieffer, is behind The Vanilla Bean Baking Blog, which won the SAVEUR Reader's Choice Best Baking & Desserts Blog in 2014. Her pan-banging cookie technique went viral on the New York Times website. She has written two cookbooks and been featured by Food52, The Today Show, Mashable, The Kitchn, America's Test Kitchen, Huffington Post, and more.
A Staff Favorite

Creamy goodness
Clover Sonoma butter is made with high-quality organic cream, straight from Northern California family-owned dairy farms. It is churned locally in small batches by skilled butter makers and they have spent decades perfecting it. Rich, creamy, and delicious however you use it.

We carry both kinds of Clover Sonoma Butter, salted and unsalted. And the only real difference between salted and unsalted butter is just the added salt. But, which type you choose makes a difference in your dishes.

When to use salted butter
Salted butter is all-purpose. It's the best kind to use for the table and general cooking when you don't need precise control over the amount of salt in a recipe. That's because when you're slathering it on a piece of warm bread, for example, the saltiness helps to bring out the rich flavor and enhances the experience for your taste buds. Without the salt, the taste leans in the direction of flat or just fatty. Try adding salted butter to your morning bowl of oatmeal to elevate the flavor.

When to use unsalted butter
Unsalted butter gives you complete control of the overall flavor of your recipe. This is especially important in certain baked goods where you want the pure, sweet cream flavor of butter to come through such as butter cookies or pound cakes. Because most recipes call for the addition of salt as an ingredient, using salted butter in things like cookies and pies can take them over the top in saltiness.

Aside from the flavor, using salted butter in a baking recipe that calls for unsalted can lead the end product to not turn out. For example, if you use salted butter in a high-fat yeast dough, such as brioche, the extra salt may also inhibit the yeast and lead to improper leavening.

News & Events

Christmas orders must be placed by December 23rd.
Pied­mont Gro­cery would like to save you time in the kitchen. Whether you’re grabbing lunch for the office, throwing a party, or planning a Thanksgiving feast you can count on our chefs in our Catering Department to help simplify your enter­taining.

We have three catering menus to choose from. Click a link to automatically download.

  1. Everyday Catering Menu has a delicious selection of lunches for the boardroom, a gathering of the club, or feeding the team. Delivery options are available.
  2. If you are planning a party, check out our Party Catering Menu complete with everything from salads to sweets, including a wide array of platters and heat-and-serve dishes.
  3. Our Holiday Catering Menu is available seasonally, and has all the traditional meats and sides prepared to perfection—plus some gourmet extras to add excitement to your Thanksgiving or winter holiday meal.

Or call (510) 653-8181 to discuss your catering needs. We will be happy to walk you through our current selection and prices.
For holiday orders, all orders must be received 48 hours prior to the hol­iday. We are closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day.

To Order Call The Deli Depart­ment at (510) 653-8181.
Or email

Monday to Sat­urday: 9 AM to 8 PM
Sunday: 9 AM to 7 PM

From our blog, The Cocktail Post

This recipe for the Maple Manhattan blends perfectly with holiday flavors and is the perfect cocktail to enjoy with hors d'oeuvers before your feast.

It takes minutes to prepare and you just might have all the ingredients already on hand!

News & Events

If holiday lights are your thing, there are some great displays in the East Bay. You can find a clear evening this week and catch some holiday spirit between the raindrops. Here are some places to visit for Lighting Up the Holidays:

9777 Golf Links Road
An illuminated lantern festival is sold out through December, but tickets are still available for January.

Three blocks of sparkling color are on display nightly through the new year. Visit the local shops and grab some dinner.

3200 block of Thompson Avenue
The lights are up through New Year's Eve. And, there is a mailbox where you can drop off your letters to Santa.

4770 Lincoln Avenue
The grounds of the LDS Temple are beautifully lit and available to explore until 9:30 PM.

7501 Moeser Lane
Located in the hills of El Cerrito, the life-sized Shadi Nativity scene is impressive. This Christmas display is an East Bay tradition. It is in its 72nd year.

From our blog, The Kitchen Table

Stocking Up
The anticipation of Christmas morning is both the best and the worst part of the holiday…especially for kids. I know the wait was a killer for me starting from a very young age. And, that feeling stayed with me until the day I moved out.

The reason may be surprising. Yes, it was always fun exchanging gifts in the morning. Dad was always a good gift-giver and waiting to see what he got Mom every year was so much fun. Especially when he would think outside the box. You just never knew how it would go down. My sister and I would always look forward to what Santa brought. But, what we really looked forward to and snuck out in the middle of the night to see, was our stockings.

Mom was ridiculously good at stockings. I think she spent more time thinking about what to put in the stockings than what to put under the tree. I asked her one year why she focused so much on something that for most people is an afterthought. Her answer was that growing up, she was always disappointed because she would get things like oranges and walnuts in her stocking while her friends would get candy or little toys.

Yes, at the time my grandmother wasn’t too far removed from the depression. And yes, she should have been grateful to get anything at all. But, come on. What 8-year-old gets excited about an orange and some walnuts in the shell? I mean it’s definitely worse than socks. So, Mom swore that when she had kids, she would make sure that the Christmas stockings would be great. And, she threatened us with walnuts if we were naughty leading up to the big day. I hate walnuts, so her threat was taken seriously.

Over the years, nuts became a minor player in our Christmas traditions. Though we never had the traditional tray of mixed nuts out to crack and eat like my grandparents, they did show up in the form of Christmas decorations. Most notably the wreaths of nuts that had been spray-painted gold and glued to fake greenery. (She went a little overboard that year.)

I do find it funny that nuts are a very winter holiday thing. I can’t think of any other time of the year where you will see a festively wrapped burlap bag of pistachios and think Yes! That is the perfect gift for Uncle Ralph! and I don’t ever remember sending a fruit and nut tray for Easter.

Personally, I myself am a big fan of a dried fruit tray. Though I prefer to enjoy my yearly holiday nut allotment in a different way….

A Staff Favorite

Nine pieces of extraordinary chocolate—handmade in SF
Feve Dome Collection Chocolates is a most colorful collection is a gorgeous box of truffles. They come in popular and seasonal flavors that make an amazing holiday gift or after-dinner treat.

The box includes these flavors: Strawberry Lemon, Raspberry Lemon Coconut, Mango Lime, Salted Caramel, Yuzu, Dark & Stormy, Peanut Butter Coconut, Gin & Tonic, Limoncello.

About Feve Chocolatier
Founded in San Francisco in 2007 Feve artisan chocolate and confection company sets itself apart not only by high-quality ingredients, unique flavor combinations, and stunning visual appearances—but also by their commitment to social change and sustainable production.

Feve’s mission, simply stated, is this, To combine bold flavors and stunning appearances into a transformative indulgence!

News & Events

Here is our list of champagne recommendations from our Wine & Spirits Department to make your holiday sparkle!

Lanson Le Black Label Brut |  $49.99
Le Black Label Brut owes its iconic name to Victor Lanson who gave it in 1937, both as a proof of openness to the world and as a tribute to the Royal Court of England which Lanson has been officially supplying since 1900. This champagne is a balanced alliance of vitality and finesse, freshness and elegance, characteristic of the Lanson Style.

Brilliant and clear with amber highlights and a stream of fine bubbles. The nose has a springtime aroma with toasty wings and honey notes. A bouquet of ripe fruit on the palate with citrus notes. Light and fresh

Taittinger Brut | $59.99
Taittinger Brut Réserve is made from 40 % Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir and 25% Pinot Meunier, using perfectly matured grapes harvested from over 35 different vineyards. This subtle blend results in a light, elegant and balanced champagne.

The brilliant body is golden yellow in color. The bubbles are fine, while the foam is discreet yet lingering. The nose, very open and expressive, delivers aromas of fruit and brioche. it also gives off the fragrance of peach, white flowers, and vanilla pod. The entry onto the palate is lively, fresh, and in total harmony. This is a delicate wine with flavors of fresh fruit and honey.

Taittinger Brut Réserve is the champagne for any occasion. a symbol of festivity, this wine is the ideal partner of celebration for the happiest milestones in a lifetime.

Champagne Laurent Perrier Cuvée Rosé Brut NV | $89.99
La Cuvée Rosé, the world's top-selling rosé champagne, is as recognizable for its distinctive bottle shape as for its smoldering taste. Entirely pinot noir, this was sourced from 10 villages in Montagne de Reims, primarily Grand Crus.

A precise nose of extraordinary freshness and a wide range of red fruits: raspberry, redcurrant, strawberry, and black cherry. Wild strawberries, raspberries, pomegranate, cherry blossoms fill the complete, dense, and subtly creamy palate, with a generous lees cushion, offset by poised, humming acidity. There's a lovely chalky underlay here, shimmering under the red fruit above, and lingering on the lengthy finish. On the palate, it offers the sensation of plunging into a basket of freshly picked red berries.
Enjoy our holiday champagne recommendations!

News & Events

Here are a few neighborhood favorites. We are spreading some love around the Avenue for some local holiday shopping. Holiday Shopping on Piedmont Avenue boasts an impressive list of great, independently-owned shops and services. So, do some exploring while selecting your holiday gifts.

News & Events

How About a Nice Bottle of Armagnac for the holidays?
Cognac’s lesser-known older sibling, Armagnac is an elusive brandy that is perfect to serve during festive occasions and makes a great holiday gift!

Armagnac is a grape brandy produced in the Gascony region of southwest France. A fuller-bodied style of brandy when compared to Cognac, it is often aged for years and makes an excellent digestif. Armagnac is a more artisanal brandy than cognac and is often made by local family-owned producers rather than large, industrial companies. Armagnac predates cognac by at least two hundred years.

Both varieties of brandy share a lot in common. And, there are distinctions between the two. They are both are produced by distilling wine from a variety of dry and acidic white grapes. But, those grapes are grown in unique microclimates and soils.

Armagnac's unique flavor is a result of its production process. It is released in yearly vintages while Cognac specifies blends like V.S.O.P. and X.O. Armagnac is almost always distilled once, rather than the double distillation of its northern counterpart. This leads to Armagnac having a more robust flavor profile and body.

Armagnac tends to be quite fruit-forward with notes often associated with plums. While there are some notes of spices and caramelized wood, it places less emphasis on the bold leather and musk that you may experience with cognac.

Tips for enjoying a glass of Armagnac
Armagnac is best served at room temperature to open the flavors. In fact, by pressing your hand on the glass, you can gently warm the spirit in order to explore its purity.

If you find an Armagnac too strong, you can use a typical method of adding a droplet of water. By slightly decreasing its strength, you can reduce the alcohol bloom and open the flavors.

Like cognac, Armagnac is usually enjoyed as a digestif following a meal. And, it can be enjoyed with a number of dishes and even blended into cocktails.

Holiday Cookie Recipes
From our blog, The Kitchen Table

Christmas cookies are wonderful at the end of a meal with a hot cup of tea or coffee or even better with a glass of milk for Santa!

If you are not baking cookies at home this year—or would like to add to what you have already created, here is a short list of some delicious holiday treats.

Anise Cakes These hard cookies are meant to be dunked into coffee or tea, like biscotti–only a little bit denser. If you love the flavor of licorice, give these a try with your morning coffee.

Cherry Tarts Rather than prepare a complicated filling from scratch for these Cherry Tarts, we found canned cherry preserves provided the ideal consistency and flavor.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Pecan Cookies are a delicious variation on the chocolate chip with lots of added flavor.

Chocolaty Caramel Thumbprints If you are a sucker for anything with chocolate, caramel, and nuts so these babies are for you.

Christmas Butter Cookies This recipe originated with America’s Test Kitchen. We played around with it. It makes a great cookie sturdy enough for icing, and with plenty of butter for tastiness. Yay for butter!

Classic Scottish Shortbread The best is traditional Scottish shortbread (Can’t go wrong with the classics.) This recipe adds some oats to the mix for a slightly nuttier flavor. It’s fantastic, and a good choice for gift giving.

Coconut Macaroons Making these couldn’t be easier. Bonus! They are gluten-free for those friends who avoid gluten. Try melting some bittersweet chocolate and either dip the macaroons or drizzle it on top for a little added holiday cheer.
Danish Pebernødder Cookies These cookies are tiny little addictive balls of crunchy goodness that you can eat by the handful. The good news is this recipe makes a lot of them.

Giant Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies are satisfying and wonderful dunked in milk or coffee.

Molded Gingerbread Cookies Plan to do some project baking to get in the holiday mood—a batch of Molded Gingerbread Cookies should help transform anyone into Mr. or Mrs. Claus.

Overstuffed Nutters Talk about your peanut butter bomb! Just beware the altruistic soul who offers to “taste them to check for poison”. You could end up with half a batch…

Red and White Pinwheel Cookies These vanilla flavored cookies add a splash of pure color to your Christmas Cookie tray. We recommend mixing the white and red dough separately rather than trying to add coloring to the already-mixed dough—the color incorporates better.

Swedish Ginger Cookies “Gingies” as we call them, are a family favorite. They are easy to make and go great with tea & coffee and you can keep a log in the freezer to cut and bake as needed.

Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies are so classic that how can you leave them out? This recipe is adapted from the back of the chocolate chip bag!
Bar Cookies
Dense, rich, and chocolaty. What is there not to love?

Granola Bar Cookies You can play around with the add-ins: chocolate chips, rice crispies, or whatever you have on hand that sounds good…

Pecan Bars These bars are good, and we love that she uses honey instead of corn syrup—it gives the pecan bars a more floral flavor. Plus, the addition of orange zest is delicious.

The brightness of the raspberry jam will make you smile and add a contrasting flavor to your holiday cookie tray.

Six-Layer Bars These layer bars are the very definition of indulgence, as you would expect from a Paula Deen recipe.
Adding a little caramel, truffle, or toffee to your cookie tray brightens people's spirits and adds flavor dimension to your dessert.

Apple Cider Caramels The secret ingredient is Boiled Cider, which is apple cider that has been reduced to a concentrated syrup.

Bacon Peanut Truffles Chocolate and peanut butter is a perennial favorite. So, making these Bacon Peanut Truffles is a no-brainer, and so worth it. They are also pretty easy, which makes them great for gift giving.

Chocolate Ganache Truffles These truffles are so easy to make and you can choose to flavor them or not. (Adding a little espresso or Chambord liqueur can be a tasty thing.)

Dark Chocolate Toffee is melt-in-your-mouth happiness and must be kept under lock and key if you want to have it around for more than an afternoon.
From our blog, The Butcher's Block

If you have been listening closely to the lyrics of your favorite Christmas carols or paying attention to traditional holiday stories, you may have heard the word suet used. There are plenty of words in those songs and stories that are unfamiliar. But, have you ever wondered just what suet is? And what is it used for?

Suet is a hard, crumbly saturated fat found around the kidneys that comes mainly from cows but can also come from sheep. The fat is removed from the meat, clarified, chopped, and then boiled in water—which removes any impurities. When the mixture cools, the fat and water separate. The fat is the suet. Suet has a high smoke point which makes it ideal for deep frying or for use in making pastries. Though, bird enthusiasts know it works well in birdseed cakes.

Suet has a fairly bland and mild flavor with a slight meaty scent. But, there is no meat flavor when cooked. It is used mainly in traditional British foods like puddings and pasties. And, it is probably most associated with mincemeat pie. Suet provides a richness to British puddings that you just don’t get from butter. And, when used in pie crust the result is a very flaky texture that stands up well to a wet filling.

You may see instances where the words suet and tallow are used interchangeably. But in fact, they are two different things. Tallow is the rendered fat from a cow. It’s a little complicated but the easiest way to understand the difference is that suet is an ingredient used to make tallow. Tallow is also more shelf-stable.
Suet can be difficult to find on this side of the pond as it’s difficult to store. And, frankly doesn’t enjoy the same following as our British friends. You can find it online though. And, it might be worth a try if you want to give a traditional figgy pudding a go.

Vendor of the Month

As close to perfection as chocolate can get!
Guittard chocolate is our favorite for holiday baking and candy making. With its rich, creamy mouthfeel, genuine chocolate flavor, and smooth texture, we use it whenever our recipes call for chocolate—it takes your baking to new heights.

We have but one warning…whatever you are purchasing, get at least double what your recipe calls for. We find it almost impossible not to sample away this ingredient…delicious.

Guittard has been making chocolate locally…since the 1860s! Their tremendously high standards include a commitment to sustainability, fair trade, and working directly with small farmers.
Here is a list of what we are currently carrying:

Gourmet Chocolate Baking Bars
Semisweet Chocolate Baking Bars with 64% cacao
Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bars with 70% cacao
Unsweetened Chocolate Baking Bars with 100% cacao

Baking Wafers
Milk Chocolate Organic Wafers with 38% cacao
Bittersweet Chocolate Organic Wafers with 74% cacao

Baking Chips
Collection Etienne baking products is a premium line of chocolates crafted for the pastry chef, artisan chocolatier, and chocolate lover. They deliver the same quality chocolate used by top professional pastry chefs to home bakers.

Real Semisweet Chocolate Chips are a classic 46% semisweet
Akoma Organic Semisweet Chocolate Chips are 55% cacao.
Super Cookie Chocolate Chips are a 48% semisweet chip
Extra Dark Chocolate Chipshave 63% cacao

Cocoa Powder
Cocoa Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder is 100% cacao.

And, check out our gourmet section for a variety of chocolate bars that make great gifts and stocking stuffers!

Store Hours

Monday through Saturday from
9 AM to 8 PM & Sunday from
9 AM to 7 PM.
Free Parking 

4038 Piedmont Avenue
Oakland, CA 94611

(510) 653-8181

Visit our recipe blog to learn what Amy, our VP and resident foodie, is cooking up in her home kitchen.