December 23, 2018
Christmas & Chocolate
They go together and make the season that much yummier. Whether it is a mug of rich, warm cocoa, a chocolate Santa in your stocking, or some fabulous dessert after a holiday meal, chocolate heightens the celebration and makes memories.

We have pooled through the chocolate items on our shelves and come up with a list of suggestions of our favorite products to share with you. Perhaps you will discover a few new favorites to enjoy throughout 2019?

For Baking
Guittard Organic Baking Wafers in Bittersweet, Semi-Sweet, and Milk Chocolate are bold chocolates that are deal for baking, ice cream making, and confectionery applications. They are the ones that we use when we want out goodies to come out just so.
For Nibbling
Our Lake Champlain Chocolate Selection includes the very best specialty chocolates. From individually wrapped Chocolates of Vermont to hand-crafted truffles and bonbons, you can rest easy knowing there’s a chocolate to suit every taste.

Lula's Assorted Chocolates is the old fashioned chocolate sampler redefined. With a foot in the past and an eye on today, these confections sweeten your time with family and friends. 

Charles Chocolates Toffee Chocolate Macadamias with premium macadamia nuts roasted darker, then coated in butter toffee and rick milk chocolate and dusted with cocoa powder.
For Sipping
Cacoco Drinking Chocolate is ethically-sourced, heirloom cacao harvested from Ecuadorian farms applying ecological and regenerative practices. In 60% Rich Dark with cinnamon, Nutmeg, and lucuma and 70% Spicy Dark with habanero and reishi they are beyond delicious. They make a great stocking stuffer, too.

Lake Champlain Holiday Peppermint Hot Chocolate Mix is holiday hot chocolate the way it should be—a refreshing blend of rich cocoa and cool peppermint, with hints of cinnamon. Just the thing to warm everyone up, after a frolic in the nippy winter air.

Stevia-Sweetened Chocolate
For those of us looking for a healthier way to indulge our sweet tooth includes McSteven's Stevia Sweets Creamy Cocoa. And, Cavalier Belgian Chocolate Bar withs noffrf sugar are a diverse selection of chocolates that are as tasty as their sugar-filled counterparts in Milk, Milk Caramel, Dark, Dark Cocoa Nuts, Dark Orange and Dark Berries. 
Chocolate Sauces
Coop's MicroCreamery hand made artisanal sauces are over-the-top delicious. They are made in small batches with the best ingredients. Their Hot Fudge Sauce has the deep, rich flavor of fine European Chocolate. 

Recchiuti will elevate any bowl of ice cream to new heights! Their Extra-Bitter Chocolate Sauce is made with Recchiuti’s smoky custom blend of 64% dark chocolate and finished with vanilla to enhance the roasted cacao profile of this chocolaty sauce.

Petit Pot De Crème in Chocolate's sweet, velvety goodness is delicious on its own and also can make a fantastically instant dessert topping or layer of your holiday parfait. 

For some of us, receiving a stocking with delicious food items is the perfect Santa gift. We have put together our top picks for those special items that just might make someone's Christmas that much more exciting.

You could also use these ideas to put together a fantastic, custom gift basket for that foodie who has (almost) everything!

Get the list of our recommendations from everything from sweets (including chocolate, honey, and maple syrup) to flavorings, to seasonings and boozy gifts…

You could also use these ideas to put together a fantastic, custom gift basket for that foodie who has (almost) everything!

The most important meal of the year is coming up and it is possible for you to be completely prepared today. Piedmont Grocery wants to save you time in the kitchen so you can spend the holiday mingling with family and friends.

We have a complete Thanksgiving dinner catering menu. And, you can choose to order everything, a few key dishes so you can focus on making the others, or simply purchase your potluck contribution.

Piedmont Grocery has created a delicious selection for your Thanksgiving table. Download our 2018 Fall Holiday Dinner Catering Menu. And, see what we have to offer. You can purchase a few sides, pies, or roasted meats to contribute to a meal or potluck—or order an entire holiday feast.

All orders must be received 48 hours prior to the Holiday. We are closed Christmas, and New Years Day.

To Order Call The Deli Department
(510) 653‑8181

Monday to Saturday: 9 AM to 8 PM
Sunday: 9 AM to 7 PM
From our blog, The Cocktail Post

If you are looking for a festive, holiday cocktail this White Chocolate Martini just might be perfect. It may not be an actual martini, but it’s rich, delicious, and features the flavors of the holiday.

We mixed Godiva white chocolate liqueur, vodka, vanilla, cream, and white creme de cacao. Enjoy this smooth and creamy dessert cocktail!

A Cookbook Recommendation

America is experiencing a chocolate renaissance, and the epicenter is in the San Francisco Bay Area, where Ghirardelli has long been the standard-bearer for great chocolate. 

Domingo Ghirardelli first began making chocolate drinks for miners during the Gold Rush. In the more than 150 years since, the chocolatiers who have carried on the company's grand tradition have made Ghirardelli the leading premium manufacturer in the country. 

Ghirardelli recently revised this collection of classic cookies, bars, cakes, and drinks. The recipes range from simple sweets to show-stopping desserts, while a special section on hosting a chocolate party comes just in time for holiday baking and entertaining. 

A stylish revision of the classic cookbook from America's longest continually-operating chocolate manufacturer. Includes more than 80 recipes, a primer on chocolate varieties and uses, and more than 25 full-color photographs. 

This perfect holiday gift for chocolate lovers includes a new holiday recipe section with a guide to creating edible gifts like cocoa mixes and decadent fudge sauce. 

True chocoholics…will want to dip into The Ghirardelli Chocolate Cookbook, oozing with recipes for homemade hot fudge sauce, lava cake, chocolate waffles and the like.
From our blog, The Kitchen Table

This time of year is the season of constant dinner parties. In fact, I had a few friends over last night to talk about the upcoming baseball season and to eat drink and be merry. The food was great (and the wine was even better). But, having something sweet to end the meal and fuel the after-dinner conversation is essential. I have found that plates of assorted cookies are the perfect solution. The only challenge is coming up with a nice variety for the plate.

Some may say that forcing yourself to make a bunch of cookies isn’t a bad thing. And, it’s not. Though, having that many cookies lying around the house can be dangerous to your waistline!

It can be fun to come up with the perfect mix. Start with some ginger cookies. Add a few layer bars. Maybe chocolate crackle cookies. Definitely some shortbread. If you’re feeling crafty, make some stained glass cookies or some nutty rugelach. No matter what combination you decide to throw together, for me there almost always needs to be coconut macaroons on the plate.

I lovecoconut macaroons—and making them couldn’t be easier. Bonus! They are gluten-free for those friends who can’t eat gluten. I like to melt some bittersweet chocolate and either dip the macaroons or drizzle it on top for a little added holiday cheer.

We will hold special hours over the next two weeks.
We are extending our shopping hours on Sunday 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 the holiday!

Sunday, December 23rd, Open 8 AM to 8 PM
Monday, December 24th, Open 8 AM to 6 PM
Tuesday, December 25th, Closed
Wednesday, December 26th we will re-open at 9 AM for our regular store hours.

We will close early on New Year’s Eve, and be closed on New Year’s Day.

Monday, December 31st, Open 9 AM to 6 PM
Tuesday, January 1st, Closed
Wednesday, January 2nd will re-open at 9 AM for our regular store hours.

Lingering over a glass of superior brandy after dinner is the type of luxury that we often don't afford ourselves. But, the holidays are the perfect time to gather with family and friends to revive that tradition. We recommend that you give Germain Robin Alambic Brandy a try this holiday. And, it makes a truly special gift!

Germain Robin Alambic Brandy is not a true Cognac because the grapes are grown and distilled in California along with the sort of innovation we Californians are inclined towards. The result, however, is unbelievable quality for the price. (We are selling a 750 ml. bottle for $59.99.) And, after one sip, you may never turn back to the old, familiar French Cognacs again.

In the glass, Germain-Robin Alambic Brandy sings and dances. And, it's not surprising that Germain-Robin tastes better than similarly priced French Cognacs when you learn how the two products are made. Cognac is brandy made in the Cognac region of northern France by rigidly defined methods that include defining the types of grapes allowed and the types of presses used to crush them.

From our recipe blog, The Kitchen Table

I love this time of the holiday season. This is treatseason. This is the time when I start planning what treats I am going to make to hand out to the people who mean a lot to me to thank them for services rendered or to thank them for just being a positive part of daily life.

So far my daughter and I have made our traditional  Ginger Cookies . (That first batch is always a sacred ceremony for everyone in my family.) Last weekend we made a batch of addictive and decadent caramels, a  King Arthur Flour recipe , to hand out to a teacher who refers to them as holiday gold. We plan to continue the treat making this weekend with some more cookies. Shortbread? Check. Sugar cookies? Check? Gingerbread? Check. But I want to do something else a little special this year.

About 16 years ago I took a chocolate class to learn how to make truffles because I wanted to recreate the gorgeous treats that Joseph Schmidt was producing at that time. I quickly learned that tempering chocolate is no joke. It takes patience, and time, and passion for the art. While I had the passion, I was lacking in the other attributes. But, one of the recipes we made in that class is easy enough for anyone to do. I haven’t made many truffles since then. And, this year I wanted to make those basic ganache truffles. The biggest challenge was finding the recipe.

I have this drawer in my kitchen that holds all of my loose recipes that I have either printed off the internet or were part of a recipe packet from a class. I can’t tell you how many pages are in that drawer—but I cantell you that it is probably time to cull the heard. I can also tell you that the chocolate packet wasn’t in there and I sort of panicked because, after that many years, it’s not like I can call the place and get another one.

The elves took pity on me…I found it! My office is a revolving door of cookbooks and recipes. And, I happened across the chocolate packet while looking through a dessert binder I made after yet another cooking class. Yee Haw!

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)

Chocolate Ganache Truffles
Yields about 25 Truffles

From our blog, The Butcher's Block

If there is a roast that screams celebration, it would be a beef tenderloin. Wildly popular due to its natural tenderness and flavor, beef tenderloin is the roast of choice for many holiday dinners.

Beef Tenderloin, also known as fillet or filet mignon when cut into smaller portions, is a cylindrical boneless cut from the short loin section of the cow which is an area of the animal that doesn’t get a lot of work, thus producing very tender meat. It is easy and quick to cook—which is great after a busy holiday morning. The drawback is that tenderloin is rather expensive which definitely makes it a special occasion cut of meat.

A whole fillet can weigh up to six pounds which will feed anywhere from ten to twelve people depending on appetites. The ends of the tenderloin taper to a point. If you are roasting it whole, it is important to fold the thin ends under and tie them with twine so that it will cook more evenly. Or you can leave them untied to allow for various levels of doneness for those guests who like their meat a little less rare.

Because beef tenderloin has such great beef flavor, it doesn’t require a lot of sauce to make it better. The simpler the better with this cut of beef.

A Staff Favorite

Dreaming of a White Christmas
If you are looking for a fun holiday gift, try these decorative tins of McSteven’s White Christmas Hot Cocoa. The set contains three delicious flavors: Belgian White, Winter Mocha and Vanilla Cream. And, they come in three collectible tins with a snowman, a Christmas tree, and Jolly St. Nick.

They also make great stocking stuffers!

From our Blog, The Kitchen Table

Like a lot of families, we celebrate the holidays in multiple houses. Christmas Eve is generally at my place (though my sister is hosting this year). Christmas morning has been at my place the last couple of years and will be again this year. For Christmas dinner, we are all scattered. This might seem kinda strange to you to have all the celebrations with the same family at different locations. I mean what’s with musical houses? The answer is that it is not always the same faces at each celebration.

By doing it this way we make sure that everybody gets to see each other to celebrate and exchange gifts. It also allows for some side celebrations. Let me explain…

While my family is enjoying our traditional  Ebelskiver on Christmas morning, my in-laws are kinda left to their own devices. So, for the last 10 years or so, my brother-in-law hosts breakfast for their side of the family at his place. It is a much smaller and definitely quieter affair that always features a decadent French toast along with great coffee and fruit. It also means that by the time they get to my house, everyone is stuffed and thus begins the annual debate over when we should eat dinner…

French toast is a great option for a crazy holiday morning because it takes very little time and effort to put together and there are so many options out there for jazzing it up a bit. My brother-in-law has what is apparently a secret recipe that involves poppy seeds. For me, I like any version that includes fruit and/or nuts. Then, of course, you can get really wacky and stuff it for extra decadence…

And for those elves who have stayed up all night assembling a bike or a toddler-size kitchen, there is always the overnight version to make life a little easier… this Ina recipe is one of my favorites.

For those who want to go all out, here is a recipe to consider for some out of this world Stuffed French Toast….
Christmas Cookies from our Collection

There is still plenty of time for Christmas baking, so we have compiled a list of some of our favorite Christmas cookies from our collection. Because Christmas just isn’t quite the same without cookies!

Anise Cakes   These hard cookies are meant to be dunked into coffee or tea, like biscotti–only a little bit more dense. 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.
Chocolaty Caramel Thumbprints  If you are a sucker for anything with chocolate, caramel and nuts so these babies are a no-brainer.

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.

Granola Bar Cookies  This makes a lot of cookies depending on the size. Play around with the add-ins: you can use chocolate chips, rice crispies or whatever you have on hand that sounds good…

Homemade Tate's Chocolate Chip Cookies These are exactly what their name states. They spread out on the baking pan, and are thin and crispy. You may need to make extras!

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…

Pecan Bars  These bars are  good , and we love that she uses honey instead of corn syrup—it give the pecan bars a more floral flavor. Plus, the addition of orange zest is delicious. You could sprinkle the cooling bars with some good-quality sea salt for a salted caramel feel. That would be darn tasty too!

Raspberry Oatmeal Bars The brightness of the raspberry jam will make you smile and I think we could all use a few more smiles these days…

Red and White Pinwheel Cookies These tasty vanilla-flavored cookies are a little less labor intensive yet still add a splash of pure color to your Christmas Cookie tray. 

Six-Layer Bars  These layer bars are the very definition of indulgence, of course you would expect that from a Paula Deen recipe.

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.

And if that isn’t enough inspiration, check out these two lists that of delicious recipes that we compiled from some of our favorite food blogs.

It can feel daunting when someone with very different food needs is showing up at your holiday table. Maybe they are vegan, or maybe they have food allergies or sensitivities that prohibit them from eating a full range of foods. There are some simple and generous ways of dealing with the situation so that everyone feels well cared for at your table.

Have the conversation with your guests well in advance to find out what they can and can't eat. Even if they insist that they don't want to put you to any trouble, there are ways to provide for everyone at the table without sacrificing your meal plan or making a fuss.

For most people, the centerpiece of the meal is the main dish, which is usually the meat. No surprise that this is not so for vegans and vegetarians. If you wish, you can add a protein dish to your table that is legume-based—and the non-vegetarians will also enjoy it.  This lentil salad  can be made a day in advance because it is served at room temperature, and it is absolutely delicious. Just make enough for everyone because it is a lovely addition to a dinner table.

Vendor of the Month

Unpretentious chocolates that taste so much better.
We absolutely love Barlovento chocolates and think you will, too. They are silky, smooth, perfectly balanced in flavor, and of absolutely outstanding quality, They just might become your new favorite indulgence!

They only use Venezuelanchocolate in all their confections. The single-bean origin chocolate is unblended so that you can experience the pure, rich and unique flavor of Barlovento's chocolate unadulterated. All Barlovento chocolates are handmade in small batches so they're always fresh.

Plus, they are uber-local—their factory is in downtown Oakland. Barlovento began selling at our local Bay Area farmer's markets, And, to pay homage to this tradition of celebrating fine foods, they source many of our flavors from local farmers and markets, including nuts, fruits, wines, and liqueurs.

Each one of their products is crafted by hand at every step of our process with premium, ethically sourced ingredients and love. Barlovento purchases all their cacao from Northern Venezuelan cooperatives who believe in sustainability and responsible land management—and who train local growers to harvest, ferment, and sell their cacao so that it can fetch a price above market rate. When the growers' quality of life is elevated, so is the quality of their exceptional cacao.

Peter Brydon's (Barlovento's owner) story is an uplifting one. After a 28-year career at a printing press, he was laid off and decided to follow his dream—and his taste buds. He experimented with the art of chocolate-making for four years and briefly studied the trade in Canada before returning to the East Bay to open his own shop, where a selection of bars makes a welcomed holiday gift.

We're Open
Seven Days a Week

Monday through 
9 AM to 8 PM

9 AM to 7 PM
Free Parking 

4038 Piedmont Ave.
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.