In Good Taste

From artisan chocolate to gourmet pizza, take your “buds” to new heights this year.

Sweet Start

Happy New Year! You’re officially four days into 2011—and, hopefully, fulfilling your New Year’s resolutions. “Eat more chocolate” probably didn’t make the list, did it? Well, maybe it should have.

A deal came to my attention lately that seems really difficult to pass up. It would make a great gift for a host/hostess, that special someone, or as a treat for yourself.

Philadelphia artisan chocolatier John & Kira’s is bringing good fortune into 2011 with their nine-piece Chocolate Ladybug Medley. Ladybugs are known to bring good luck, and with one taste of the hand-colored treats, you’ll know why! The yellow, red and green dark chocolate shells are filled with either raspberry, garden-mint or honey-lavender Valrhona ganache. Each set ($29) comes beautifully packaged and ready to taste. And you can feel good about eating them, too, with John & Kira’s commitment to sustainability, social responsibility and sourcing local ingredients.

Visit johnandkiras.com.

 

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A Taste of ‘Turkey’

By the time you read this, the new Turkish-influenced restaurant, Firinji, should be open for business in Ardmore. If not, it won’t be much longer.

Turkish delights at Ardmore's Firinji.Meaning “baker” in Turkish, Firinji describes itself as a “flatbread, kumpir and coffee concept.” (Kumpir is a stuffed baked potato, a popular fast food in Turkey.) The menu has a strong focus on Middle Eastern fare, but it’s also influenced by other international cuisines. Customers will be offered a nice selection of soups, salads, smoothies, coffee, breakfast bites, kumpir (read: stuffed, open-faced baked potato sandwich), flatbread wraps, burritos, quesadillas and panini. Nothing costs more than $10.

The eatery is meant to offer a community feel. The owner has included a communal table and has left lots of wall space for local artists to display their work. When you grab a bite at Firinji, I’d love to know what you think!

54 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore; (610) 658-6246, firinji.com.

 

The Real Deal

Inside Phoenixville’s Brick Oven Bread and Cheese Shoppe.

Pizza is about the most perfect food out there. From the hot, just-chewy-enough dough to the creamy melted mozzarella cheese, there’s something almost religious about biting into a really delicious, well-made pizza. While I’m no expert on the gourmet types, it seems that the more complicated the ingredients, the less successful the pie. Outstanding pizzas have a few key elements in common: good-quality ingredients (including olive oil, tomatoes, basil and mozzarella), delicious dough, and a super-hot brick oven that cooks the pizza in mere minutes.

I was recently told about the pies at Phoenixville’s Brick Oven Bread and Cheese Shoppe, an artisan brick-oven-baked bread shop that also sells cheese and specialty food items. Open since last summer, it was only recently that the store started making pizzas in the 1,100- degree oven. And I’ve been told that they are good—as in, straight out of Italy good. So good, in fact, that the shop has been bustling when the pizzas are made Thursday to Saturday.

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Employee Frank Nattle, who suggested the idea, only makes a simple margherita pizza, with a recipe from a New York City master pizza maker and ingredients like Caputo flour and San Marzano tomatoes from Naples. Fresh mozzarella, a few basil leaves, a drizzle of olive oil, and two minutes in the oven completes the pie that’s destined to become a local favorite.

138 Bridge St., Phoenixville; (610) 933-3003, brickovenbreadshoppe.com.
 

Our Best of the Main Line & Western Suburbs Party is July 25!