Category Archives: buys

More Gifts for Food Lovers

After writing my “Gifts for Food Lovers” list last month, new ideas keep popping into my head. So, here’s part 2, also Rhode Island-centric.

6. Ripe 2008 Calendar – What better way to get big kids to eat their veggies than a calendar full of tasteful nudes? Brown and RISD students pose artfully among local produce, raising money for the Southside Community Land Trust, Farm Fresh Rhode Island and the Brown student garden.

Available through Farm Fresh RI, the Brown Bookstore, and Farmstead.

7. The Mayor’s Own Marinara Sauce – If you live in Rhode Island you probably know of, have an opinion about, and maybe have even met Providence’s ex-Mayor Buddy Cianci. He returned to the city this year after a stint in prison, but his pasta sauce has been on store shelves all along. Profits from sauce sales go towards scholarships. I’ve never tried it, but I’ve always wanted to pick up a jar for a gift.

Check out this Chowhound discussion for ideas on where to find it.

8. A teapot and tea from Basically British Tearoom – Besides being a great gift, this is a good excuse to go check out the tearoom’s new digs in Warren’s Cutler Mills. While you’re there, have a pot of tea and a scone with clotted cream (these are the best scones I’ve ever had). If you like the decor, you can bring it home – the tearoom is also an antique store.

9. A growler of Trinity beer - I often pick up a growler from Trinity Brewhouse for the holidays. The brown glass jugs are printed with a RI license plate, so they are a neat souvenir as well. The beer menu changes often and usually includes 6 brews.

10. Local gift certificates - So many Starbucks gift cards change hands over the holidays. Why not support local businesses by seeing if your favorite cafes, restaurants or food shops sell gift certificates? Not only will you be giving the recipient a chance to pick out their own gift, but you’ll also allow them to discover a place they might not have otherwise found.

If you live in the area and know of some local eateries and food shops that sell gift certificates, please leave a comment.

Happy holidays!

Narragansett Creamery

In my post about the winter farmers’ market, I mentioned Rhode Island’s new cheesemaker Narragansett Creamery. On Tuesday I attended their ceremonial cheese cutting at Eno Fine Wines in downtown Providence, where a large crowd happily munched away at 5 types of cheese and toasted the creamery’s beginnings.

Cheese from Narragansett Creamery
Queso Blanco and Salty Sea feta from Narragansett Creamery

Among the crowd were local food personalities as well as the mayor and secretary of state. The two politicians performed the cheese-cutting together, a true sign of Providence’s food renaissance.

Narragansett Creamery may be a new name, but their cheeses are produced under Providence Specialty Products, a company that has been producing and exporting cheese for almost 20 years. They teamed up with local food activist Louella Hill to turn their focus to Rhode Island, marketing the cheeses inside the state and using milk from within a 50-mile radius (their hope is to one day source milk from inside Rhode Island).

Now onto the cheese! They brought 5 varieties:
Queso Blanco – an non-aged farmers’ cheese
Salty Sea – a feta (Providence Specialty Products’ award-winning recipe)
Renaissance – a delicious ricotta
Divine Providence – raw milk gouda
Atwells Gold – an asiago

If you curd use a piece, head over to Farmstead, the new wintertime farmers’ market, or Venda Ravioli. (Really, did you think I could get through this post without a cheese pun?)

Wintertime Farmers’ Market

Providence might be a small city, but we’re lucky to have a lot of people who care about good food. That’s what I was thinking on Saturday when I went to the opening of the new wintertime farmers’ market at AS220.

Oysters from Matunuck Oyster Farm
Oysters from Matunuck Oyster Farm

It’s not huge – about 10 vendors – but they brought diverse goods such as produce, coffee, honey, seafood and chocolate. I was planning to cook mussels for dinner so I was thrilled to find some that were fresh, plump, and half the supermarket’s price! I also picked up a dozen oysters from Matunuck Oyster Farm, a pound of coffee from New Harvest coffee roasters, RI-made tortillas (only $2 for a huge package) and my first piece of cheese from RI’s new artisanal cheese maker, Narragansett Creamery.

Gifts for Food Lovers

The holidays are approaching. Are you looking for unique gifts? Here are some of my favorites, with an emphasis on Rhode Island.

1. Chocolates from Garrison Confections. I’ve bought these for birthdays, holidays, and hosts. If it’s hard to choose, pick up a seasonal collection. You might want to buy a piece or two for yourself because they’re so good, nobody will want to share.

Chocolates from Garrison Confections
Chocolates from Garrison Confections

2. Ice Wine from Newport Vineyards. I once sent a bottle of this excellent dessert wine to my parents, and it was such a hit that they now pick up a few bottles for gifts throughout the year. This is a wine that can be appreciated by wine enthusiasts and novices alike.
also available at local stores such as

3. The Genesis Center cookbook. Support a good cause – the center’s culinary job training program – while cooking up recipes written by the culinary students and staff. Recipes from 25 cultures are featured alongside short bios of their authors.

Available online at (see bottom left).

4. A subscription to Edible Rhody. I just ordered one for my mother so she can read about Rhode Island food from far away. The quarterly publication covers local food, restaurants and recipes.

5. Foodie Fight. This one’s not RI related, but I had to include it for the trivia and food freaks on your list. I gave this to my dad for his birthday and we found the questions quite challenging.

Foodie Fight on