Archive for the ‘shops’ Category

Glendarragh Farm Lavender’s new Camden store is heaven scent

June 7, 2010

I’m a huge lavender fan, not just for the scent, but also the taste. Lavender Earl Grey tea, lavender shortbread, lavender chocolate, lavender chicken… if the ingredients list lavender, I’m a goner. No surprise, then that my nose drew me into Glendarragh Farm Lavender’s new store in downtown Camden, and trust me, for lavender fans, this place truly is heaven scent: lotions, sachets, bath salts, soaps, teas, sweets, sachets, dried lavender, lavender plants; it’s all here perfuming the store and the street outside its front door.

The name Glendarragh, Gaelic for “Glen of the Oaks,” honors owners Lorie and Patrick Costigan’s Irish ancestry and refers to the oak forests that line the fields and pathways of theit 26-acre riverfront family farm in Appleton, where they grew multiple varieties of both French and English lavender. With the move to Camden, the farm is no longer regularly open to visitors except for special harvest events.

And did I mention it sells a lavender cookbook?

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Goat bliss: Open Creamery Day at Painted Pepper Farm

April 23, 2010

Here’s a delicious activity for this weekend: Painted Pepper Farm, in Steuben (that’s north of the Schoodic Peninsula), is the source of what I think is to-die-for gelato (try the lemon zest topped with blueberries), made from Nigerian goat milk. Saturday  (that’s tomorrow) is Open Creamery Day, and the farm is welcoming visitors, especially families, with music, storytelling, dancing, a kids’ fun run, and face painting, along with the opportunity to visit the dairy and see the newborn goat kids.

Of course, the farm will be selling its delicious yogurts (honey ginger, mmmm), cheese, fudge, and gelato as well as its other treats. During the summer, you can also purchase the farm’s products at local farmers’ markets, as well as on site. Taste, and you’ll quickly understand why this small, family-run saltwater farm has won so many awards for its products.

Dairy-free, gluten-free truffles

March 23, 2010

Dean’sSweets has created two new non-dairy and gluten-free truffle flavors for Passover. The hand-dipped truffles, made without dairy products or grains, are available in orange and coconut and will only be available until April 1. All Dean’sSweets truffles are made without preservatives or nuts (or nut products). Now you might think Dean’sSweets has taken all the fun out of truffles, but you’d be mistaken.

Cellardoor Winery pairs wine with food this spring

February 23, 2010

Taste your way through Maine without leaving the Midcoast. Maine’s Cellardoor Winery, with locations in Lincolnville and Rockport, is hosting wine-and-food pairings every weekend, May 2 through July 25; Saturdays in Rockport, Sundays in Lincolnville. Pairings include Maine cheeses and chocolates, as well as selections from local markets. The detailed schedule is available here.

Camden in winter? Sure!

January 29, 2010

Read my Boston Globe story about some of the wonderful reasons to visit Camden in Winter.

Bacon truffles?

December 31, 2009

I took my friend Kayt Sukel, a Germany-based freelance writer covering travel and food (She travels with her son Chet and contributes to TravelSavvyMom, check it out, among other places) on a foodie tour of Portland’s East End, yesterday, stopping in at my favorite haunts.

We began with lunch at Duckfat: fries (of course!). Now Kayt’s a worldly traveler, and she thought these among the best she’s ever tasted. “It’s the seasoning,” she said. And I agree. It’s just perfect.In addition,  I had the tomato-fennel soup, Kayt the smoked squash soup special (which she proclaimed I must have the next time it’s on the menu–consider that an in-the- know recommendation).

Next stop, DeansSweets, across the street. We sampled an in-the-testing-stage bacon truffle. Dean thinks it needs more smokiness, perhaps more salt. We agreed on the smokiness, not sure about the salt. Most of Dean’s truffles are not only nut free (actually all are nut free), but also gluten free, which allowed Kayt to buy some for a gluten-sensitive relative who always seems to miss out on the goodies.

Then we perused Rabelais‘ books, where I requested For all the Tea in China, by friend Sarah Rose and due out in March. It’s an industrial espionage story about tea (I kid you not). Should be a good read; watch for it.

Off to Two Cats: Me, a chocolate-chip cookie (of course); Kayt, a whoppie pie.

From there, we waddled off to Micucci‘s, where the line for Stephen’s pizza rivaled that for Duckfat’s fries. I stocked up on some necessities (prosciutto—is this the only place in the state that knows how to slice it?) and purchased some right-of-the-oven luna bread for each of us to take home (love that stuff).

Final tour stop: Homegrown Herb and Tea. I love this li’l place that’s so clearly without either a caffeine or sugar buzz. It exudes good karma. R.E.L.A.X., sip, enjoy, chill. And do order the kava kava January special made with lavendar and coconut milk and cocoa and too many other good tastes. Mmmmm. And home we went, me armed with Bresca blend tea and lavender shortbread and Kayt with a sniffle remedy for a Saturday bride with a red nose. Sarah can whip up a tea for any malady; I swear by her migraine tea.

Farmers Fare

December 21, 2009

One of the highlights of my visit to the Camden-Rockland area was finally getting to Farmers Fare, the new Rockport market and cafe emphasizing Maine grown produce and farm-made products. What a gem! It’s a huge post-and-beam structure, filled with food. There’s a butcher counter in one corner, a cafe on the other end. In between are freezers and refrigerated cases with ice cream, spreads, butter, beverages, cheeses and the like, and tables of breads, condiments, wines, sweets, chips, and so much more. If I hadn’t already finished my holiday shopping, I could have done it all here. Couldn’t help but pick up a few stocking stuffers, though.

The order-at-the-counter cafe has both pre-made and made-to-order fare. The menus lists soups, salads, small plates (one with Maine charcuterie, another featuring Maine cheese), and bigger plates ( all hot sandwiches ar available on gluten-free breads).

I’m never one to say no to artisan cheeses, and the so-called small plate was huge. It included Appelton Creamery Camembert, Sunset Acres Farm Chevre, Bigelow Mountain Blue, and Swallowtail Farm Queso Blanco, arranged on a bed of mesclun greens and accompanied by grilled baguette slices and chutney, all for $7.99.

Farmers Fare isn’t just a store, it’s a community center, with events, such as tastings and lectures,  suppers and even a visit by Santa on the calendar.

With the Rockport Marketplace, home of the State of Maine Cheese Company, Cellardoor Winery’s shop, Fresh Off the Farm natural foods market, and the Market Basket gourmet foods shop, Rockport is becoming quite a delicious destination.

Perfect last-minute gifts

December 19, 2009

While shopping in downtown Rockland, I found two late additions for my holiday want list that might be perfect for someone on your list, too:

• The gorgeous felted wool hats sold at and made by the staff at the Project Puffin Visitor Center. The hats have images of puffins knitted into them, quite realistic, too. And while you’re here, you might want to adopt a puffin for that impossible-to-buy-for person on your holiday list. Act quickly, the center closes after this weekend and doesn’t reopen untiol May (with the noted exception of the Pie Weekend, in Janaury).

• The chic Maine Bait Bag, designed and made by a woman in Owls Head. These little gems are made from lobster trap parts, but have luxurious silk linings in a rainbow of rich colors. And the metal strap can’t be cut by a grab-and-run thief. Quite ingenious and fashionable, too. Find them at Caravans.

Speaking of the holidays…

November 21, 2009

I recently received Nervous Nellie’s 2009-2010 catalog, and it’s filled with cool Made-in-Maine gifts. Anne and Peter make the best jams and jellies (including a marmalade that my husband labels his favorite–which says a lot, the guy loves marmalade). All are made in Deer Isle, without preservatives, colorings, or flavor agents. These products are the real deal, authentic, not artificial. I’m a fan of the red raspberry and the wild Maine blueberry, but there are other yummy choices, too.

Beyond jams and jellies, the catalog (on the web, too), lists:

• Maine wildflower honey
• Joan’s scones (same ones sold in the cafe)
• cornmeal griddle cakes
• Maine maple syrup (the best)

It also sells:
• teas ad coffees
• kitchen goodies
• bird houses (one-of-a-kind crafted from recycled wood and salvage)
• float rope doormats (same rope lobstermen use to hall and tether traps)
• locally made folk art ornaments
• books
• Maine balsam pillows
• pottery
• Peter’s Nervous Nellie’s books (episodes 1–6) and posters.
And, of course, gift boxes.
Truly, you could find something for just about everyone on your holiday list here.
And be sure to add Nervous Nellie’s to your must-visit list for the next time you’re in Maine. For more on this special place, see my previous posting.

An autumn ramble

October 8, 2009

EIMG_4590ven though the color is a bit from peak, it’s still gorgeous in the Bethel area. If you’re looking to slip away for a day or two, you won’t go wrong here in the next week or so.

My overnight began with a backroad noodle through the village- and lake-speckled rural countryside between m Augusta and Bethel. Trust me on this: Arm yourself with a DeLorme Map and Guide and just mosey through Leeds, Turner, Buckfield, Sumner etc. The rewards are well worth a few wrong turns; actually getting lost is half the fun.

IMG_4577Once in Bethel, I met a friend for lunch, a pulled-pork sandwich at BBQ Bob’s Orange Trailer, adjacent to the Good Food Store on Route 2. Despite retreating to a car to finish lunch due to an afternoon sprinkle, I give this picnic table enterprise high marks. Wasn’t too crazy about the cornbread, but the pork was delish.

IMG_4634Then off to the Crocker Pond House, an architect-designed B&B down a rural byway off Route 2. What a find! Stuart (he’s the architect) and Ellen Crocker’s B&B blends angles, projections, big windows, balconies, soaring spaces and intimate places into a cozy whole. Family rooms have sleeping lofts for the kids, a great idea. So quiet at night, too. How quiet? While in the living room, I could hear the soft psiu psiu of the cats padding down the hall. And outside, acres of undeveloped land, with a big lawn, a private pond, and trails deep into the woods. And breakfast? Stuart’s magnificent blueberry pancakes.

For dinner, I hit $5 burger night at the Jolly Drayman at the Brier Lea, an extremely popular Monday night happening in Bethel. No little patties here, these are big burgers topped with lettuce, onion, and tomato and served with a generous side of fries. All for $5.

IMG_4682Next morning, I wandered around Bethel, then drove over Paradise Hill, a must for foliage viewing without stress. Drive out past the Bethel Inn, then keep going, bending to the left on Paradise Hill Road. It climbs up to a ridge with panoramic mountain views off both sides, before dropping. At the T intersection, turn left and you’ll be back in downtown Bethel. A quick loop, but one with big rewards for leaf peepers.

Lunch: S.S. Milton. First time I’ve returned since it replaced Mother’s ages ago. I’ll definitely make it a must on my returns to Bethel. Good food, well prepared, friendly service, and a comfy space: a warren of small rooms in an old Victorian on Main Street. IMG_4587

Next stop, Cafe DiCocoa for chocolate chip cookies (yup, these rival those at Old Gourmet for top honors so far) and tea for the road. (Note to self: Return in winter for one of the ethnic themed prix fixe dinners).

IMG_4706Final stop, in Turner at Nezinscot Farm. What a gem, a family farm/fiber store/frommagerie/cafe/and so much  more. I purchased farm-made cheese, meats, relish, pickles, Anadama bread (some of the best I’ve had, right up there with that from Friar’s Bakery, in Bangor) and yes, a cookie (excellent!, a contender).