All About Americana
By The Foodies./ email@example.com
When it comes to the holidays, Mary McDonald, the owner of
A Rise Above Bake Shop in Huntington village, doesnt
like to rush the season.
At her shop, Christmas music doesnt start until at least
a week after Thanksgiving. This year, with that holiday falling
about as early as it can on Nov. 22 it allowed
her to slowly ease into the season.
Were kind of slowly going into it, she said.
I figure by [this week], well have all the cookies
we normally make for Christmas.
This time of year, her kitchen is working overtime, baking
dozens of cookies. Many are a blend of year-round favorites
like Chocolate Chewies and Kitchen Sink cookies, accented
with holiday-shaped spice cookies, shortbread, spritz, orange
crisps and pecan puffs.
With about three weeks to go before Santa makes landfall in
Huntington, McDonald and others are now on their annual mission
to bring good taste and great food to tables all over town.
For Mary Alice Meinserman, proprietor of Bon Bons Chocolatier
in Huntington village, the next years mission begins
right after Christmas wraps up as early as January.
All the gift items, paper goods, theyre all bought
ahead so we can get some kind of selection, she said.
What she gets in January guides her later that fall as she
decides what to feature during the holidays. This year, she
snapped up a collection of candy-cane boxes, and peppermint
is abundant in her chocolate range, paired with staples like
sugar and spice pecans, Marzipan, Christmas crackers, chocolate
pops and hollow chocolate molds of Santas, angels, snowmen
and more, ranging from $6 to $100. On Thursday, her executive
chef, Eric Lobignat, was decorating sugar-plum cottages in
the kitchen, trimming them with white chocolate blended with
corn syrup to get the right consistency.
Wherever you go, shops are playing to their strengths as the
big day approaches. Jess Kennaugh, owner of Blondies Bake
Shop in Centerport, is gearing up. Last week she rolled out
all things gingerbread, like loaves, muffins and
cupcakes. This week, shell be rolling out a selection
of egg nog delicacies, including cakes and cupcakes with cinnamon
buttercream icing. After a successful Thanksgiving season
where pies were king, she said shell be keeping apple
offerings going as long as we can.
Were expanding the cookie line to add some holiday
favorites we have iced sugar cookies and a few other
things in the works, she said.
A one-stop destination for foodies is 278 Main St., where
Ideal Cheese and The Crushed Olive share space. In front,
The Crushed Olive is presenting specialty gift baskets with
flavored oils, which can be used to prepare a wide range of
dishes. Manager Dana Coletti said that oils are a great gift
for a teacher, mailman or your holiday host.
Popular flavors include Tuscan herb, traditional balsamic
vinaigrette, fig balsamic vinegar, and garlic olive oil. Coletti
suggested health enthusiasts try her blood-orange olive oil
as a salad dressing. Gift boxes and baskets can be custom
ordered; small boxes range from $5-$20, and larger gifts are
priced from $35 to $80.
Meanwhile, in the back, Ideal Cheese offers imported cheeses
fresh off the wheel. For their first Christmas in Huntington,
owners Julius and Chris Binetti hope to bring the holiday
spirit into the workplace, with antipasto platters and decorative
baskets filled to the brim with chunks and wedges of their
favorite cheeses. When serving cheese, never do so straight
from the fridge, Julius said.
Cheese is always better when you leave it out for two
to three hours before you serve it, he explained. That
way, you get 100 percent of the flavor.
Italian specialty stores and butchers are always busy this
time of year as Italians prepare for their Feast of the Seven
Fishes. At Mr. Sausage (6 Union Place, Huntington), the Baldanza
brothers offer authentic assortments of Italian staples. Antipasto
platters are a hit during the holiday season, they said, and
popular orders often include fresh mozzarella, salami, olives,
soppressata and lasagna, all prepared on site. Cold and hot
platters typically start at $80 for up to 20 people.
If your sweet tooth is particularly persistent, Chipn
Dipped is chock-full of chocolate, cookies and other assorted
candies at their 342 New York Ave. location. The store offers
chocolates in both Christmas and Hanukkah-inspired designs,
such as large chocolate Santas ($39.95) and chocolate lollipops
shaped like dredils ($5.95).
Wild Flours Bake Shop (11 New St., Huntington) caters to a
gluten-free audience, offering customers with dietary restrictions
the opportunity to indulge with their family and friends over
the holiday and year-round, too. The store has pre-made baskets
with seasonal baked goods, such as peppermint scones and brownies,
gingerbread scones and seasonally decorated cupcakes. Owner
Carolyn Arcario said she plans to offer customers three types
of baskets, including a breakfast basket for an office holiday
party that includes gluten-free oats, maple syrup, fresh breakfast
pastries or organic coffee, an assortment with a variety of
baked goods, and a pasta dinner basket, including sauce, baguettes
And Reinwalds Bakery (495 New York Ave., Huntington
Station) thrives during the holiday months, as store owners
Richard and Carole Reinwald see a season shift in customers
requests. According to the couple, the Thanksgiving season
is all about producing pies, whereas December brings a large
volume of cookie and cake requests.
When you see a cookie platter on your kitchen table,
it makes it really feel like home, Rich said.
Tradition and family are cornerstones of the bakery, and the
couple said they enjoy introducing their patrons to traditional
German desserts that they were raised on. Holiday favorites
include their spekulatius cookies, a spiced cookie rich in
butter and ground nuts. The Reinwalds also said their authentic
gingerbread recipe offers a different flavor than others,
because the recipe is over 100 years old and was passed down
from relatives in Germany. The gingerbread recipe calls for
baking soda and is unique because there is no sugar added,
and no fat in the final product.
And in Northport, Copenhagen Bakery on Woodbine Avenue said
one pastry rises above all comers this time of year.
Cookies, cookies, cookies. A lot of cookie trays,
owner Flemming Hansen said. You can bring flowers, wine
or cookies [to a holiday party]. Those are your easy choices.
Its not refrigerated, its easy to grab a tray
and people can pick at it.
Special features include brunkager, a Danish spice cookie,
and German spice cookies. Theres also plenty of gingerbread
houses, gingerbread men, Yule logs and other Scandinavian
specialties like the Paris-Brest, a large baked ring of choux
pastry that is cut in half and filled with whipped cream.