Whooooa. Robyn is such an fantastic food-trader-wither. I did a food trade with her a few weeks ago, but because of an excessive backlog of posts, I had to set aside enough time to give her package its much deserved thanks. Thank you Robyn, for giving my many cavities and fat calories :) Everything was so good I ate it all in a matter of three days, giving no regard whatsoever to the excessive quantities of sugar I consumed. I was on a continuous happy sugar high. Oooh, food trades, so bad, yet so gastronomically satisfying.
Thank you thank you Robyn!
The beautiful baby is the LEVAIN cookie. Oh, sexy, this hefty chocolate chip walnut baby weighs in at half a pound. I don’t know where to begin but know you’re not supposed to eat it all in one sitting (which I regretfully/happily did). You bite and it’s like Whhhoooa. Crazy. The insides were soft and cookie doughy with equally generous portions of walnut and chocolate chunks. It drove me crazier than any guy ever has. It’s rich, it’s moist, it’s huge. There’s really nothing more you need in a cookie. If I were not simultaneously a bad photographer and aggressive eater, you’d also see the innards, which I scarfed down too quickly to be photographed. I’m sending you over to read Robyn’s review, which not only offer better pictures but is a 100 times more drool worthy.
Buried in the tasty heap of sweets was a City Bakery cookie. It manages to be iron board flat, crispy and crunchy but at the same time, include not chips or chunks of chocolate but layers of chocolate. Mind blowing. And we thought chocolate chip cookies were just chocolate chip cookies.
You see this little green and white striped box? It’s magical. I requested that Robyn include macarons, my favorite cookie addiction of the moment. After reading much about these French cookies on many blogs and tasting a trio of mini macarons at Jin’s Patisseire, all I wanted to do was eat the world one macaron at a time :)
Ok, these pictures are unforgivably bad. Please don’t judge taste by them. They chipped a little in the mail, but that was rendered negligible after the first bite. This is what the pistachio one is supposed to look like. Now that’s an awesome picture, isn’t is? But the one I need to tell you about is the chocolate bugger on the right. This was the single best item in the whole package (a difficult choice to make!) I bit into cookie and was instantly taken aback by how the thin brittle layer with just a whiff of chocolate gave way to a dense, moist and chewy innard. Before I could comprehend this, something oh so smooth slid across my tongue, a dark rich and bitter chocolate ganache. Caught between the two perfectly round cocoa cookies, it was chocolate in the most sinfully addicting form. I told myself I would only eat half, as I insisted on “sampling” EVERYTHING while opening the box. Ha. Half? Are you kidding. The whole macaron in all its decadence made it’s way from NYC and straight into my tummy. I would not have had it any other way.
Much to my delight, Robyn kindly tucked in a duo of chocolate truffles hidden in the Financier box. I gave one away to Meg, my future roommate and kept the dark chocolate coconut for myself. Sweeet. A bite into the mellow, bitterly sweet shell revealed a liquidly center, boasting rich coconut flavors. It was a bit sugary for my tastes, or maybe it was cause I just had a ton of sugar via various baked goods J
The cookie parade never ends! This Ranger Cookie was from Alice’s Tea Cup. This was the “healthiest” cookie of the bunch, with all the good basics rolled into a light and crisp disk. Every sweet crumbly bite revealed combinations of chocolate chips, coconut and rice crispies. It was a comfort cookie, like something found at a (very good) school bake sale. I have fond memories of Alice’s, having visited at least every other week to enjoy afternoon tea. Often I’d go by myself, nothing quite like passing away a Friday afternoon hidden underground in the cozy nooks of this restaurant. I love their scones the way a mother loves her daughter, an intense fondness and…ooookay. That was getting way off. But yes. They’ve got a wonderful rotation of scones, my favorite being the strawberry caramel and ginger honey blueberry. Fly me home to the city and I promise we’ll dine on scones together. Cream and jam. You, me and a dozen scones. Divine!
What is this? Huge, triangular, all the poppy seeds on the planet packed into a dough that’s not quite cookie, not really cake, but both! It’s a hamentaschen :) No fruit filled ones here, only poppy seed will do. This particular one came from Moishe’s in the East Village, nyc’s finest (in my opinion) Jewish bakery. I like these cause every bit has that haunting flavor of poppy entwined with a softer cakey shortbread-like dough. None of the components are sweet in the traditional baked good sense, but put together, they make a most interesting kind of cookie.
I saved the best for last! Oh wait, I already said the Financier’s chocolate macaron was the best. Ok. It will be a tie. I requested this loaf from Arte Around the Corner after reading Nosher’s post. His post honestly made me drool and all I could think about for the next two days was his sage-honey loaf. I’d sit in class trying to balance so-and-so’s firm’s 1999 balance sheet when the words “sage-honey loaf” would dance across my head and right onto my paper. Instead of debiting the inventories account, I had drawn a picture of the loaf. Nice. Which explains why I was literally trembling when I saw the loaf in Robyn’s package. They had run out of the sage flavor, but I was equally content with the rosemary-honey loaf. It looked beautiful and tasted even better. A thick dense slice that smelled and tasted powerfully of rosemary, richly saturated in honey. The edges, after a light toasting, were delicately tender and crisp. Isn’t the color of the slice something? The contrast between golden brown and a husky yellow? I’m not kidding when I said saturated with honey, my head was spinning, all sweet breads need be honey soaked then boldly shocked with savory herbs. I love it! I love it!
I’ve been updating a spreadsheet on pu’erh prices on release for the past few years in order to get an idea of tea being offered to western consumers and any possible trends. The well-known popular narrative is that fresh pu’erh prices have gone up and this certainly seems true in the data. Last year the prices looked about the same as the previous year. And when and how much the price has gone up depends on how we look at this and there’s a handful of different ways to look at the data and options available (I do three here).