For Kids & Grownups! Halloween Graveyard Cake Recipe

halloween graveyard cake recipe

Gourmet cooking was not something that we usually associated with children until very recently, and in part we can thank reality TV for that. But with the advent of cooking shows like Junior Master Chef (in the UK) and MasterChef Junior (in the US), we’ve come to realize that kids in the kitchen can deliver delicious -if messy – results.

Because Halloween is a holiday almost exclusively designed for kids, we thought it was a great time to share our love of all things delicious with the tiny chefs of our life. But enough with processed, packaged, sugary-sweet candy and out-of-the-box cookies! Our version of a Halloween treat this year is something made at home, made from scratch, and that both kids and grown-ups can enjoy making and eating. A spooky Graveyard Cake!

Anything chocolate is sure to please all palates, young or old, so our Graveyard Cake starts with a delicious chocolate cake base. Building our fun and frightful “graveyard” is easy from there – it’s as easy as some scrumptious shortbread cookies shaped like tombstones that your kids will have so much fun decorating. A dusting of chocolate to look like the earth has been removed (and the undead come up to party!), and you’re pretty much done. If chocolate cake is not your thing, you can always substitute with a brownie base, which will also look and taste great.

This Halloween, share the kitchen with your kids, and discover how much fun it can be! Have a spooky and deliciously good time!

halloween graveyard cake recipe


Halloween Graveyard Cake Recipe

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Halloween Graveyard Cake Recipe



    For Cookies
  1. Print and cut out a tombstone stencil over cardboard. Alternatively, you can draw it by hand. Set aside.
  2. Sift the flour over your counter and make a bowl-like indentation in the middle.
  3. Place the butter, powdered sugar, yolk and vanilla extract in the indentation.
  4. Start mixing the ingredients, folding the flour into the wet ingredients, and forming the dough. Alternatively, you can also do this with an electric mixer with paddle attachment.
  5. After the dough ball is formed, flatten into a disc, wrap in film and let chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour before use.
  6. Turn the oven to 350 C.
  7. Remove the dough from the fridge and cut into 3 or 4 sections. Over a floured surface, roll each one into ¼ inch thick discs.
  8. Using your cardboard mold to guide you, cut out the dough into the tombstone shape, using a sharp pointed knife.
  9. Transfer the cookies to a baking sheet lined with wax paper, and place back in the fridge for another 15 minutes.
  10. Bake until just lightly golden, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  11. Melt the chocolate with the cream, and use it to decorate the cookies, using a piping bag.
  12. For Cake
  13. Turn oven to 350 F.
  14. In a bowl, combine the buttermilk with the oil.
  15. In a different bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar, until it turns light and frothy. Add the buttermilk and oil mix, mixing gently to incorporate. Sift the flour and cacao powder and fold into the mix, using a spatula.
  16. Line your cake mold with waxed paper, then grease both the paper and the sides of the mold with butter.
  17. Bake for about 24 minutes. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the cake, if it comes out clean and dry, it’s ready. Remove from oven and let it cool over a rack. Once cooled down, unmold, and cut into rectangular portions. Reserve.
  18. For the frosting, start by heating the cream. Once it reaches a boil, remove from the stove and add the chopped chocolate, but do not mix. After a few minutes, mix with a spatula until combined and leave to cool and thicken.
  19. Cover each mini cake with the chocolate icing, using a spatula or palette knife. Place a Tombstone Cookie on each cake. Finish off with a sprinkling of grated chocolate.
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Meatless Monday: Pumpkin Gnocchi Recipe

pumpkin gnocchi recipe

Fall is a favorite culinary season for many of us. There’s still an abundance of fresh produce to be had in the markets, but the cooling temperatures allow the chef to once more unfold the apron and re-enter the kitchen. Days gets shorter, the light gets more golden, and we again turn to comforting, hearty recipes that will carry us through the winter.

We of course turn to carb-heavy dishes, and pasta is definitely a favorite of all, but after all the pasta salads of the summer, you might be hankering for something more filling and a bit more interesting. Like gnocchi: small, pillowy pasta dumplings are so evocative of Italian Nonas. Or, in this case, pumpkin gnocchi!

pumpkin gnocchi recipe

Alas, many people hear the word “homemade gnocchi” and hear: kitchen nightmare! But don’t be intimidated by this homemade pasta! It’s actually very easy to make, and is a great recipe for any weeknight (yes, we promise).

pumpkin gnocchi recipe

We decided not to go with the traditional potato gnocchi, which can still be quite heavy for this time of year, and also has no nutritional benefits to speak of (other than delicious, which is not a nutritional benefit). Instead, try our very seasonal pumpkin gnocchi, made with roasted pumpkin (butternut squash will also do in a pinch).  Not only is it lighter, pumpkin is also rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene, which are great to pump our immune system for the winter ahead (for more information on the amazing health benefits of pumpkin, check out this article).

pumpkin gnocchi recipe

You can choose to mark the pumpkin gnocchi with the traditional ridges with the tines of a fork, but if you find that too time-consuming, gnocchi can be perfectly (and in some chef’s opinion, correctly) served plain. What is important is to roast the pumpkin instead of boiling it, so you don’t add any water to them – water is the enemy of gnocchi. Also important: make sure the gnocchi are about ½ inch thick, and not any thicker, which will cause the outside to cook faster than the inside.

pumpkin gnocchi recipe

Pair your pumpkin gnocchi with your favorite sauce. In our case, that is a simple and traditional brown butter and sage sauce. A generous serving of grated Italian cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano, and you’re got a delicious fall dinner recipe.


Pumpkin Gnocchi Recipe

Prep Time: 18 minutes

Serving Size: 4 servings


  • 1 ½ cups pumpkin, cubed
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup Grana Padano cheese, very finely grated
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus 1/3 cup for kneading
  • 2 tsp. Sea salt
  • 5 tbsp. Butter
  • ¼ cup fresh sage leaves
  • salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. In a bowl, toss the cubed pumpkin with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Arrange in a baking sheet, and bake until they’re tender and golden about 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven, let cool down to warm, and puree using a food processor.
  5. In a bowl, mix 1 cup of the pumpkin puree with the Grana Padano cheese, egg yolk and nutmeg, until incorporated. Slowly add in the flour, mixing and forming a soft dough ball.
  6. Working on a floured surface, cut the dough into equal pieces, then roll them out into ropes of about ½ inch thick. Add more flour as needed as you go along. Cut each rope into small pieces, about ½ inch wide. They should resemble small, plump pillows.
  7. Optional: using a fork dipped in flour, mark the gnocchi with the tines of the fork by rolling it and gently pressing down.
  8. Transfer to a floured baking sheet.
  9. Boil a large pot of salted water, and start adding the gnocchi, a few at a time, stirring once in a while. Once they rise to the surface, cook for an additional 30 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon or skimmer. Set aside on a pan or large plate while you work on your sauce.
  10. Heat a large saucepan until hot, then add the butter. Once the butter has melted completely, add the sage and stir. Leave it for about ½ minutes, until fragrant, then add the gnocchi and toss till golden. Serve with a good amount of grated Grana Padano.
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Fall is Duck Season! The Beauty of Duck + A Duck Magret Recipe

duck magret recipe

Duck is definitely an underrated meat option in America, where the chicken and turkey reign supreme at the dinner table. And that’s just wrong! There are so many delicious possibilities with duck, from a crispy-skinned magret to a fall-of-the-bone duck leg confit.

Perhaps it’s that people seem to think that cooking with duck is fussy, complicated and too “gourmet” for them, and nothing could be further from the truth; duck is simple and incredibly versatile, and all it takes is a pan, a little prep work and some tips to get the satisfaction of a beautifully browned, crackling crispy duck breast, every time. Right now is the perfect time to give duck meat it’s fair time in the sun, and cook something different tonight!

duck magret recipe

Although there are many different types of duck, the most common are Moulard and Muscovy, as well as the classic Peking so used in Chinese cooking. But there’s something incredibly French about duck, and not in a sophisticated and exclusive cuisine sort of way, but more of a rustic, comforting and hearty type of cooking. The flavors of duck magret are earthy and rich, and when cooked, the rendered fat gives it a luxurious mouth feel that has little to do with the price of the dish.

Especially during the fall months, when we’re veering away from grilling and salads, duck makes for a fabulous transition, adding richness without heaviness (which we won’t need till the winter), and pairing wonderfully with orchard fruits like apples. When cooking duck magret, save that flavorful rendered fat – you can sauté the most amazing potatoes of your life with it!

Duck Magret With Apple Remoulade Recipe

Prep Time: 18 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Duck Magret  With Apple Remoulade Recipe


  • 2 raw duck magret breasts
  • 3 cups white cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cut into strips (peel on)
  • 1 Red Delicious apple, cut into strips (peel on)
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup fresh parsley
  • 3 tbsp. Toasted almonds, sliced
  • 8 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. Sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large bowl, mix the cabbage, apples, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Toss to coat and reserve in the fridge, covered.
  2. Score the top of the magret (where the layer of fat is) with a sharp knife. How : cut diagonally in one direction, end to end, then score in the other direction, creating a diamond-like, hash mark pattern. Note: don’t cut into the meat itself, but rather cut halfway down the fat.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  4. In a pre-heated non-stick pan, cook fat-side down, for about 2-3 minutes, until golden. Discard the rendered fat, and transfer to a roasting pan, middle rack. Cook 8 a 10 minutes, until medium-rare.
  5. Let it rest 10 minutes, covered.
  6. Prepare the dressing: heat up the balsamic vinegar in small saucepan at low heat, simmer until reduced by half.
  7. Add basil and parsley to the cabbage remoulade.
  8. Serve the magret, sliced thinly, over a bed of the remoulade. Note : serve about ½ a magret per person. Sprinkle with almonds, and add the dressing.
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Ready to give this recipe a try? Buy succulent duck magret and other amazing duck products during our DUCK SALE! Going on now until October 6th.  Shop sale >


Italian Starter: Prosciutto Ham, Baked Pears & Mozzarella Burrata Appetizer Recipe

prosciutto and buratta appetizer

Italian cooking starts with deceptively simple ingredients: hams – like the mouthwatering Prosciutto di Parma – that are cured to perfection, cheeses that are crafted with attention to detail, plus ripe fruit and herbs, all picked fresh, of course.

prosciutto and buratta appetizer

prosciutto and buratta appetizer

You might not be able to tour Italy (right now), but you can start you meal with this delicious appetizer made of two Italian classics: salty and buttery Prosciutto di Parma ham, and juicy and sweet Burrata alla Panna, a runny cheese that’s taking the US by storm. Add some perfectly ripe pears baked in honey and a sprig of rosemary, and you’ll be instantly transported to an Italian ristorante.

Prosciutto Ham, Baked Pears & Mozzarella Burrata Appetizer Recipe

Yield: 18

 Prosciutto Ham, Baked Pears & Mozzarella Burrata Appetizer Recipe



  1. Turn the oven to 375 F.
  2. Mix the honey and balsamic vinegar in a bowl, and toss with the pears to coat.
  3. Arrange in a baking sheet, and bake for about 25 minutes, or until tender, turning once. Let cool out of the oven.
  4. Cut the burratta into slices. The slices should be about as wide as the slice of prosciutto.
  5. To assemble, place a slice of prosciutto flat on a board, and brush with crème fraiche. Add salt and pepper. Place a wedge of pear and a slice of burrata, at one end, leaving about ½ inch of prosciutto overlapping. Roll into a tight bundle, then, skewer with a stem of rosemary to hold the shape.
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Friday Night Dessert: French Fondant Cake Recipe (Lava Cake)

french fondant cake recipe

It’s the weekend! After you’re done with work, the gym, and happy hour, let’s talk dessert! Tonight: French Fondant Cake with Ganache Center, or, fondant au chocolat.

french fondant cake recipe

Gooey, super-chocolaty, warm and delicious, a French fondant au chocolat looks very similar to the American Lava Cake, but it’s actually a bit different (and more delicious, we think!). The American version is based on the French Moelleux cake. The main difference? Fondant cakes have a piece of chocolate or ganache in the middle, which melts into liquid chocolate goodness. Think of it as the Lava Cake, reloaded.

The beauty of the lava cake is that it only LOOKS complicated to make. In reality, it couldn’t be easier. There are no mysterious, hard-to-find ingredients or complicated, intricate techniques. We know, the results look so professional and restaurant-quality, it’s hard to believe, but it’s true! All you really need in terms of “special equipment” are ramekins or pudding molds (also called darioles). The batter is simple (and delicious!): chocolate, eggs, butter, sugar, and a tiny bit of flour to give it body and texture. The only semi-tricky part is melting the chocolate, which needs to be done in a double boiler or “bain marie”. What that really means is that you melt it slowly so you don’t burn it.

french fondant cake recipe

In our recipe, we go one step further and teach you how to make your own chocolate ganache. Don’t be intimidated! It’s really quite simple and gives the molten cakes an extra layer of yumminess. However, if you’re short on time (or energy), just ignore those steps and replace the home-made ganache with a piece of regular baking chocolate, it will work just as well.

french fondant cake recipe

Prepping these ahead is a total breeze – you can even make them one day ahead and keep them in the fridge or freezer. The cook in about 15 minutes, so you can turn the oven during appetizers, pop them in the oven while you’re clearing the plates, and voila, have these stunning little cakes on the table before any of you guests even say, “what’s for dessert?”

Serve these with a scoop of ice cream, and your favorite sauce. It’s Friday and we love a boozy sauce, so we whipped up a Caramel Frangelico Sauce to accompany them. A guaranteed crowd-pleaser, this is the dessert of dreams!

TGIF, fellow foodies!


Friday Night Dessert: French Fondant Cake Recipe (Lava Cake)

Rating: 51

Yield: 4 individual cakes

Friday Night Dessert: French Fondant Cake Recipe (Lava Cake)



    For the ganache
  1. Place the 2 oz. of chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof mixing bowl.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until just boiling. Pour it over the chocolate, mixing until the chocolate is fully melted and the cream is integrated.
  3. Let cool at room temperature, then take to the fridge for 30 minutes, then further cool it in the freezer for another 15 minutes.
  4. For the Cake
  5. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  6. Grease the ramekins or molds by brushing them with butter, using a kitchen brush and using upward motions. Reserve in the fridge.
  7. Melt the remainder 7 oz. of chocolate with the butter in a Bain Marie or double boiler, mixing gently until fully melted. Reserve warm.
  8. Whisk the eggs, yolks and sugar until the mix is frothy and pale. Sift in the flour; add the melted butter and chocolate, mixing with a spatula using gentle, enveloping movements to fully blend all the batter ingredients.
  9. Fill about 2/3 of the molds with the batter.
  10. Take the (now solid) chocolate ganache out of the freezer and cut 4 small cubes (about 1 inch square). Insert one into the center of each mold, and then cover with the chocolate batter until the mold is full.
  11. Place the molds on a baking tray and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes at 400 F (you’ll see that will rise).
  12. Remove from the oven, and carefully unmold by tipping over a plate or bowl.
  13. Serve with a scoop of ice cream, and some Caramel Frangelico Sauce. Sprinkle with cocoa powder or icing sugar for decoration.


This recipe also includes directions to make your own chocolate ganache for the center. If you're short on time - or energy - use a piece of baking chocolate instead, and start the recipe at Step 4.

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Labor Day Recipe: Lamb Burger With Brie & Spicy Sriracha Mayo

lamb burger sriracha mayoWe’re only a couple of days away from the holiday weekend, and chances are that in between your spreadsheets, documents, files and forms, you’re Pinterest-ing away for some delicious grilling and cookout recipes. To help you out, we’ve come up with an incredible lamb burger recipe, developed right here at the Gourmet Food Store kitchens! We’re big fans of flavorful lamb meat, with its bold taste and always-juicy texture. Plus, it’s healthy! Lamb is primarily grass-fed, which means the meat is higher in healthy Omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed beef.

Start with premium quality ground lamb meat, like Broadleaf’s New Zealand grass-fed lamb, raised in a healthy natural environment in family-run farms (you can find it at at $8.23 per lb.).

After you’ve done your shopping, there are a few tricks to learn to grill up the perfect lamb burger, so read on!

First, mix all the ingredients with the lamb meat well, but gently. You don’t want to give it a Swedish massage, but you want the mix to be dense enough that it will hold its shape during cooking and won’t fall apart on the grill. We also used grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese in our mix, not only to add flavor, but also because it helps hold the mix together as it melts. Another tip? Creating a small indentation or dimple with your thumb in the middle of the patty also helps to keep the shape of the burger (otherwise you’ll end up with a puffy ball).

When grilling, always stay away from open flames to avoid flare-ups. You’ll want coals only and a two-zone grill to cook these lamb burgers to perfection. Lamb meat has some great fat in it that needs to be melted to be enjoyable, so you really don’t want “rare” lamb burgers. That being said, nobody likes a charred, overcooked burger, so aim for medium or medium-rare when cooking lamb burgers. The Internal cooking temperatures for lamb are:  125°F for medium-rare and 135°F for medium.

Rather than going for the traditional doughy burger bun, opt for brioche bread. This enriched French-style bread is perfect for hamburgers. Light but firm, buttery and a bit sweet, it complements the rich flavors of the meat wonderfully.

Finally, go light on the condiments. You don’t want to overwhelm that great, complex flavor that is so particular to lamb meat by over-seasoning it or over-spicing it. We went with some onions and salty capers, and then mixed up a spicy Sriracha mayo to add some zest. A few slices of gooey Brie, and you’ve got the ultimate gourmet burger for your (almost) final summer grilling event this weekend!

Rest, relax and eat! Happy Labor Day!

Lamb Burger With Brie & Spicy Sriracha Mayo Recipe

Rating: 51

Yield: 4 burgers

Lamb Burger With Brie & Spicy Sriracha Mayo Recipe


  • 30 oz. ground lamb meat
  • 2 oz. grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 tbsp. Capers, chopped
  • 2 or 3 tbsps. Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 8 slices of brioche bread
  • 7 oz. Brie
  • 2 cups baby greens
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 red onion, sliced into thin rings
  • 5 tbsps. Mayonnaise
  • 1 or 2 tbsps. Sriracha sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Using your hands, gently mix the lamb meat with the Parmigiano cheese, onion, capers, salt and pepper. Mix well so that the ingredients will mix fully. This will make the patties keep their shape better during cooking.
  2. Divide in 4 parts and form 4 disc-shaped patties. Wrap each individual patties in film and reserve in the fridge.
  3. Mix the mayo with the Sriracha, whisking until fully blended. Reserve in the fridge.
  4. Cut the brioche in half and brush with olive oil. Toast in the oven, flipping them so that they’re evenly toasted on both sides. If you want to use your toaster, toast first, then brush with olive oil.
  5. While the bread is toasting, start grilling your burgers.
  6. Heat up your grill to medium, and make sure your coals are distributed evenly. You don’t want a direct open flame.
  7. Brush the burgers with extra virgin olive oil, and grill about 5 minutes on each side. If you have an instant-read thermometer, lamb is medium-rare at 125°F, and medium at 135°F. Let burgers rest outside the grill for at last 2 minutes before serving, so that the juices have time to redistribute.
  8. Just before the lamb burgers are done, cut the brioche in half and brush with olive oil, then toast them over the grill, flipping once so that they’re evenly toasted on both sides. Alternative: If you want to use your toaster, toast first, then brush with olive oil.
  9. Spread the Sriracha mayo on each side of the bread; place a few greens, the red onions, a slice of tomatoes, and the burger, finishing with a slice of Brie and a few more greens.
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The Essentials To A Spanish Tapas Menu

spanish tapas menu


The concept of “tapas” is quintessentially Spanish and is truly a reflection of the supremely social culture of Spain, whose people just love gatherings and celebrations of any type.  

The “tapeo” consists of a selection of easy-to-eat savory dishes, much like appetizers are used in America. But rather as an opening act to the main dishes, these hearty and delicious small dishes are the star of meal.

Eaten by hand or with small forks, and consisting of mostly premium cured meats like Ibérico ham and sausages like chorizo, cheeses, olives, anchovies, pickled peppers, nuts and some classic prepared dishes like Patatas Bravas and Gambas al Ajillo, the idea of Spanish tapas is to reduce the effort in the kitchen in order to spend more time actually eating and talking.  With the bounty of superb Spanish foods widely available today, hosting a tapas party this summer is as easy as stocking up on some essentials – including a fine bottle of Spanish wine.


Spanish Hams

Buttery and succulent Spanish hams are some of the best (and for some, THE best) in the world, and a must-have for any Spanish tapas party worthy of its name.

spanish tapas menus

Serrano ham: Serrano comes from a breed of Spanish white pigs, raised under stringent standards of quality and dry-cured for at least a year in a pristine mountainous area. The result is a rich and firm ham, salty but buttery that’s always found in a Spanish tapas spread.

Jamon Ibérico: The crème de la crème of hams, the words “Jamón Ibérico” makes any foodie’s mouth start watering. Ibérico ham comes exclusively from black-hoofed pigs called Pata Negra, with a privileged genetic that makes their meat richer in delicious intramuscular fat (the same high-quality fat that gives Kobe beef breeds their characteristic flavor), and thus more flavorful and juicier than any other. But If you really want to step up your Spanish tapas game, you’ll want to go for “Iberico de Bellota ham, which comes from Iberico pigs that have been allowed to graze in an area rich in oak tress, called the Dehesa. The pigs eat the oil-rich acorns, giving the meat a distinctive oilier and nuttier flavor – and for some, making it best in the world.

How To Serve:  paper-thin slices, arranged on a small plate.

Click here to buy Spanish Meats >


Spanish Cheeses


Machego cheese: The Spanish tapas cheese by choice and excellence, Manchego is a sheep’s milk cheese, which comes from La Mancha (the famous region where the mythical Don Quixote chased his windmills). A national treasure, Manchego falls under the PDO standards, which means its origin and production is controlled and protected to ensure that any and all Manchego cheeses are always equally excellent.  The flavor and texture of Manchego can vary as it ages, from a supple and buttery young Manchego, to a hard and salty aged version (usually 6-12 months).  Grassy, nutty, with notes of hay, getting more caramelized as it ages.

How To Serve: Cut out 1/4 –inch wedges and remove the rind, which is inedible. Arrange on a plate and drizzle with olive oil. As an alternative:  place a thin slice of Serrano ham over the wedge of Manchego,

Alternatives:Garrotxa: An artisanal goat cheese produced in small farms on the Catalonian region of Northern Spain; Romao: This cheese gets its complex flavor from being made with rosemary and being rubbed with olive oil. Made from sheep’s milk and a distant relative of Parmesan; Smoked Idiazabal: from Basque Country, a firm sheep’s milk cheese lightly smoked; Mahon: from the island of Menorca, a sharp cow’s milk cheese with fruity notes and an orange rind.

Click here to buy Spanish cheeses >


Spanish Chorizo


A classic of the tapeo, Spanish chorizo is made of pork and cured with smoked paprika (pimentón in Spanish) and salt. It can be spicy (picante) or sweet (dulce), which just depends on how much pimento has been used. However, keep in mind that a lot of different regions in Spain have their own versions of chorizo. Chorizo Cantimpalo for example, is made using Pimentón de la Vera, a special smoked paprika that comes from La Vera:

How To Serve: For your Spanish tapas party, you must have chorizo! Just slice the chorizo and sauté with a few tablespoons of olive oil, tossing until the chorizo is crispy.

Click here to buy Spanish Chorizo >


Marcona Almonds


A sprinkle of almonds is a great and easy idea for Spanish tapas, especially when you serve up some plump Marconas. Spain is the only producer of this unique almond; round, sweet and with very low bitterness, the Marcona is grown in the Mediterranean coast of Spain.  Lightly fried and salted, Marcona almonds make a crunchy and delicious tapas treat that goes perfectly with a cold beer.

Other options: Largueta almonds.

How to serve: serve in small bowls or sprinkle around the cured meat and cheese board.

Click here to buy Spanish Marcona Almonds >


Spanish Tortilla


Not to be confused with a flat, corn Mexican tortilla!, a Spanish Tortilla or Tortilla Española, is a dish that’s made with potatoes and eggs, like a very oversized potato omelet. It’s hearty, sturdy (if made properly), and incredibly delicious. A version of a Tortilla de Patatas is found at almost every restaurant and street corner bar in Spain, so it’s a must for an authentic tapas party. Add some sliced chorizo to the egg-and-potato for added spiciness and supercharged flavor.

How to serve: cut into bite-sized pieces to are eaten with by hand (perfect to hold a glass of Tempranillo wine on the other).

Click here to buy Smoked Paprika (Pimenton de la Vera) for your Spanish Tortilla! >




Spain has a wealth of olive groves, kissed by the salty air of the Mediterranean Sea. The variety of olives that it offers is astounding, like hojiblanca, arbequina, sevillano, manzanillas, amongst many others. So it’s really not surprising that a colorful array of olives are found in small bowls at any tapas party, sometimes right out of the jar, and sometimes marinated in extra virgin olive oil, garlic, sea salt and pretty much anything you can think of.

How to serve: serve a few varieties of Spanish olives in small earthenware bowls, plus add a few here and there with the plates of cured meats and cheeses.

Click here to buy Spanish Merula Extra Virgin Olive Oil >


Gambas Al Ajillo


A quick and easy disk of garlic shrimp, Gambas Al Ajillo is one of the most classic of tapas dishes. Essentially, the dish is made with fresh shrimp that’s been sautéed in garlic, olive oil, and sherry or brandy, then seasoned with a smoked paprika (although season can vary from recipe to recipe). Delicious!

How to serve: in a small bowl, with lots of the garlic sauce it’s been cooked in and some crusty bread to soak it up.


Do you have a favorite tapas recipe? Share it with us in the comments! 


The Classics: An Olive Oil Cake Recipe

olive oil cake recipe

Rosemary and Chocolate Olive Oil Cake. Ph: The Vanilla Bean Blog

Spongy, light, and delicious, the all-star classic olive oil cake definitely gets less play than it deserves. For some, it’s has a bit of a vintage-y, Old Italy feel that’s so en vogue right now. To us, it’s a wonderful cross between an angel cake and the most incredibly moist sponge cake. It’s rich and dense but still surprisingly airy, with a crisp and crunchy crust that adds interesting textural contrast.

Famously served at iconic NYC eateries Maialino’s (if you want their recipe, the amazing gals at Food52 have a great how-to right here) and Mario Batali’s Babbo Ristorante, olive oil cake is beautifully simple and still amazingly delicious.

Olive oil cake uses of course, olive oil, instead of butter, giving it not only a lighter flavor, but also a lot less saturated fat, calories, more antioxidants from the oil…overall, just much healthier approach to baking. The trick to a fabulous olive oil cake is choosing a mild and subtle olive oil, nothing too strong or too peppery, so that the cake still tastes like, well, cake!

We love how adaptable it is, a great blank slate of sorts, a moist backdrop for all sorts of other flavors, which can vary according to your moods, tastes or just what’s in season at the time. Add lemon or orange zest in the winter, blueberries and raspberries in the summer, and chocolate, well, any time of year is good for chocolate! The end result will always be delicious.

olive oil cake recipe

How do you like them orange olive oil cake! CC Image courtesy of Uterior Epicture on Flikr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Olive oil cake is great as a dessert, but you can also enjoy it with your cup of morning or afternoon coffee. Make it in a cake or loaf pan for a traditional look, or in a muffin pan for mini olive oil cakes that are modern and more minimalist.

olive oil cake recipe

Make olive oil cake in muffin tins for a more modern minimalist look. CC Image courtesy of Ulterior Epicure on Flikr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The recipe for Rosemary & Chocolate Olive Oil Cake we’re sharing below combines rosemary and chocolate, a matching that is made in culinary heaven. It’s been adapted from Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain. She uses spelt flour, but you can substitute for all-purpose if you want.

Rosemary & Chocolate Olive Oil Cake Recipe

Rating: 51

Yield: 8-12 servings

Serving Size: 1 slice

Rosemary & Chocolate Olive Oil Cake Recipe



  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and whisk together.
  3. Take another large bowl and whisk the eggs. Add the olive oil, milk and rosemary, and whisk. Using a spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the flour mix, gently mixing just until combined.
  4. Stir in the chocolate.
  5. Grease a 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with olive oil. Pour the mix into the pan, spreading it evenly and making sure the top is smooth and not lumpy.
  6. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top golden brown. To test for doneness: insert a skewer or knife into the center of the cake; if it comes out clean, the cake is done.
  7. Let the cake rest for 5 minutes before removing from the pan.
  8. Serve warm or cool.
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VIDEO: How To Style A Cheese Platter (In Under 1 Minute!)

You’ve got your favorite cheeses delivered, the freshest baguette picked out…now, how do you put it all together? There’s an art to assembling a cheese board that goes beyond unpacking the cheeses and plunking them down on a platter or board with a few crackers. It’s all about proportions, balance, textures, colors and flavors – art!


Video source: Tesco

We found this fabulous video by Sal Henley for British supermarket giant, Tesco. We loved – and you will too – the cheese platter ideas she gives us to help make our cheese board look not only delicious, but beautiful. She demonstrates how to slice the cheeses, to how to arrange fruit, plus other practical tips for beautifying your cheeses and impressing your guests at your next dinner party.


Short on time? Then this 60-second  how-to video by HGTV was made for you. Learn how to easily (and quickly!) arrange a cheese platter in 1 minute!

Video source: HGTV


Cheese Platter Ideas: Tips & Tricks

Take the cheeses out of the fridge at least 20 minutes before guests arrive – this brings the fromage to room temperature, allowing the flavors and aromas to develop.

Have at least three cheeses, but no more than five. You want to offer your guests variety, but not overwhelm their palates.

Mix textures, flavors and colors.  A successful cheese board has at least three distinct cheeses. If you’re offering a palate-pleaser like cheddar, then contrast with a soft, gooey Brie and maybe a crumbly blue cheese. Or, divide it up by country, and offer samplings from France, Italy, Spain, the US and perhaps England. However you do it, you want variety on your board.

Pair wisely.  When it comes to the accouterments of the cheese board, think in easy categories: breads, nuts and fruits. A handful of almonds, a bunch of grapes, and a fresh baguette are cheese’s best friends, and you can never go wrong with that. But if you want to get more creative, add jams, chutneys and honey (even honeycomb) – the latter goes especially well with blue cheese and goat cheese. More exotic breads are also fantastic on a cheeseboard, but only if they’re not herbed or flavored (this will cover up the flavor of the cheese itself).

Summer Cheese Platter Ideas:

Chèvre + fresh thyme

Goat Cheese + fig  preserves

Brie + strawberries

Feta + watermelon

Blue cheese + honeycomb

Manchego + Membrillo (quince paste)

Sheep’s milk cheese + cherry compote

Cheddar + fresh apples + fruit chutney

Parmigiano Reggiano + Aged Balsamic + strawberries

Mozzarella di Bufala + Extra Virgin Olive Oil + fresh basil

Gorgonzola or Roquefort + Honey

Saint Andre + fresh berries

Comte + cherries

Explorateur + fresh peaches

Asiago + mango


Do you have a fabulous cheese platter tip to share? Leave it in the comments! 


A Classic Quiche Lorraine Recipe For Bastille Day

quiche lorraine recipe

Paired with a fresh salad in summer and spring, or with a hearty in soup in the winter, the perennial classic French Quiche Lorraine recipe is a dish as versatile as it is delicious.

July 14th marks Bastille Day, the day where all of France takes to the street and celebrates the French Revolution. Over here, it’s also the perfect excuse to celebrate France’s incredible contributions to the culinary world. And what better way to celebrate than with a chic and delicious savory quiche?

There are many versions of Quiche Lorraine, and there’s some contention about what a true recipe should include. The original dish from Lorraine region of France did not include cheese. Made popular in America by the iconic Julia Child, this savory tart starts with a base of flaky, buttery tart crust, and builds up with a hearty layer of delicious Gruyere cheese, sumptuous smoked bacon (which you could easily substitute with smoked pancetta), all perfectly seasoned and welded together by a luscious mix of cream, milk and eggs.

quiche lorraine recipe

The secret to a perfect quiche lies in the short crust. It should be buttery but not overwhelmingly rich, the texture both flaky and delicate, and never overwhelmingly dense.

So how do you achieve that? The best way is to make your own pastry dough, which gives you control of the ingredient proportions. Don’t be intimidated! Making this pie crust is actually super simple and an essential skill to have. Our Quiche Lorraine recipe includes instructions to make your own pastry dough, from scratch, in just minutes.  You can even make extra dough and freeze it for later use, so you only do the work once. If however, you’re pressed for time, you can buy ready made dough or pastry shell.

Once you’ve mastered the Quiche Lorraine recipe, it’s easy to bend the rules and experiment with your own ingredient combinations, and make great, inventive quiche recipes. Add seasonal vegetables, meats and sausage or seafood (like lobster!), and add your favorite cheese. The possibilities are endless…and delicious!

A Classic Quiche Lorraine Recipe For Bastille Day

Rating: 51

Yield: Serves 4

A Classic Quiche Lorraine Recipe For Bastille Day


  • Pastry
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cups butter
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 – 3 tbsp. cold water
  • Filling
  • 150 grams of smoked bacon or smoked pancetta, cut into thin strips
  • ½ tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup cream
  • ½ cup 2% milk
  • ½ tsp. Porcini salt
  • ½ tsp. Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere
  • Special equipment
  • 11” French tart pan (with removable base)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. For The Crust
  3. Place the flour in a large bowl and add the diced butter and the salt. Break the butter with a fork until you get a coarse meal-like (or breadcrumb-like) texture.
  4. Make an indentation in the center of the mix and add the egg yolk and water. Start forming the dough from the outside in, adding more water as needed until you get an even dough ball that doesn’t stick to the walls of the bowl. You want the dough to be soft. Add more flour and water as you go, if necessary
  5. Don’t knead the dough, but press it firmly and wrap it in film. Take to the fridge for at last 20 minutes.
  6. Roll out the dough over a lightly floured surface into a circle. As you roll out the dough, rotate it to ensure uniformity, and sprinkle more flour so it won't stick. The diameter of the crust should be about 1 or 2 inches larger than your pan.
  7. Roll the dough into the rolling pin (see picture), lift and unroll right onto your pan.
  8. With your thumbs, carefully press the bottom and sides of the dough, and make sure the rim of the pan is covered as well. Cut off any excess with a knife.
  9. Pinch the base with a fork.
  10. Blind baking: top with a sheet of foil topped with pastry weights or beans to blind bake the tart shells.
  11. Bake for about 10 minutes, then remove the foil and beans/weights, and bake for another 5 minutes until lightly golden. Set aside to cool.
  12. For the filling
  13. Heat up a large pan with the olive oil, and cook the bacon until golden and soft. Drain and set aside to cool.
  14. In a bowl, with a whisk or a fork, whisk lightly the eggs, cream, milk, pepper, salt and Gruyere.
  15. Spread the mix evenly over the tart.
  16. Bake at 350 F for about 20 to 30 minutes, until the quiche is golden and the filling is firm and has set completely. Tip: to check for doneness, insert a toothpick and remove, it should come out clean.
  17. Serve warm with a fresh green salad.
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