Cyber Monday is over. Black Friday came and went with even more casualties than last year! And here at Kitchens Lane we're busy turning this place into a sweet shop! The holiday baskets this year are better than ever! Have you been lucky enough to try one? You're missing out! Seriously!
For two weeks every December this tiny space transforms into a full-blown Charlie And The Chocolate Factory dream! From the kitchen, through the dining room and even into the living room tables are lined with cakes, cookies, candies, and chocolates, crystal clear bags to pack and seal them into, ribbons, bows, jingle bells, baskets, and lots of glittery pine branches! It is a crafter's heaven! I really do love this time of year!
I start with making my gift basket menu! This year there will be ELEVEN items!!! That's a lot! Every item is made from scratch, with the very best ingredients! Take the chocolate, for example. I could head to the grocery store and buy the store brand chocolate chips, or maybe even splurge and get Nestlé. After all, that's what you're used to! But this is Kitchens Lane, and I'm not cutting corners because my guests are too naive to know there's anything better! I want you to experience something new! I buy Valrhona chocolate!
Valrhona produces, in my opinion the best chocolate in the world! The cost is high, usually from $15-$20 a pound and higher, and their cocoa powder is $15 for half a pound! In this year's baskets the chocolate rum truffles are made using Valrhona chocolate and the chocolate shortbread cookies are dipped in Valrhona's Ivoire 35% and then rolled through chopped pistachios! Obviously, there's something special about this chocolate or I wouldn't be dishing out the cash to keep this on hand for my clients!
The gift basket's continue to develop with the addition of hazelnut biscotti, sour cream coffee cake, caramel and peanut popcorn, gingerbread men, peppermint spritz cookies, peanut butter fudge, iced sugar cookies, coconut macaroons and even a specialty coffee blend roasted just for Kitchens Lane!
Each of these items is made by hand, by me! I don't manufacture anything in a factory, or even roast the coffee in large batches! The green coffee beans that I purchase are harvested with care and love from small, independently run and owned farms and micro mills. My roaster puts great care into balancing his small-batch roast with the specific varieties of coffee for the ultimate cup! The beans were selected to pair nicely with a variety of sweets and cookies, making it just right for the gift basket!
I'll continue to explain more about what goes into making these baskets in future posts. The cost might seem high, but know that I'm barely making a profit. I simply can't cut costs because I would then be giving you a lesser product. I do this because it excites me! I do this because I love it! After all, a chef is just an artist (probably not a starving one...) struggling to make an impression on the audience!