Get Your Eat On

One could argue that food defines the holidays.
After all, when can anyone justify eating the better part of a 20-pound bird and scoop after scoop of stuffing, not to mention the shameless snacking that goes on at office holiday parties?
But, we’re not here to talk about run-of-the-mill holiday food or where on one’s body it all ends up.
At neighborhood shops and groceries in three of Tulsa’s most renowned food districts – Brookside, Cherry Street and Utica Square – are some of the most delectable, not to mention hard-to-find and pricey, luxury holiday foods anywhere. With markets like the Stonehorse Market in Utica Square and Center 1 Market on Brookside, and vendors like KoKoa Chocolatier on Brookside, not only do coastal food scenes have nothing on Tulsa, but that Holiday 15 might just be worth it.
1. Items: Vento d’Estate, Roccolo and Caprotto Madaio Cheeses
Where to Get It: Council Creek Cheese & Cuisine at Center 1 Market, 3524 S. Peoria Ave.
Cost: $33.95 per pound, $25.95 per pound and $34.95 per pound, respectively
When Council Creek Cheese & Cuisine got in on the game at Center 1 Market, 3524 S. Peoria Ave., the luxury food company set up its first permanent shop in Tulsa. Though proprietor Rebecca Bryant said she is glad to be here, the pleasure will be all yours.
Bryant helped us to best describe the cheeses and how to pair them appropriately with wine, so get set to build the best cheese plate in town.
Start with the Vento d’Estate (look for the one with grass on the label). This cheese is made in northeastern Italy. The wheels are wrapped in hay and aged in wooden barrels. The aging process helps to create a combination of barrel wood, lilac, pear and straw fragrances and flavors. This is a very full-flavored cheese with a slight bite, and should be served with a full-bodied, well-balanced red wine.
Next try Roccolo, made from the unpasteurized milk from local brown alpine cows of the Valle region. Each wheel is brine-washed in a four-month aging process, followed by ripening on pine planks in Arrigoni’s natural caves about 3,000 feet above sea level. The caves are rich in molds, and the rind of Roccolo develops a variety of colors and fragrances, while the flavor develops an aromatic complexity unique to each wheel of cheese. A soft texture develops near the rind while the cheese becomes firmer and more crumbly toward the core. Impress by serving with an Italian wine, preferably a Sangiovese or Dolcetto.
Last but not least, try Caprotto Madaio, an unpasteurized aged goat’s milk cheese from the Campania region of Italy. It is aged for a full year, which creates a firm cheese with a smooth, delicate taste. The texture is crumbly due to its age, and the stamp of the farmhouse of branded onto the rind of each cheese. Serve with a full bodied red wine, such as Chianti or Brunello.
The Council Creek Cheese & Cuisine case at Center 1 Market also features a variety of paté, olives, crostini and ready-made gift baskets for the holidays.
2. Items: French Butter, Chocolate Chili Tarte and Cherry Pecan Bread
Where to Get It: Farrell Family Organic Bread at Center 1 Market, 3524 S. Peoria Ave.
Cost: Beurre de Baratte de Bretagne ($7.99), Chocolate Chili Tarte ($3.99) and Cherry Pecan Bread ($5.79)
On a mission to revive the art of artisan baking in the Tulsa community, Farrell Family Organic Bread, headquartered at 8034 S. Yale Ave., recently opened up shop at the Center 1 Market, getting market guests prepared for the holidays with samples of Cranberry-Nut bread.
Just a few of the items from Farrell that will wow holiday party guests include the hard-to-find Buirre de Baratte de Bretagne, a rich, cheesy French butter with sea salt mixed in; the chocolate chili tarte, which packs just enough heat to warm the throat on the way down; and the cherry pecan bread, which features organic pecans and sun-dried cherries baked up in certified organic bran-sifted whole wheat flour.
If you’re feeling generous, pick up a pack of homemade marshmallows with Belgian cocoa powder ($12.99) or a few ounces of some of the wide variety of French and Italian cheeses available at Farrell for the hard-to-buy-for foodie on your gift list.
3. Item: Chocolate Christmas Tree Ornaments
Where to Get It: KoKoa Chocolatier, 3410 S. Peoria Ave., Ste. 200
Cost: $35
Nationally renowned, local chocolatier Steven Howard is taking his idea for turning gourmet, hand-made chocolate into Kokoa’s notorious large chocolate spheres full of goodies to a new level this holiday season.
Howard has created a gift box filled with four smaller spheres, each full of truffles or chocolate-covered blueberries or cranberries, crafted to look like Christmas tree ornaments. These are too good to hang from the tree. Eat these straight from the box.
Howard plans to have up to 200 boxes of the chocolate Christmas tree ornaments available at his main store on Brookside beginning this month; the gift set will soon be available at his downtown location at 507 S. Boston Ave., as well at his Center 1 Market location, which will open Nov. 15.
Utica Square
4. Item: Foie Gras Paté
Where to Get It: Stonehorse Market, 1748 Utica Square
Cost: $75 per pound
Foie gras – or, in the French, “fat liver” – is not exactly an easy find in Tulsa, or really anywhere else for that matter. In fact, the food has been outlawed in the city of Chicago. However, the rich flavors and textures of this delicacy are at the top of the holiday wish lists of foodies everywhere.
Look no further than Stonehorse Market in Utica Square for foie gras ($60 per pound) and foie gras paté ($75 per pound), made in-house at Stonehorse Market and Café. Availability is high, but phone ahead or place an order, just in case. Try also the pancetta ($14 per pound) and prosciutto ($17 per pound), and don’t forget a loaf of artisan bread, most priced at $3 per loaf, baked in-house at Stonehorse Market and Café.
Stonehorse Market offers a special treat to those more interested in eating than cooking during the holidays: heat-and-eat frozen dinners, starring favorites from the menu at Stonehorse Café. Also available are Thanksgiving mainstays to-order, ranging from fresh, all-natural kosher turkey ($3.50 per pound) to Colorado boneless leg of lam ($16 per pound) to whole smoked salmon ($14 per pound).
Don’t forget to pick up dessert for a crowd. Look for the deep-dish pumpkin pie ($25), Dutch apple pie with cheddar cheese streusel ($25) and the bread pudding ($25). All desserts feed 10 to 12.
Get your orders in for these items quickly, since Thanksgiving is just around the corner.
5. Item: Vanilla Beans
Where to Get It: Stonehorse Market, 1748 Utica Square
Cost: $3 per bean
The aroma of vanilla is surpassed perhaps only by the smell of pumpkin pie during the holidays. Pick up a handful of real vanilla beans at Stonehorse Market for baking, flavoring or making your own vanilla extract this holiday season.
Speaking of baking and sweets, Stonehorse Market does its own canning, ranging from gourmet preserves to chutneys. A special treat: poached pears in Riesling wine, $12.
Cherry Street
6. Item: Custom Holiday Gift Basket
Where to Get It: La Donna’s Fancy Foods, 1523 E. 15th St.
Cost: Varies
What gift could be more fail-safe than a customized holiday gift basket? La Donna Cullinan and her staff at La Donna’s Fancy Foods are prepared to put together a holiday gift basket full of luxury food goodies tailored to any need or budget.
7. Item: Smoked Alaskan Salmon
Where to Get It: La Donna’s Fancy Foods, 1523 E. 15th St.
Cost: $34 (larger size)
There is a reason why smoked salmon is such a popular holiday gift: It’s delicious.
The smoked salmon could be the starter for yet another gift basket from La Donna’s, which could be packed also with a few ounces of pecorino cheese aged in walnut leaves ($28 per pound – take the wheel for just under $60) and Savannah Bee Co.’s 100 percent honeycomb ($16).
Now, that’s one pretty cheese plate.
8. Item: Askinosie Chocolate
Where to Get It: La Donna’s Fancy Foods, 1523 E. 15th St.
Cost: $7.50
Askinosie chocolate, a gourmet sweet made in Springfield, Mo., is just one of the many luxury food items that can go into a custom holiday gift basket from La Donna’s Fancy Foods.
Try to fit these other gourmet sweet things in the basket, too: Mo’s bacon chocolate bar from Vosges Haute Chocolat ($7); Callebaut, a Belgian baking chocolate; and chocolate-covered cocoa nibs ($30).
Don’t forget to peruse La Donna’s selection of cooking utensils and unique flairs for the kitchen and dining table on your way out. Chances are you’ll end up right back at the cash register. ?

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