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It's difficult to describe the feeling of Christmas and the holidays around here. There is so much anticipation and even nervousness as the days go by and the month moves toward its inevitable culmination. New staff are duly warned and frightened - they hear the stories of the crowds and the "crush" of the season. This year, I'm proud to say that we have our best group yet here to help. Everyone is pumped and ready for the busy season. We're all on board with everything Nate and Connie have brought in, and we can't wait to see you and your family come by to fulfill your culinary traditions here at DeLaurenti.

See you at the store


What's New on the Shelves

You'll definitely see a change in the store next time you come in. The holidays are obviously in the air (and hanging from the ceiling). We have our traditional complement of Panettone from stalwart produces like Loison, Perugina, Rustichella d'Abruzzo, Corsini, Le Logge, Bindi and Colavolpe. We typically run out of the smaller, mini-panettone but I doubt we will this year - Nate brought in all he could find. Pandoro are also in from familiar producers. Marzipan from Carstens has arrived in its many forms and shapes - including chocolate-covered. We once again have several Panforte from il Cassero, Sinatti and of course, Corsini.

You'll be happy to see all things Kinder in the shop. However, you won't see the famous Kinder Egg. Our protective FDA deems the eggs' toy contents a health hazard. Chestnuts are back in force, too. Faugier is our favorite supplier of Chestnut Crème, and Marron Glace (candied chestnuts). It may only be a rumor but we've heard that dentists came up with the packaging for this next new product: Hazelnut Spread. You see, it's packaged in a tube - like toothpaste. True or not, Leone Gianduioso is for hazelnut lovers - like us. While we're in spreadables: Xocolatl Salted Caramel Sauce is the crew's favorite ice cream topping this week. Amazingly rich and balanced with just the right amount of salt.

What's New in the Deli

A new tradition began about five years ago in the deli. We started offering panforte-by-the-pound. It's been so popular that we decided to try Torrone and what do you know? It's a hit! When those little boxes of torrone just aren't enough, get a whole slab of it.

Back in the deli for the holidays are some of the items that can make every meal a celebration, starting with Porcini and Truffle Cacciatore from Columbus. We also have a full complement of Salumi Salame right now. Indeed, almost every year, we are the last place folks can purchase the Salumi products as they frequently run out. Look for the Leoncini Herbed Prosciutto Cotto. This ham is a flavorful and welcome change from simple boiled ham. It's good to have some on hand when guests drop by. Fresh Alba Truffles have been consistently available and boy have they been beautiful. The price changes like the stock market so next time in, check them out. We have whole foie gras lobes available, too. Give us a day's notice and we can have them ready for you when you arrive. We're your caviar connection as well. Osetra, Sevruga and Salmon roe are all available in the deli. We have a new olive: simply called Crudo Olives from Puglia. These are fresh olives that are picked and immediately dropped in a brine-unlike most olives, which are processed and pasteurized before brining. You'll taste the difference and you'll only taste them here.

Lot's to talk about in cheese so hold on...
Mini Fougerous are here. Cute little numbers complete with a little fern leaf on top. Need a brie? Do the mini Fougerou instead. Redwood Hill Farm brings us the Cameo - a soft-ripened, pasteurized goat in an 8oz round - delicious and rare. La Soureliettes and La Tomme d'Estaing are amazing raw milk sheep cheeses from the Pyrenees. Each is a must for a cheese course. Finally, check out the newest cheese in the Northwest: Yarmuth Farms' Farmstead Tomme. From Darrington, the folks at Yarmuth are as new as you can get to cheesemaking but they are masters already. This lightly washed-rind tomme is made with raw goat and is bursting with grassy, tangy milky flavor. Not much of this one so hurry. Last thing on cheese - I promise: we brought in a few Laguiole Knives to go along with our slate cheese boards so you can give (or get) a gift that anyone would like to receive.


What's New in Wine

So many good producers come out with their wines just in time for us to enjoy them over the holidays. Cayuse Cailloux Syrah came in and is going out just as fast. Owen Roe Red Wine from Yakima is back and is typically full-bodied and bold. Staying in the Northwest... Ken Wright's Shea Vineyard '09 Pinot Noir just arrived and is typically aromatic and voluptuous. The new label is, well, new. See what you think. We have a great deal on an '01 Dolcetto di Doglaiani from Romana Carlo. Dolcetto is to Italian wine what Pinot Noir is to American wine - fresh, aromatic, earthy, satisfying and goes with lots of foods.

Also upstairs in the wine department are bitters. For mixologists, bitters provide a palette of flavors straight booze just can't. To say bitters are experiencing a renaissance is an understatement and we've been proud to do our part to help move it along. Scrappy's Bitters is a local brand started just this year. His success has blossomed and we now have bitters samplers available. Each sampler pack contains four, half-ounce bottles of bitters. Orange, Chocolate, Cardamom, Grapefruit, Lime, Celery and Lavendar are available. The samplers even come with recipes so you can try them out. These are a cool way to dip your toe into the bar scene without the scene. You will see many, many other bitters upstairs so please check them out.

Upcoming Wine Tastings
Wine tastings are always free, upstairs and on Saturdays from 2-4pm. Oh, and they are always accompanied by perfectly paired cheeses chosen by our Cheese Buyer, Connie Rizzo. Check out what's on the docket... .

11 December
Flying Trout Wines' very own Ashley Trout will be in store to pour her Walla Walla creations. She'll also have wines from Tero Estates. This is a special treat - don't miss it!

18 December
Italian Wines from famous importer Dalla Terra Wines. Special guest chef will be here, too. Stay tuned to www.delaurenti.com for more info on this one.


Recipe: Linguine with Shrimp in Pink Sauce

A December dilemma: You want the comfort of a hearty red sauce, but something from the sea is calling you. Problem solved.

Saute onions in olive oil over medium low heat, covered for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally, being careful to keep onions from burning. Add carrots, celery, thyme and cook until softened, approximately 5 minutes. Crush tomatoes by hand, add to pan and simmer for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer red sauce to blender or cuisinart and puree (this turns it 'pink'ish). Return sauce to pan and set aside. Skip this step if you prefer a more chunky sauce.

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil with 2 Tbsp salt. Add linguine to water and cook according to instructions on package.

While pasta cooks, season shrimp with salt & pepper. In a separate sauce pan, sauté shrimp in olive oil and red pepper flakes until almost done, approximately 3 minutes - shrimp should still be a bit opaque in the middle. Transfer shrimp to plate and set aside. Add stock and wine and reduce by 1/3, approximately 5 minutes. Ladle red sauce into stock & wine mixture and heat through.

When al dente, add hot pasta to sauce and mix. Add pasta water to reach desired consistency - sauce should be loose and saucy. Add shrimp and heat through. Plate pasta and garnish with Italian parsley and serve immediately. A nice Sicilian white with this, perhaps? Or Dolcetto-it's the red that goes with everything.

Serves 4

  • 3 garlic cloves - thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup carrots - chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery - chopped
  • 1 cup sweet onion - chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh Thyme - minced
  • 28oz can DOP San Marzano tomatoes with liquid
  • 1 lb. Rustichella d'Abruzzo Linguine - yes, dried. It'll just work better than fresh.
  • 1 lb. shrimp - peeled, deveined and rinsed
  • 1 tsp. crushed red chilis - more if you prefer spicier
  • 3/4 cup fish stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Italian parsley - chopped for garnish
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

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