What Makes It Great

New Gift Boxes: 20 Delicious Ways to Say Everything

Food has always been used to express love, thanks, condolences and sentiments less easily put into words. Likely, because it speaks to us in ways both simple and deeply elemental.

Consider how a bite of watermelon can lightning-fast transport you to splintery picnic table, or the curb of your neighbor’s house, with roller skates on your feet. How one cool swallow of wine can return you to a nook of a restaurant in Detroit or Cinque Terre, or a tartare spread on crisp toast.

M.F.K. Fisher, a food writer’s food writer, once wrote, “Our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others.”

We’ve spent the last few months re-designing our gift box lineup, so that whatever you need to say, there’s a perfect gift, at the right price, to say it.

These boxes feature handmade selections from our kitchen and bakery, where we’re guided by ingredients that are seasonal, often local, responsibly grown and above all the most delicious we can find. A simple example is our peanut butter. We buy fresh peanuts from a single farm in Virginia, roast them ourselves and then grind and jar them by hand.

And we hold our vendors to the same high standards.

Pick up a jar of honey in a grocery store and the small print is likely to say it’s from one and/or  two countries or even continents, so unsure are they of the source of something you’re supposed to eat and feed to the people you love. We take pride — and comfort, and delight — in knowing exactly where the honeys on our shelves were made, whether it’s the Gran Paradiso National Park in northern Italy or Bed Stuy, Brooklyn.

We sell products that stand on their own as some of the best in the world. And that embody the small companies and individuals who make them.

Candice Ross was a trained architect in New York who loved the creativity in her work but not the complications that surrounded it. She founded Stagg Jam & Marmalade, which she named after her grandfather, who she describes as immensely capable and refreshingly focused on purely the things that matter most to him.

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Ciao, Mortadella and Provolone

Mortadella has been made in Bologna since the Roman Ages. It’s a celebration of well-fed pigs from a town nicknamed la grassa — literally “the fat,” suggesting a living high on the hog. It’s one of the most celebrated delicacies from arguably the most celebrated food region in Italy.

A type of sausage, Mortadella begins with finely ground pork. Its name is thought to come from mortarium — a mortar — which is how it was originally ground.

In 1661, Cardinal Farnese of Bologna established the rules and methods required of a true Mortadella di Bologna, and among these is a meat-to-fat ratio of seven to three and an even distribution of lardons — the distinctive white spots of fat—on each light-pink slice. (According to a number of sources, don’t stress that fat. It’s the same kind of good fat that’s in olive oil.)

Golfera, a family of fourth-generation butchers, makes its Chiara Mortadella using only pigs born and raised within 50 miles of their facility. The pigs are raised without antibiotics, and it’s the only imported Italian Mortadella we know of that’s made without preservatives.

Golfera uses a traditional recipe that combines the finest cuts of pork and high-quality fat with only ingredients made in Italy. A classic Mortadella recipe calls for white pepper, salt, peppercorns, coriander, anise and often pistachio nuts and wine.

At Bklyn Larder, we take fragrant, thin slices of Chiara Mortadella and pair them with a Ciabatta from Balthazar Bakery, Provolone Piccante and a spicy Calabrian chili mayonnaise — and then press it on the panini grill.

Golfera describes what it does as “new charcuterie, classic flavor.”

On this last day of #sandwichmonth (we’ve been having fun celebrating — check out our Instagram), we’re so delighted to bring back this Larder original. We think of it as “classic sandwich, favorite new lunch option.” •

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Want to keep reading? Our Roast Beef, Chicken Cutlet and Ham & Gruyere are pretty spectacular, too. 

A Salami and Provolone By Any Other Name…

“A Brooklyn Ode to the New Orleans Muffuletta” and “Gussied Up Version of an Italian-American Classic” would be more accurate names for a sandwich we ultimately gave the unassuming title of “Salami & Provolone.”

It starts with a house-made version of a giardiniera — a light pickle of fennel, cauliflower, carrots and olives. And it by no means ends with pink slices of Fra’ Mani Salame Rossa, a Bologna (as in Italy) style cooked salame seasoned with coriander, white pepper, mace and pistachio nuts.

We pair these with a Balthazar Ciabatta and a Provolone Dolce and “The Lunch Version of Underpromise and Overdeliver” (another missed naming opportunity) is served.•

A Roast Beef Sandwich to Stick Around For

What’s your favorite sandwich?

“I started working here because of the roast beef sandwich. That was in the summer. And then I stayed on because of the hot roast beef sandwich,” said Alex Garcia, our manager and purchaser. “That hot roast beef, with the melty, stinky Schnebelhorn, and I love the horseradish sauce. And then the cold summer roast beef has the same sauce and cheese. It’s crisp, it’s light — for a roast beef sandwich, it’s light. I just love it.”

We start with a top round roast from the Happy Valley Meat Company — a company near State College, PA, that works with small family farms. We dry cure the meat for 12 hours and then slow roast it until it’s juicy.

Thin slices go on to an Amy’s Baguette, along with our special “beefy onions,” a fresh, tangy, horseradish-mayo and — the arguable pièce de résistance — slices of easy-melting Schnebelhorn.

This pungent wonder is made from the milk of a herd of 50 Brown Swiss cows in the province of St. Gallen, Switzerland, and named for the mountain — the highest peak — that separates St. Gallen from Zurich. (Get it? Schnebelhorn the mountain is a standout, just like Schnebelhorn the cheese.)

We put all that goodness under a Panini press, until the Schnebelhorn is melty, and goodness, do you ever have yourself a sandwich… •

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Meatball & Provolone: Let’s Hear It for Crunch

Our Meatball & Provolone may be the most delicious ugly sandwich in town.

It starts out perky enough: meatballs*, tomato sauce, Grana Padano and Provolone Piccante on a Grandaisy ciabatta — which is where most shops might proudly hand it over.

meatball pre squish

You’d try and get your mouth around the two layers of bread, two layers of cheese, some hot, squirting sauce and of course the meatballs. And then the entire bite would be all the same texture. Soft.

That’s why our poor Meatball & Provolone meets the fate that it does: We take that nice, big sandwich and put it under a Panini press for two minutes.

It comes out with perhaps not its prettiest face on, but with its ciabatta crunchy, its cheese melty and with a physique that makes every bite a delicious balance of textures.

Sometimes, we’ve realized, aesthetics have to step aside for taste. And oh, is it worth it…

*Our beef comes from Happy Valley Meat Company in Brooklyn, which works with responsibly operated small family farms in Pennsylvania. Every piece of meat comes labeled with the name of the farmer who provided it — which both ensures accountability and makes for some big-time pride.