Eating close to the earth
I’ll never forget the first time Dominique Debroux, of Anna Maria’s Foods, came to see me at the Hastings Farmer’s Market to introduce me to her line of savory jams. She came prepared with some hard cheese and a spoon and plenty of family pride, and rightfully so. One taste of her heady radicchio marmalade and I was hooked.
And, convinced that her products are perfect for a farmer’s market as they are meant to pair so many of the foods we sell at the market from artisanal charcuterie and cheeses, to all the pastured meats. Her red bell pepper jam, for example, is just the thing to eat with McGrath Cheese Co.’s Rascal cheese. The jam holds a hint of cherry pepper heat and “leaves your mouth warm without assaulting it,” says Dominique. She likes it with hard cheeses but also as an inspired marinade for steak, lamb or chicken. She even mixes it with yogurt for breakfast.
Her bagna cauda dipping sauces are the perfect thing for all the peppers, sweet carrots and zucchini at the market right now.
Dominique named the company after her Piemontese mother, a devoted cook who taught her daughter to eat “as close to the earth as possible”. “Smell what the sun did,” my mom would say testing each piece of produce and herb the farmers offered, to see if the sun had done its job,” says Dominique. “Only rich scents assured the robust tastes that were worth eating and would inspire us to create. That is how I learned to cook in Torino, in the northwest Piemonte region of Italy.”
Dominique says she created the company to share the recipes of her childhood but also to honor the traditions of her mother and her great-grandfather, who was a chef for the Savoy family, the last royals of Italy.
I imagine that both her savory and sweet jams (strawberry rose, for example) would be delectable on any biscuit from Brooklyn Biscuit Co. back this week and now here most Saturdays (except the first Saturday of the month). You know the drill if you want to score one of their breakfast sandwiches: Get. There. Early. And, if you can’t, there’s always a breakfast pie at the Dough Nation pizza truck. Did you know you can ask for a farm-fresh egg to be cracked atop any of their market pies? Ask Rob the pizza chef and he will accommodate.
La Petite Occasion is back this week. Our knife sharpener is away with his son who just made the All American College Rugby team.He’ll be back next month, when it’ll be time to start pruning your garden again.
See you at the market!