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  • “Surprise-Inside Cakes” by Amanda Rettke

  • Pineapple Gum Syrup from Small Hands Foods

  • Friend in Cheeses

  • Bee staff

    Estelle’s Patisserie House-made Mints

Consume: Our favorite food stuff this week

Published: Sunday, Mar. 30, 2014 - 12:00 am


Friend in Cheeses Salted Watermelon Jelly


The unlikely flavors of preserves created by Friend in Cheeses may seem off putting to average grape and strawberry fans, but the more adventurous will fall in love with striking taste combinations of Fig and Fennel, Lavender Plum and our favorite, Salted Watermelon, made by Santa Cruz-based Tabitha Stroup. Jiggly and juicy (not to mention organic), this sweet-savory mix pairs perfectly with a strong cheese like Cypress Groves’ Truffle Tremor, making the easiest and most tantalizing of appetizers when slathered on crackers.


Small Hand Foods Pineapple Gum Syrup


Warmer-than-usual weather flirted with Northern California for weeks, but now spring is officially upon us. What better way to celebrate its balmy presence than a cocktail laced with a tropical note of pineapple? Berkeley-based Small Hand Foods has crafted the ultimate artisanal drink additive for those with tiki tendencies – Pineapple Gum Syrup, a thick, true-to-taste elixir that adds the perfect sunshine tang to just about any mix. We like a splash of it in a margarita on the rocks.


Estelle’s Patisserie House-made Mints

$3.95; 901 K St., Sacramento;

Altoids are the Muhammad Ali of mints – knocking out bad breath with a single punch. But unless you’ve been enjoying some tuna salad with onions, something gentler might suffice. Tucked on a back counter in Estelle’s Patisserie, you’ll find bags of house-made mints individually wrapped in charming cream-colored pouches stamped with silhouettes of love birds. The candy is a mini barrel-shaped treat your grandmother would approve of – slightly powdery, a little soft, a touch sweet and plenty refreshing.


“Surprise-Inside Cakes”

William Morrow Cookbooks, $30, 304 pages

We all enjoy watching a special someone discover an unexpected, hidden delight. Imagine whimsical cakes with how’d-they-do-that insides featuring rainbow-heart designs, stripes, waterfalls (with colored candy that pours out when sliced open) – even rabbit faces, perfect for Easter. Sound impossible? “Surprise-Inside Cakes” cookbook author Amanda Rettke, from the food and lifestyle blog I Am Baker, swears that even beginners will find her recipes a sugary snap to master. The photos of astonishing confections make this book worthy of the coffee table even if baking its cakes is a distant aspiration.


“Sweet, Sexy Ocean” at Sacramento Food Film Festival

$35; 4-6 p.m. today; Sunh Fish (1900 V St. ,Sacramento);

Many consider sea urchins better suited for tide pools than dinner plates, but gourmands know that the spiny creature’s bright yellow innards are a highly prized ingredient. Its creamy dollops, often described as an aphrodisiac (perhaps because the edible parts are actually the gonads), are a favorite of Japanese and Italian chefs. The largest harvesting operation for this delicate delight is in San Diego, and student documentarian Alexander Finden turned his lens on a SoCal commercial diver who has been carefully collecting urchins for more than 38 years. Catch a screening of the film tonight at Sunh Fish while noshing sushi prepared by Kru’s Bill Ngo, followed by a discussion with the filmmaker and subject.

— by Bee staff

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