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Archive for April, 2014


Christine Mathias

Graduation = Celebration!

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You did it. You’re done! You’ve run the gauntlet, slain the dragon, put in your hard time. You’re graduating! Or, your kid is graduating! It’s the season of accomplishment, of literal and metaphorical books closing. The work is done, and it’s time to sit back, relax, celebrate, and, oh yeah, EAT!

HatsFlyingBi-Rite Catering can make the eating part of your celebration delicious and easy. We can deliver pretty platters and baskets of food directly to your door – not the usual catering fare, either. We’re talking hand-prepared savory tartlets on light-as-air, buttery pastry. Crispy flatbreads with seasonal ingredients. Entrees of slow-roasted salmon and peppered beef sirloin. And organic kale! Our farro and kale salad has bright flavors. We also offer a wide selection of wine and beer for the of-age crowd. For the high schools grads among you we can deliver soft drinks, tea, and all manner of bubbly and un-bubbly water.

If you want to throw a big ol’ shindig, with servers passing around trays, a bartender mixing drinks, and a lot less work for you, we have that covered as well. Full Service events are something we rock at–and you get to play around with the menu a little more, too. Bi-Rite Catering can supply you with anything you need for your graduation season hoedown. You can peruse the menu, fill out an inquiry form, and the ball will be officially rolling! Good work and congratulations!


Bi-Rite’s Spring Wine Blitz is Here!

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Bi-Rite’s Spring Wine Blitz is here!
Save 20% on mix-and-match cases

Create your own cases from our entire selection of food-friendly wines.

One week only: April 28-May 4, 2014
at both Bi-Rite Market locations!

FREE delivery in San Francisco!

Call or email us to pre-order with a member of our Wine Team:

Email: wine@biritemarket.com

Bi-Rite Market: Western Addition
551 Divisadero Street (between Fell and Hayes Streets)
Phone: (415) 551-7900

Bi-Rite Market: Mission District
3639 18th Street (between Dolores and Guererro Streets)
Phone (415) 241-9760


Spring Cheeses! Celebrate the Season!

Laychee

In the world of cheese, spring is a very exciting time. It’s marked by a feeling of renewal and by the arrival on our local farms of green grass and lots and lots of baby animals! This makes it a very special time for young goat and sheep milk cheeses. The pastures are verdant and the kids (baby goats) and lambs that were born in March are running around the farm. With babies comes milk, and as cheese-lovers we benefit from this “freshening” in our own way: with an abundance of green grass and rich milk, we’re in fresh cheese heaven.

Bollie’s Mollies

 

 

We’re thrilled to welcome back with open arms a couple of cheeses that have been seasonally unavailable for the last few months. Lambs and kids are abundant at Pennyroyal Farmstead in Bonnville, and we’re celebrating the return of a couple of their cheeses. Early in the season, watch for Laychee, a beautiful fresh cheese with the silkiest of textures, made from a blend of goat’s milk and sheep’s milk and perfect for an array of applications. It’s delicate, pleasantly lactic and spreadable, great for brunch or as a base for a delicious crostini topped with preserves or sweet fresh fruit. Or you could just enjoy it with a simple drizzle of honey and a spoon!  Bollie’s Mollies, another delightful offering from Pennyroyal that’s aged for four weeks, is a denser, more toothsome option. It has a lovely light gray rind, thanks to penicillium album mold.

Kenne and Liwa

In other exciting news, Tomales Farmstead Creamery is milking their ewes for the first time! When we went for a visit in January, their herd manager was training the pregnant ewes to line up for milking in the milking parlor. Though we’ve had Tomales Farmstead’s Kenne on the counter for the last few months, it’s now being made with a blend of goat’s milk and the first of their sheep’s milk, which gives the cheese a richer, rounder finish with a hint of lanolin. Their farmstead-mixed milk is also being used to craft Liwa, a fresh, hand-ladled cheese that has a fudgy texture and more substance to it than some of our other fresh offerings. Cheeses from Tomales Farmstead Creamery are delivered directly to us from the farm each week.

I’m also excited to introduce you to our newest producer-direct relationship! Golden Valley Farm was started by Mario and Sandra Daccarett, who worked for twenty years as dairy nutrition and management consultants. As their children grew, they wanted a line of work that was more inclusive of the family, and are now the only sheep dairy in the San Joaquin Valley. From February to December they milk 340 ewes, and their son Mario Daccerett, Jr. transforms this milk into a number of different cheeses in a range of styles. The first cheese that we will feature is the Yosemite Blossom, a beautiful cheese with a snowy white coast that is aged for about four weeks. Expect a milky and creamy texture with a delicate flavor. It’s just begging for some fennel salami!

Come by and ask for a taste of our favorite spring offerings! And stay tuned: come June, we’ll start to see some of the first aged, raw milk cheeses made this spring!


Eat more artichokes!

ArtichokesItalians love artichokes and I know why! They’re healthy, surprisingly sweet, and easy to prepare at home.  They pair well with my favorite flavors and ingredients of Italy like lemons, garlic, olive oil, and fresh herbs like mint.  Artichokes are great in salads, risotto, pastas and even open-faced sandwiches–try one with a spread of fresh cream cheese and herbs!

I often see folks with looks of amazement and curiosity when they see a bountiful display of baby artichokes at Bi-Rite Market. They’re beautiful to look at, but some can be confounded about just how to approach enjoying them. Next time you find yourself pondering how to prepare and eat an artichoke, let us know and we’ll be happy to introduce you to this amazing flowering thistle with an incredible taste. They’re delicious and  ready to eat raw, but it seems like sometimes the biggest obstacle to enjoying artichokes is knowing how to peel and cut them properly. This can actually be done in a few simple steps; let me take you through it.

peeling

First turn the artichokes in your hands, peeling down the pale leaves as you go.

topping stem

Next, peel and trim the stem…

topping stem 2

…taking off any woodiness or tough skin. Remove any of the tougher tips that are left.

halvin' the choke

Now you can half the artichoke…

halvin' the choke 2

…by cutting down the middle.

quartering the choke

If you like, you can go another step and quarter it by cutting the halves.

You can also easily shave the artichoke into smaller pieces. If you do this over a salad with arugula or radicchio, the raw bits of artichoke will make a great topping that you can mix right into the salad as you would with shaved fennel. You’ll find that the baby artichoke tastes slightly bitter at first, but its sugars will quickly lead to a finish with a surprising sweetness.

Italy grows more than ten times the quantity of artichokes than we grow here in the United States. California provides nearly 100% of the U.S. crop, and about 80% of that is grown in Monterey County, close to our Markets.  Artichokes are generally green but many of my favorite farmers, like Bluehouse Farm in Pescadero, CA, grow purple chokes which have a stronger flavor–wilder with a more pronounced bitterness.

After I prep and trim up some baby artichokes, my favorite way to enjoy is to roast them in the oven, which really concentrates the flavor. Half the trimmed chokes and toss them with olive oil, chopped garlic, and herbs. Roast in a 400° F oven until tender and golden. Once they come out of the oven, season with a nice pinch of Maldon Sea Salt, a squeeze of lemon, and a bit more olive oil.  Enjoy!


Kiko’s Food News, 4.18.14

A study found a connection between low blood sugar and aggression in married couples; the idea that self-control is linked to nutrition has implications for food insecure populations in settings that range from schools to city streets: (Los Angeles Times)

Speaking of food insecurity at school, it’s an increasing problem for college students, and the number of on-campus food banks has shot up from four in 2008 to 121 today: (Washington Post)

Nearly one in three U.S. adults with a chronic disease has problems paying for food, medicine, or both; this article proposes WIC as a model for how other nutrition assistance programs should work with health professionals to counter the health effects of hunger: (The Atlantic)

Many Americans expect to pay rock bottom prices for “ethnic food”, turning a blind eye on the provenance of raw materials or exploitation of food service people; this article argues that this food shouldn’t be so inexpensive, and probes into why food with Asian and Latin origins isn’t considered as seriously as that of European influence: (Edible San Francisco)

General Mills has quietly added language to its website to alert consumers that they give up their right to sue the company if they download coupons or “like” it on Facebook; this is the first time a major food company is imposing what legal experts call “forced arbitration” on consumers: (New York Times)

A new report found that food manufacturers routinely exploit a “legal loophole” that allows them to use new chemicals in their products, based on their own safety studies, without ever notifying the FDA: (Washington Post)


Spring Wine Blitz: Pre-Sale Tasting Events!

Bi-Rite’s Spring Wine Blitz is nearly here! From Monday, April 28 to Sunday, May 4, save 20% on mix-and-match cases from our entire selection of food-friendly wines! Come to our preview tasting events, and pre-order your favorites to lock in Wine Blitz savings! Get free home delivery of your Wine Blitz cases in San Francisco!

– – –
Thursday, April 17
4:00pm to 6:00pm
Bi-Rite Market Divisadero—Wine Section
Wine Tasting with Faith Armstrong from Onward Wines
Faith will pour her delicious new sparkly made from the Malvasia grape, a first in California! Plus, her new Hawkeye Ranch Pinot Noir!

Thursday, April 17
6:00pm to 10:00pm
18 Reasons
18th Hour Cafe, featuring Kenny Likitprakong of Hobo Wines and Abe Schoener of Scholium Wines
Winemakers Kenny Likitprakong and Abe Schoener will be in the house pouring some of their favorite wines.

– – –
Friday, April 18
4:00pm to 6:00pm
Bi-Rite Market Divisadero—Wine Section
Tom Switzer Previews Spring Wine Blitz Wines
Our beloved Tom Switzer will be previewing wines from Charles Neal Imports and Oliver McCrum. The best of France and Italy in one place!
– – –
Saturday, April 19
4:00pm to 6:00pm
Bi-Rite Market Divisadero—Wine Section
Preview Tasting of Spring Wine Blitz Wines
Jeff Vierra from Farm Wines will be pouring some lovely Wine Blitz preview wines
– – –
Sunday, April 20
4:00pm to 6:00pm
Bi-Rite Market Divisadero—Wine Section
Wine Tasting with Alex Finberg from Terra Firma
Alex Finberg from Terra Firma will be pouring some Bi-Rite exclusive wines in preparation for the Spring Wine Blitz
– – –
Thursday, April 24
6:00pm to 8:00pm
Ticketed Event: $15 for 18 Reasons Members, $20 for non-Members–Purchase tickets here
18 Reasons
Bi-Rite Spring Wine Blitz Preview Tasting
Try more than 20 wines and place pre-orders to lock-in your Wine Blitz 20% Savings on mix-and-match cases!
– – –
Friday, April 25
4:00pm to 6:00pm
Bi-Rite Market Divisadero—Wine Section
Wine Tasting with John Khayami from Sacred Thirst
John Khayami from Sacred Thirst will be pouring some lovely Wine Blitz preview wines.

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Monday, April 28 through Sunday, May 4: Spring Wine Blitz!
Visit the Markets, call, or email our Wine Team to pre-order or check availability!

Email: wine@biritemarket.com

Bi-Rite Market 18th Street: (415) 241-9760

Bi-Rite Market Divisadero Street: (415) 551-7900

 


Raph

Easter Treats! Artisan-Made Chocolates & Baked Goods

Easter is this weekend, and we’ve got a ton of basket-worthy treats to help you celebrate!

PaintedEggsChocolat Moderne is a producer whose incredible chocolates I always bring in for holidays. Their flair for the decorative and decadent in both their product and packaging make them ideal candidates for an Easter basket centerpiece. This year we are stocking Chocolat Moderne’s Hand-Painted Purple Rose Swirl Egg, a sea-salted caramel with Halen Mon Sea Salt from the pure ocean currents of the Welsh Coast. We also have their Hand-Painted Yellow Rose Swirl Egg, a dark chocolate ganache from 72% Venezualan Cacao, and the 3-Pack of Hand-Painted Rose Swirl Eggs, which includes one each of the purple and yellow rose swirl eggs, as well as a pink egg with creamy dark chocolate ganache with raspberries. They are so beautiful they almost resemble fine painted china.

Frans1For chocolate bunnies, your first stop in our chocolate aisle is Fran’s Chocolates. Fran’s Dark Chocolate Bunny, an exceptionally smooth dark chocolate that balances subtly toasty notes with dark berry fruitiness, creates a luscious, long-lasting experience that closes on a note of bright citrus. It’s made with 38% cacao from single origin Venezuelan milk chocolate and is creamy and chocolaty with quiet notes of honey and caramel. And Fran’s also makes Easter eggs! Their Filled Easter Eggs are a decadent foil-wrapped collection of two peanut butter eggs, one hazelnut crunch egg and one caramel egg.

OliveBunnyPoco Dolce is a phenomenal San Francisco-based chocolate company whose confections we stock year-round. They are also getting in on the rabbit game for Easter with their amazingly smooth, hand-made Peanut Butter Rabbit, blending organic peanut butter with bittersweet chocolate and a touch of sea salt, and their beautiful, hand-crafted Olive Oil Bunny, made with California olive oil and a bittersweet chocolate that is velvety, rich and has a decadent texture you’ll remember long after Easter and spring have both passed by.

Rounding out our selection of Easter eggs are two other favorite chocolate producers of ours, world-renowned Vosges Chocolate and Bay Area legend Michael Recchiuti. We have Vosge’s The Goose’s Golden Eggs and their organic Wink of the Rabbit Caramel Eggs; Vosge’s deep, rich milk chocolate touched with soft caramel. From Recchiuti we’ll have the Egg Hunt Box, wherein Recchiuti’s egg-hunt designs adorn eight pieces of his signature Burnt Caramel Truffles. Each confection is a blend of Recchiuti’s dark, smokey caramel with 70% dark chocolate ganache-enrobed in semisweet chocolate.

flowers2HotCrossBunsFor bakery treat options, try the Colomba di Pasqua from Starter Bakery. This traditional Italian Easter Cake is the springtime counterpart of the popular Christmas dessert panettone. Starter Bakery’s version is a sweet bread coated with marzipan and studded with candied orange peel, almonds and pearl sugar. It’s hearty, filling and delectable – an Easter treat to be shared. And from the Bi-Rite Creamery, we will have our beautiful and delicious take on the traditional Easter treat of Hot Cross Buns. Ours are made with a rich, buttery yeasted dough, crossed on top and finished with warm spices and raisins. Bi-Rite Creamery’s Hot Cross Buns will be available Saturday and Sunday, April 19-20 ONLY, so don’t miss these iconic holiday buns!

Don’t forget we also have a full Easter Menu available, and we’ll be selling incredible local, organic, and sustainably-grown flowers and bouquets in front of Bi-Rite Market on 18th Street on Saturday and Sunday!

Happy Easter!


Matt R.

Bi-Rite’s Spring Wine Blitz: Drink Pink!

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Spring has sprung! With the warm weather, the abundance of spring produce suddenly available, and the arrival of new fresh goat and sheep milk cheeses, we’ve definitely made the transition into springtime. And what better way to ease your wine drinking into spring than with the latest rosé releases!

Rosé Season, as we call it, is the time of year to celebrate the release of the wide range of rosés available this time of year. And we’ve got plenty of pink on our shelves right now and will throughout the spring and summer as we rotate through exciting and limited release rosés from our favorite producers.

And don’t forget, our Spring Wine Blitz is coming up very soon! From Monday, April 28th through Sunday, May 4th, you can get 20% off mixed cases of wine with free delivery within San Francisco – now at both Markets! So come by and try some of these rosés and start making your Spring Blitz wish list!

Wine12012 Chateau Coupes Roses Fremillant Rosé – $11.99; Blitz Price – $9.59
Chateau Coupes Roses is located in the small one-street village of La Caunette, just upstream from the townof Minerve in the Languedoc. Their vineyards are located on some of Frances more dramatic landscapes, planted on a rocky limestone plateau 1350 feet above sea level. It almost seems as though life shouldn’t exist on these high rocky plateaus surrounded by sheer cliffs, but their vines’ roots dig deep into the limestone to thrive. The rosé is a blend of mostly Mourvedre along with Cinsault, Grenache, and Syrah. A beautiful ruby hue, the wine has notes of herbs, spice, and ripe strawberry with a dry and refreshing finish. A heartier rosé that will pair well with heartier spring fare!

Wine22013 Matthiasson Rosé – $24.99; Blitz Price – $19.99
The SF Chronicle’s Winemaker of the Year, Steve Matthiasson has released his latest rosé and it’s stunning! It’s a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Counoise, and Syrah from the Windmill vineyard in the Dunnigan Hills of Yolo County. Steve is all about preserving acidity in his wines and so his rosé is made in a lighter, fresher style. Notes of tart grapefruit and white peach lead to a minerally and mouthwatering palate. Great alongisde fresh pasta with spring veggies and goat cheese!

Wine32013 Copain Tous Ensemble Rosé – $19.99; Blitz Price – $15.99
Winemaker Wells Guthrie crafts some of the most elegant Pinot Noir and Syrah in the Anderson Valley. His Tous Ensemble Rosé is a blend of various vineyard sites in the Anderson Valley and is as elegant as Copain’s other wines. A rounded soft texture and lovely floral and red berry notes make this rosé an easy companion any warm spring or summer evening. No wonder it was on the SF Chronicle’s most recent list of Best 20 Wine Under $20!


Wine42013 Ameztoi Txakoli ‘Rubentis’ Rosé – $21.99; Blitz Price – $17.59
Ok, time to remember your Basque pronunciation skills! This Txakoli (say ‘chok-oh-lee’) rosé is a rare and special wine from Basque country Spain. Usually, Txakoli is made into white wine and is the everyday drink of the Basque people, with its typical tart acidity and light effervescence that pairs so well with the abundant seafood of the region. This rosé is a lovely expression of typical Txakoli, but pink! Tart blood orange and lemon notes lead to a crisp palate with that typical spritzy-ness that is too mouthwatering to only enjoy one glass of.

Wine52013 Birichino Vin Gris  –  $14.99; Blitz Price – $11.99
To us, this is what rosé season is all about! Fresh, light, quaffable, and affordable rosé all in a beautiful package! Made from Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Rolle (Vermentino) from vineyards both in the Sierra Foothills and Gilroy, this rosé gives some Provencal rosés a run for their money! Bone dry, with notes of cranberry, rose petal, and mouthwatering acidity. Drink it now!

Don’t hesitate to call us with any questions or special requests (415.241.9760 for 18th St. or 415.551.7900 for Divis) or email wine@biritemarket.com.

Upcoming Events:

Spring Wine Blitz! – Monday, April 28 through Sunday, May 4 – At Both Bi-Rite Markets!


Simon

Strawberries Galore! The Best Farm-Direct Berries from Organic Growers

StrawberriesChandlerWe’re pretty lucky to be living in the Bay Area considering we have access to farm-direct, organic, local strawberries for about half the year. The fun starts in the end of March to early April, and really gets going in late April. Most of the farms we work with at Bi-Rite grow in the coastal environments that are perfect for strawberries. We’ve found it really important to build relationships with numerous strawberry farms so we always have a locally-grown berry on our shelves to share with guests during the Spring and Summer months.

Here are some of the incredible farms we work with, and the strawberry varieties they’ll be providing us this year: 

Swanton Berry Farm—Davenport, CA (62 miles close to Bi-Rite)
CCOF Certified Organic, Union-Grown (United Farm Workers, AFL-CIO), and Food Justice Certified by the Agricultural Justice Project
Varieties:  Chandler, Seascape

StrawberriesSwantonYerena Farms—Watsonville, CA (90 miles close to Bi-Rite)

  • CCOF Certified Organic
  • Varieties: Albion, Seascape, Eclair

Live Earth Farm—Watsonville, CA (90 mi close to Bi-Rite)

  • Certified Organic
  • Varieties:  Albion, Seascape

Fifth Crow Farm—Pescadero, CA (46 miles close to Bi-Rite)

  • CCOF Certified Organic, Bee-Friendly Farm Certified
  • Varieties:  Albion, Chandler, Seascape

Blue House Farm—Pescadero, CA (46 miles close to Bi-Rite)

  • CCOF Certified
  • Varieties:  Albion, Seascape

Tomatero FarmWatsonville, CA (90 miles close to Bi-Rite)

  • CCOF Certified Organic
  • Varieties:  Albion, Seascape, Sweet Ann

StrawberriesJW2JW FarmsWatsonville, CA (90 miles close to Bi-Rite)

  • CCOF Certified Organic
  • Varieties:  Albion

Strawberry Varieties You’ll See at Bi-Rite Market

Albions are a dark colored red and have the most consistent sweetness. They are the most common commercial variety in California because of their flavor and yield. It’s pretty amazing how different they can taste from one grower to the next.

Chandlers are red, firm, juicy, sweet, and tangy berry. Not as common in the retail world because they are so juicy and delicate, and need to be handled with more care than the Albion. This is the main berry that Swanton Berry Farm works with and they are the master growers of this variety.

Seascapes are a longer, conically-shaped berry with a glossy finish. They’re a very delicate, dark-red berry with a complex and floral flavor. They usually aren’t as sweet as other varieties but are very juicy. Seascapes are not common in the retail world but when we get them in it’s time to celebrate!

Sweet Ann is a fairly new variety, created in 2005 to grow in the coastal climates like Santa Cruz County. Sweet Anns are usually big, conically-shaped berries with excellent sweet flavor. Tomatero is the only farm that we work with that is growing Sweet Ann right now and they are very limited.

Éclairs are medium-size berries and are very sweet and fragrant. We don’t see them often, but every once in a while Yerena Farms treats us to a handful of flats.

Mara des Bois (French variety) is a small, delicate variety with an incredible fragrance that resembles a wild strawberry. It is a gourmet strawberry that is most commonly grown in home gardens and not for commercial productions. The farms we work with don’t take the time to grow these berries because of their delicate nature and low yield which require a lot of precious labor. However, with the help of some friends who work with farms in the North Bay we were able to get our hands on some for the first time last season. Shelton Market Garden in Healdsburg sometime have a small bumper crop of Mara Des Bois and they make their way to the City.

Everyone’s Favorite, Bi-Rite Creamery Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream!
StrawberryBalsamicScoop
This delicious seasonal flavor is the perfect combination of amazing local strawberries and extremely talented ice cream makers. Strawberry Balsamic is easily one of the most popular ice cream flavors the Bi-Rite Creamery makes and we always wait until our favorite farms have a steady supply of  extra-ripe berries to make it. The Creamery is making there test as we speak and it will be available at both Bi-Rite Markets, Bi-Rite Creamery, and the Scoop Shop at Bi-Rite on Divisadero on April 28th.


Kiko’s Food News, 4.11.14

Is it just me, or is there more interesting food systems reporting out there than ever before? Hard choosing only a few this week!

The president of the World Bank made a harrowing prediction that battles over water and food will erupt within the next 10 years as a result of climate change: (The Guardian)

American chefs are becoming known not only for their food, but for the stands they take on political issues; from refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding, to requesting that a woman not breast-feed at the table, these can have serious business implications: (New York Times)

While urban food growing may not be the key to feeding our cities’ booming populations, it surely inspires “food empathy”, which leads people to make healthier food choices, buy more seasonally, recycle more and waste less: (Huffington Post)

We know that organic agriculture is better for the planet and that organic livestock have better lives, but this article assesses whether organics do more good (in the form of better nutrition), and less harm (in the form of fewer contaminants and pathogens) when we eat them: (Washington Post)

New York City’s Food Bank uses feeding people as an inroad to helping them become financially stable; they helped file 48,110 returns claiming $81.2 million in tax credits and refunds last year, for those who can least afford to lose them: (New York Times)