It looks like the Norwegians need a buttery Hanukkah miracle of their own.
I’ve always loved halvah in principle but not in practice. On the one hand, what’s not to love about dense, flaky sweetened tahini studded with pistachios? On the other–lord almighty is that sweet! My teeth ache just thinking about it. So what to do with the glorious pound of halvah (pictured here) that my dear friend Avigail brought me from Israel (along with a jar of green Ethiopian tahini that I hoard and covet)? I was so grateful, but panicked as she handed it to me. How am I going to go through an entire pound of halvah without collapsing in a diabetic coma? “By the way,” says the dear friend, reading my mind, “my family tells me they eat this with yogurt over there.” Fortunately halvah has a half-life of maybe a century, because it took me weeks to get the nerve to crack the package and take a teeth-achy nibble. Then I remembered–yogurt! I took a hefty scoop and crumbled it all over a bowl of Greek yogurt…It was a revelation. The yogurt tang covered the intense sweetness, and the halvah mellowed the yogurt. The nutty flavor came forward, and the textures of flaky, crunchy and creamy came together like a bowl of Holy Land Chubby Hubby. That tub of halvah was gone in a couple weeks, and now I can’t eat yogurt any other way.
The biennial Slow Food Italy Cheese summit is back the Piedmont, for its 8th edition. Everyone from shepherds to ultra-small-scale cheese producers to chefs from all over descend on the town of Bra to talk dairy products. This year’s summit will focus on encouraging young people to become artisanal cheese makers–Bra will be renaming one of its piazzas the Piazza della Resistenza Casearia, the “Cheese Resistance Piazza,” to get young cheese revolutionaries excited–and, less stirringly, on the issue of proper labeling. (Every revolution has its bureaucrats…) For attendees, there are “Milk Workshops” on topics like “Evolving Trends in Cheese Consumption” and “Counterfeit Cheese,” a master class on mozzarella, and 13 “Dinner Dates” in nearby villas and wineries.
When: September 16 to 19, 2011
Where: Bra, Italy
Visit the Cheese 2011 website for event information and to book online. (Workshops range from 15 to 40 euros, Dinner Dates from 45 to 90 euros, and the mozzarella class is 35 euros.)
If, as the hot weather descends, you find yourself mourning spring and humming Scot Walker’s Copenhagen, thinking about “snowdrops falling through the night,” you’re in for some good news if you live in L.A. Two expat Danes have opened up shop in the city, and are offering authentic Danish ice cream at Paradis in Los Feliz and Montrose, and baked goods at Hygge Bakery, in Downtown. Paradis offers traditional gelato-esque Danish is (pronounced “ice”), which is a tad sweeter and creamier than the Italian variety, in flavors like roasted pistachio (thumbs up!) and marzipan, and with toppings like the marshmallowish flødebolle. For cooler days, head to Hygge Bakery for a strong coffee and one of their excellent small cakes. According to my Danish friend, hygge translates very roughly to “coziness,” and is a key aspect of Danish culture. It would seem that marzipan is also key, and the best of the desserts at Hygge are encased in it. At last, Scandinavian treats without a trip to the Ikea cafeteria!