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Apr 26, 2011 05:12 PM

VISITING BOSTON? Ideas for Food Souvenirs

When I travel, I am always looking for great food products to bring home. Here are some thoughts for those of you wishing to do that while you are visiting Boston. I'm sure other CHs will chirp in w/ their favs as well.

Visitors seeking take-home regional artisanal foods(aside from seafood, poultry and meats) have many choices. Boston is an outlet for New England regional products:cheeses and butters, maple syrup, breads, pastas, craft beers, and various locally produced condiments and chocolates. Most can be found at local food emporium Formaggio Kitchen (South End and Cambridge/Fresh Pond), and many local stores of the national Whole Foods chain, as well as the various producing restaurants, bakeries and chocolatiers

Our best artisanal French and Italian style breads can be found at Iggy’s Breads of the World, Clearflour Bakery, and the Whole Foods bakery departments. Our most unique breads are made by When Pigs Fly, a Maine bakery with Boston outlets (their own stores and Whole Foods among them.) Varieties change daily and seasonally, but are generally sourdough based and dense. Red Pepper Hoomus,Sauerkraut Rye, Chocolate Fig Pecan, Oat and Buckwheat Honey, Orange and Toasted Fennel- are a few favs. They
also sell a line of jams and spreads.

Local artisanal chocolates can be found at Burdick's Chocolates in Harvard Sq., and Taza Chocolate in Somerville, amongst others. Both Dancing Deer (cookies and sweet breads) and Tiny Trapeze (candies) are Boston made .Our local potato chips are Cape Cod Potato Chips. Boston and New England have a very active micro-brewery scene; Sam Adams is Boston produced. East Coast Grill in Cambridge makes its own line of hot sauce (Inner Beauty). Good ethnic food specialty shops include Italian, Greek/Armenian/Lebanese/Turkish, Portuguese, Korean/Chinese/Japanese, Russian, Brazilian and Latin American.. Maine’s Stonewall Kitchen, Kate’s Butter, and Duck Trap Farm are well known producers of mustards, jams,and other condiments, butter, and smoked seafood .

Many cookbook authors are Boston chefs. These include: Ana Sortun (Oleana), Chris Schlesinger (East Coast Grill), Andy Husbands(Tremont 647), Ming Tsai (Blue Ginger), Jody Adams (Rialto), Todd English (Olives), Ozcan Ozan (Sultan’s Kitchen), Julia Child, Odette Berry, Madeleine Kamann, Jasper White(Summer Shack), Barbara Lynch( #9 Park), Peter Davis(Henrietta’s Table), Gordon Hamersley (Hamersley’s), Frank McClelland(L’Espalier), and Michael Schlow(Radius).

Formaggio Kitchen
244 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

East Coast Grill and Raw Bar
1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

Taza Chocolate
561 Windsor St, Somerville, MA

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  1. Here's my suggestion:

    Marshmallow Fluff

    It's yummy, local, and you can't get it off the East coast.

    7 Replies
    1. I'd like to know what Boston butter people are taking home with them.

      1. re: Infomaniac

        "Boston is an outlet for NEW ENGLAND REGIONAL products:cheeses and butters..........."

      2. re: winedude

        At the "What the Fluff" fest in Union Sq. last fall, our favorite sample was mixed w/curry powder & smeared on a soda cracker - really spicy, hot treat!

        1. re: winedude

          You can get fluff outside the east coast - I remember it as a kid growing up in MI.

          1. re: Prav

            But can you get it OFF the east coast, once it's stuck?

          2. re: winedude

            I used to ship it to CA. They get it now.

            1. re: winedude

              I had it all the time, growing up in the middle of Ohio.

            2. Hey opinionatedchef, you mentioned inner beauty sauce is that still being sold at ECG?? I though Chris stopped selling it and just used it in house and at allstar before he sold it. I would love to get a bottle of inner beauty. thanks

              3 Replies
              1. re: lc02139

                sounds like i make booboo. "Vote for me 'cuz I'm always right and I never lie". Thanks for the correction.

                1. re: opinionatedchef

                  No problem, I just wish we still could buy it, I have some friends that would give anything to get a fresh bottle. I guess I just need to get a meatloaf sandwich with extra sauce, or that sausage guy on Landsdown some one was talking about.

                  1. re: lc02139

                    He hasnt sold it for ages. Ask for a baby size container next time you are there.

                    An acceptable version is easy enough to make at home, though.

              2. It's also worth nothing that from late May through mid-late November, local farmers' markets are good places to buy locally made items like jams, cheeses, maple syrup, granolas, sauces, baked goods, etc -- as well as fresh food. The Boston Public Market sites at City Hall and Dewey Square, as well as the farmers' markets in Copley Square, at the Prudential Center, and most of the Cambridge sites are all close to tourist attractions.

                Schedules and vendor lists can be found here:

                2 Replies
                1. re: stomachofsteel

                  delicious apple cider donuts from local apple farms available at some farmers markets as well as cider.

                  1. re: Madrid

                    I loves me some apple cider donuts, but it's hard for me to think of them as a souvenir, since they really ought to be eaten fresh from the fryer - day-old donuts aren't usually good.

                    Cider's definitely worthwhile, though, if transporting it back home is practical, and especially if you visit an orchard and can get some unpasteurized cider.

                2. Couple of quick thoughts:

                  Some salted anchovies from New Deal or a whole salt cod from any number of fish market might be appreciated by those without regular access to them.

                  Also, with respect to beer: Most of the Sam Adams brewing takes place under contract in states other than Massachusetts (if you look on the bottle, it'll say it's brewed in PA or OH). The brewery in JP only brews R&D beers. We've got plenty of other excellent beers being produced in-state, if that sort of thing matters to you, many of which have very limited out-of-state distribution areas that would make good gifts for out-of-towners.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: emannths

                    Such as Pretty Things. Delicious, and their labels are "pretty" and the bottles make great gifts.

                    Other delicious local/regional products: coffee syrup, Teddy's peanut butter.

                    1. re: emannths

                      em, terrif info; could you mention a couple of good Boston vendors for MA beers?

                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                        Sure. In Boston-proper, I'll highlight Boston Wine Exchange (Downtown), Charles St Liquors (Beacon Hill/MGH), and Bauer Wine and Spirits (Newbury/Hines). Further afield are noteworthy places like the Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont, Redstone Liquors in Stoneham, Yankee Spirits in Attleboro and Sturbridge, and Julio's in Westborough. I've found that recently even middling stores tend to have a decent selection though, so if you're short on time or transportation, just stop into a convenient store.

                        Some MA brewers to keep an eye out for are Pretty Things, Berkshire Brewing Company, Clown Shoes, Mayflower, Ipswich, and Element. The Cambridge Brewing Company sells growlers of their house beers at the brewpub for about $10 + $2 deposit, and they will soon start selling some of their special releases in bottles, which is something to keep an eye out for, as their beers are outstanding.

                        Cambridge Brewing Company
                        1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA 02139

                    2. Dave's Fresh Pasta in Davis Square is jam-packed with local and regional specialty foods that make great gifts. It's also more T-accessible than Formaggio Kitchen. (and, yes, I know buses go to Huron Village, but there honestly aren't that many tourists who want to start figuring out our bus system.)

                      Formaggio Kitchen
                      244 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

                      Dave's Fresh Pasta
                      81 Holland St, Somerville, MA 02144

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Parsnipity

                        +1 for Dave's...including produce!

                        1. re: Parsnipity

                          GREAT IDEA. need more shop names w/ regional spec foods. it would also be great if some farmers market afficianado could recomm 3 that are T accessible and have broadest( non-produce ) range of regional products. copley? camb?, PLUS a website link where visitors could see their schedules.
                          also, doeas anyone know the latest on the indoor year round market ? thanks so much.

                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                            My link above lists schedules for all Massachusetts Farmers Markets. Click on "Find," then you can search by market or by vendor, and the listing for each market will include beginning and end dates, market day(s), and times. Right now 2010 dates are listed for some markets but I understand that's because they haven't received all the 2011 dates yet.

                            The Boston Public Market Association runs the Dewey Square and City Hall markets (as well as the Downtown Crossing holiday market) and does have 2011 vendors for both sites listed on their website (which is also a good place to read about the proposed indoor year round market. They say construction will begin in the 3rd quarter of 2011). I am a regular Dewey Square customer and although I can't compare it to many other local farmer's markets, I do think it would be a worthwhile stop for a foodie tourist. It's right outside South Station and is walkable from the aquarium, Fanueil Hall, the Children's Museum, Chinatown, and the Common. The walk there from the aquarium or Fanueil Hall winds through flower gardens on the Rose Kennedy Greenway and is quite pleasant in the spring and summer. The market itself offers cheese, baked goods (When Pigs Fly bread, SwissBakers, and a Hi-Rise stand), nuts, pestos and sauces, prepared Mediterranean food, flowers and plants, as well as the vegetables and fruits you'd expect to find. And the Clover truck is parked there for breakfast, lunch and afternoon snacks.

                            Boston Public Market:

                            1. re: stomachofsteel

                              Excuse me for not finding what you say is obvious, but where is the part of your web site which helps me find non-Boston farmer markets? Thanks.

                              1. re: hondodog

                                My April 27th post contains a link for Mass Farmers Markets, which lists markets across the state. Click on "Find" in the bar in the middle of the page, then on "Market" to search for different markets.

                                Today's post contains a link for the Boston Public Market Association. They only run a couple of Boston markets.

                                1. re: hondodog

                                  go here:

                                  Click "Find" --> "Market" That list covers the whole state and can be refined from that point.