Owner and chief truffologist Dean Bingham worked for many years as an architect and brings his design talents to bear on the menu of handmade truffle delights using a cantilevered balance of imported chocolate and structurally sound local ingredients. Start with the basic truffle, a 56% cocoa semisweet center with a hint of Mexican vanilla, all enrobed in a 70% cocoa covering, all of which will 100% fit in your mouth. Try flavor combinations such as Maine blueberries with Cold River vodka, Italian roast coffee with cayenne pepper, or lemon and apricot with Sunset Acre Farms goat cheese. Despite increasing pressures from the powerful nut-dairy-gluten lobby, all of the truffles at Dean's Sweets are nut-free, and dairy-free and gluten-free choices are available.
At Eat More Cheese, cheese reigns king over a diverse selection of specialty foods, including salami, dried fruits, jams, and chocolates. The shop corrals its cheese from across the U.S. and abroad, taking pride in a process that ensures each of its products is properly cared for and in peak condition upon hitting the shelves. Inside the shop, the Eat More Cheese staff fosters a welcoming environment, and encourages customers to sample as much cheese or ask as many questions as they please before making a purchase.
Despite their tendency to end up boiled, GetMaineLobster.com's crustaceans somehow managed to keep one customer out of hot water. After waiting until the last minute to plan something for his fiancée's birthday, Emilio put together a next-day delivery of fresh lobsters that turned into an impressive dinner. His gratitude joins a chorus of praise for the company, whose flavorful foods have been featured on Rachael Ray and in the Wall Street Journal. Each of the lobsters is hand-selected from the coast of Maine, whose frigid waters are famous for preserving the meat's sweetness.
In addition to lobsters, patrons can order a menagerie of seafood cakes, marinated meats, and hearty side dishes. Full dinners take gourmet fare out of the restaurant and onto home dining tables with several-course feasts prepared by Chef Margaret Salt McLellan, who was named the 2008 Maine Lobster Chef of the Year. Customers that lack Margaret's culinary chops can reference the site's collection of recipes, which boast everything from Cajun shrimp to stuffed lobster bursting with crab, scallops, and emotion.
Each autumn, the tree branches at Ricker Hill Orchards begin to bow under the weight of a new generation of McIntosh apples, as they have for more than 200 years. Since 1803, the same family has cultivated the orchards, which today nurture several varieties of apples, pears, and peaches. Along with produce aisles along the East Coast, the fruit fills the baskets at Wallingford’s Fruit House, where shoppers just may save them from another fate: the bakery. There, raspberries, peaches, and blueberries tuck into pies or turnovers and hand-rolled crusts envelop apples to become fresh dumplings. The store also bakes fruitless sweets such as donuts and cookies and bottles fresh cider for pouring over a coach’s head after he wards off all the crows from the field.
In the fall, visitors can explore the orchards and pick apples themselves, hunting down such varieties as Cortland and Red Delicious. Wallingford's Fruit House’s backyard lets youngsters lose themselves in a variety of ways, from the corn maze to the petting-zoo animals’ thought-provoking lectures about delicious grass.
In addition to oven-baking pastries and confections, the staff at Sweets & Meats stocks shelves and stuffs sandwiches with a wide variety of local and fresh goods, assuring customers that they do not serve what they themselves have not sampled. Sandwiches ($6.50 each) squeeze together specialty meats and cheeses in a crusty, bready embrace, with the Cappa Goat sandwich forcing chèvre, roasted red peppers, and hot capicola to live together and get along like college freshmen. Finish off a hearty handshake with the Uncle Paul sandwich, crammed with tasso ham, cumin gouda, and chipotle mayo, with a sweet dessert on the side ($0.50+), all baked onsite and made from scratch. Matt's locally roasted coffee and glasses of milk attract looks of longing from scones, croissants, and the shop's famous chocolate-chip-and-bacon cookies. Customers can surf Sweets & Meats' web for free while in the shop, and stock up on beer and wine to ensure their next jury deliberation is a festive affair.
We wanted to bring the forgotten, ho-hum sandwich into the gourmet, great tasting, great for you arena. We use only natural chicken, no hormones, fresh mozzarella and fresh herbs just to name a few. Our soups are made in house with stocks that we make ourselves using only the freshest ingredients.