Jacques Pépin in the Pioneer Valley

Jacques Pépin Comes to The Pioneer Valley on July 9, 2012

Come and see Jacques Pépin and daughter Claudine Pépin; purchase Jacques’ new book, Essential Pépin and have it signed from 1 to 3 PM at the The Odyssey Bookshop. There will be special seating for book purchasers and VIP ticket holders. (Books from home can only be signed with a purchase at the event.) Tickets available at Odyssey Bookshop. Click here for all the details and to purchase tickets for A Gala Tribute to Jacques Pépin: A Chef for All Seasons at the Hotel Northampton, also on July 9, 2012. All proceeds benefit WGBY.

Heavenly Chocolate, Northampton, MA

Heavenly Chocolate 150 Main Street (in Thorne’s Market), Northampton, Massachusetts

Recently a friend brought me a small box of beautiful dark chocolates as a hostess gift. Several days passed before I got around to sampling one, but after a single bite I knew these candies were out of the ordinary. And, here’s the surprising part of this story. The chocolates were not from New York or Paris or some other metropolitan center where you’d expect to find superb artisanal confections. No, they from a shop in Northampton, Massachusetts, the next town over from mine. Continue reading

Hungry Ghost Bread, Northampton, MA

Hungry Ghost Bread 62 State Street, Northampton, MA

Although there are many bakeries that offer fine breads in Western Massachusetts where I live, one in particular stands out for its excellent artisanal loaves. Hungry Ghost Bread is not a fancy place. It is housed in a small brick bungalow set atop a hill with vines covering most of the façade including a sign with the shop’s name. Inside much of the space is given over to a large, dome-shaped oven with the remaining area modestly set up for sales. But, what comes out of that oven is outstanding. The organic breads, shaped by hand and baked in small batches in a wood-fired brick oven, have beautiful crusts and textures. Continue reading