The season of giving

Mosaic Art Collective presents new exhibit with donation drive

Fancy Florals by Mariah Sample. Courtesy photo.

Just in time for the holiday season is Mosaic Art Collective’s “A Few of My Favorite Things” exhibit, showing pieces that are 12×12” or smaller in size from Monday, Nov. 6, through Wednesday, Dec. 18, with an opening reception on Saturday, Nov. 11, from 4 to 8 p.m. The gallery will run an art supply donation drive for the Webster House concurrently with the exhibition.

“We had 112 pieces submitted and there will be 94 pieces on display,” said Liz Pieroni, owner of the gallery. “There are many different mediums represented.”

They include oil paintings on metal as well as on canvas, linoleum black prints, eraser prints, digital work, portraiture and acrylic paintings and other works depicting floral bouquets and mandala-like designs. The opening reception will include refreshments and music.

In addition to “A Few of My Favorite Things,” See Saw Art will have a 120-square-foot exhibition space within Mosaic Art Collective throughout November and December, so there will always be something new to see.

“It’s usually just a lot of really wonderful people gathering together to talk about art and life. It’s really a celebration,” Pieroni said of the opening reception. “We’re also going to be doing a collection of art supplies for the Webster House, so I’m hoping that people will come with art supplies to donate.”

The Webster House is a Manchetser residence for children ages 8 to 18 who are currently displaced from their homes. It offers services such as counseling and crisis management as well as trips and recreational programming. Donations can include any new or lightly used art supplies, such as crayons, paint brushes and paper.

“Art supplies especially are so helpful for kids who are in transition in one way or another to be able to express themselves,” Pieroni said. “Even if they’re not sharing the artwork that they’re making, it’s still cathartic in one way or another and I think most artists recognize that need to create work and just fully express their inner worlds. … It seems like such a simple thing, but it’s … a fun way of giving back to children in need.”

While most of the pieces in the gallery are done by New Hampshire artists, the venue features work from artists all around New England with various backgrounds and experience levels.

“What I think is incredibly unique about Mosaic is that we have artists that are very new [who are] creating [and] showing [their art] and then we have very seasoned professional artists who have been showing all their lives,” Pieroni said. “I think what’s wonderful about that is everyone has so much to learn from each other, the artists who have been exhibiting longer come with a lot of experience and the [emerging] artists have this really fresh perspective.”

Mosaic Art Collective
Where: 66 Hanover St., Manchester
Hours: Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday, 2 to 6 p.m.

Featured photo: Happy Hippie by Terri Cote. Courtesy photo.

In the kitchen with Justin Bernatchez

Nashua native Justin Bernatchez is the executive chef at LaBelle Winery. Growing up with his father in the industry, he was exposed at a young age to the kitchen environment, one that he found thrilling, and he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps. He started cooking in local restaurants when he was 15 and later attended Atlantic Culinary Academy’s Le Cordon Bleu program, where he graduated at the top of his class.

What is your must-have kitchen item?

A must-have in the kitchen for me would be passionate cooks who are willing to work really hard, listen and learn. … Becoming a chef takes time … It takes years, and having cooks that are passionate and devoted to the craft really helps build a strong team and makes things really fun.

What would you have for your last meal?

I’m a sucker for comfort food and … greasy fatty, cheesy and gooey … I would start with fried mozzarella sticks and some buffalo wings with tons of blue cheese dressing, then probably a really nice burger and finish it off with something chocolatey for dessert.

What is your favorite local eatery?

I live in Manchester and love exploring the ever-changing food scene. From Mexican to Thai to the dives and sandwich shops — they all have such great and interesting things to try, so to pick one would be impossible, but my favorite thing is that you can pretty much [try] food from any culture you are craving…

Name a celebrity you would like to see eating in your restaurant?

The late, great Anthony Bourdain. He was just so influential in my career, and his books and shows really inspired me to branch out and explore what the world had to offer through food…

What is your favorite thing on your menu?

My favorite thing on the menu right now at The Bistro in Amherst would be the salted caramel chicken wings …. [It’s] crispy chicken coated in a white wine caramel with fresh Granny Smith apples and smoked sea salt. … I would say that the classic steak frites would be my favorite at Americus.

What is the biggest food trend in New Hampshire right now?

I would say that the biggest food trend … would be the fusion of ingredients from other countries and other parts of the world into American-style foods to make them more approachable.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?

[P]robably be anything that I can grill. I love to use my flat-top grill to make meals for my wife and kids that they are going to love.

LaBelle Winery Guinness Braised Short Ribs

½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
4 pounds beef short ribs
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion rough-chopped
1 large carrot rough-chopped
2 stalks celery rough-chopped
6 cloves garlic
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
15 ounces (or more) Guinness
15 ounces (or more) beef stock

In a shallow plate whisk together the flour, salt and pepper. Dredge the short ribs in the flour mixture, making sure all sides are covered in flour. In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the pan is heated up, add the ribs, only half of them at a time (do not overcrowd), and sear them on all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes per side until browned. Repeat with remaining ribs. Once they are all seared, set them aside. Preheat your oven at 350 degrees in the meantime. In the same pot over medium-high heat, add the onions, carrot, celery, garlic and sauté for about 3 to 4 minutes or until the onion has softened and the garlic is aromatic. Next, stir in the tomato paste and pour in the Guinness and beef broth (amount needed is dependent on your pan size — the short ribs need to be covered with the liquid). Then, add the rosemary and thyme and bring the pot to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Add the short ribs back to the pan and cover with a lid. Transfer the pan to the oven and braise for 2½ to 3 hours, or until they are tender enough to fall apart with a fork. Remove the rosemary and thyme from the pot, then garnish with parsley and serve.

Featured photo: Justin Bernatchez. Courtesy photo.

Classics with a twist

Owners of Industry East open new restaurant on Elm Street

After opening their restaurant Industry East on Hanover Street in Manchester, Jeremy Hart and Dan Haggerty eventually decided to embark on their second business venture. On Monday, Oct. 2, the pair opened the doors to Stash Box, a restaurant and bar that puts a twist on homestyle comfort classics.

“Our No. 1 complaint at Industry East was that we didn’t have enough space,” Hart said. “Here, we have more space.”

Hart and Haggerty have both been in the food industry for more than 20 years, having worked as servers, bartenders and managers for other establishments before opening their own. Over the course of those two decades, both of them had contemplated leaving the industry but always found themselves being drawn back.

“Basically, you have to for some reason really love it, and I think it’s just providing hospitality to people and seeing them enjoy food and drinks that you created,” Haggerty said. “It was either leave or go for broke, so we decided to open a restaurant and then it worked out pretty well.”

The pair opened Industry East on Feb. 2, 2021, serving craft cocktails such as Smoke on the Water(melon) made with mezcal and Montenegro liqueur and Naval Academy made with aperol, bourbon and fresh orange juice as well as one-of-a-kind takes on staples like tacos, hot dogs and flatbreads.

“Industry East is essentially a cocktail bar that serves really good food, and Stash Box is a restaurant that has really good food with a cocktail bar inside of it,” Haggerty said. “It’s kind of like an elevated taste on regional classics from New England and around the country. … Our kitchen is a lot bigger here than it is at Industry East [so] we’re able to do a lot more … which is cool. Basically just a bigger expansive menu of homestyle cooking.”

An example of such a twist is their chicken cordon bleu. Added to the bernaise sauce is rosemary and basil and on the side is prosciutto-wrapped asparagus and shallot mashed potatoes. Appetizers include scallop crudo — sliced scallops with pineapple jalapeno salsa, mango gastrique, toasted coconut and sea salt — and scallion pancakes with kimchi, fried egg, pickled red onion, soy glaze sauce and sesame. For dessert, enjoy a peaches-and-cream tart with a homemade brown sugar shell, sugared peaches and blueberries topped with cream cheese frosting, whipped cream, powdered sugar and fresh mint, or bananas Foster, consisting of a cinnamon crunch waffles topped with sauteed bananas, brown sugar, dark rum, whipped cream, bruleed bananas and cinnamon sugar.

“We love being downtown in Manchester on Elm Street because we love all our neighbors. They’ve all been helpful and supportive the entire time we were building the project,” Haggerty said. “Downtown Manchester is an amazing restaurant and overall small-business community, and it’s a great thing to be a part of if you are willing to put in the work. … It’s been really good. Definitely a warm welcome on Elm Street.

Stash Box
Where: 866 Elm St., Manchester
When: Monday through Saturday, 4 to 11 p.m.

Featured photo: Stash Box. Photo by Mya Blanchard.

A community pillar

New gallery brings art hub to Concord

Mike Howat and Fallon Andrews had been deliberating their vision for about a year before officially opening the doors to PILLAR Gallery and Projects at 205 N. State St. in Concord on Saturday, Sept. 30. The pair will showcase art across a variety of media. Their inaugural exhibition, “Flora & Fauna,” is on display now through Friday, Nov. 17.

“I think there’s a need for it in the area,” Howat said. “There’s a lot of amazing artists and art-minded people and I think [there’s] a need for a place for professional artists to show their work and for the community to have a gathering place outside of bars and restaurants.”

Andrews adds, “With the New Hampshire Institute of Art dismantling over the years and there not being a lot of hubs for artists, we wanted to be a pillar in the community.”

Andrews and Howat met a few years ago through mutual friends. With over a decade of combined experience — Andrews having worked on different events throughout the state and Howat being a working artist and an art teacher for about eight years — the duo decided to team up to curate two salon-style exhibitions, Salon 2021 and Salon 2022, at Kimball Jenkins in Concord.

“It held over 700 works of art and over 350 or so artists,” Andrews said. “With that momentum going in the community and feeling like we just wanted to be something that people still could get excited about, that’s why we wanted to collaborate and work together to open this up.”

On their opening day, they debuted their first ever exhibition, “Flora & Fauna,”with acrylic work by Lauren Welch, fabric art and stoneware by local artist Rachel Montroy and ceramics by Cierra Vigue, among others.

“We wanted it to be something that caught people’s eyes and attention and be the opposite of what people thought of when people hear the subject, [flora and fauna],” Andrews said. “Normally around these parts you see traditional landscapes and things that are pretty digestible, and we wanted to do something radically different, and that’s why ‘Flora & Fauna’ is bright and it almost looks like a little alien world inside of this small sleepy town.”

Their upcoming exhibition “As the Light Wanes”follows the theme of the changing seasons and the losing of light that comes with descending into the winter months and will be on display from Saturday, Dec. 9, through January 2024. The gallery also includes a shop where stickers and prints are for sale, and Andrews hopes to start offering coffee, tea and treats in the coming weeks.

“We’re definitely really excited to bring something else to [this] side of the neighborhood,” Andrews said. “My goal in the next few years is to extend downtown Concord and really have it reach more of those suburban areas and really connect the whole city.”

PILLAR Gallery and Projects
Where: 205 N. State St., Concord
Hours: Sunday and Monday, noon to 4 p.m.

“Flora & Fauna”
When: On display through Nov. 17

Featured photo: PILLAR Gallery. Courtesy photo.

In the kitchen with Chris Ballou

Chris Ballou, a sous chef at Americus Restaurant at LaBelle Winery in Derry, discovered his culinary bent in a high school class. He went on to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, where he earned an associate’s degree, and gained experience in Arizona as well. Once back in New Hampshire, he started working at LaBelle Winery in Amherst before working at Americus Restaurant, where he has been for almost four years and enjoys the creative freedom to experiment with a diverse cuisine.

What is your must-have kitchen item?

The kitchen knife is definitely a must-have … but I would say a good stock pot because in culinary school you start everything from scratch and all food starts with good ingredients and my main go-to good ingredient is a good stock, so I think that is essential for me.

What would you have for your last meal?

It would have to be my mom’s pot roast. I played soccer when I was growing up and [on] rainy fall nights after a long soccer game you come home and the house just smells incredible, it’s a nice hearty meal [that] will fill you right up. Perfect for winter nights.

What is your favorite local eatery?

Green Leaf over in Milford. … He does a lot of creative things over there and it [is] amazing.

Name a celebrity you would like to see eating in your restaurant.

My chef out [in] Arizona grew up in France and he was living in the same neighborhood I think down the street of Dominique Crenn and ever since she did that episode on Chef’s Table on Netflix I’ve just been totally wowed, so that would be incredible to see her eating there.

What is your favorite thing on your menu?

I have to say it’s the Mediterranean pizza that we have on the menu. … it’s just spectacular. It’s a 24-hour fermented pizza dough [made] in house … It’s amazing, such a good balance of spicy and sweet and there’s fresh oregano on top to bring it all together. It’s delicious.

What is the biggest food trend in New Hampshire right now?

I see a lot of oriental places popping up. … New Hampshire seems to be diversifying its food a lot more than it was, getting away from the New England cuisine of chowders and such like that.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?

Chicken piccata. It’s easy, it’s quick, it’s delicious. I’m a big fan of bold, sour flavors too but I like to add sun-dried tomatoes into it to kind of balance it out and give it some sweetness. It’s so easy to do after a long day at work.

Chicken piccata
From the kitchen of Chris Ballou

2 chicken cutlets
1 shallot sliced
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 cup chardonnay
1 cup chicken stock
¼ pound butter
2 Tablespoons capers
2 Tablespoons sun-dried tomato
1/2 lemon squeezed
salt and pepper to taste

On medium high heat, sear chicken for about one minute on both sides and remove from pan.
Add shallots and garlic and stir, picking up all the fond (leftover chicken bits on the bottom of pan). Cook until translucent.
Deglaze with wine.
Add in chicken stock, capers and tomatoes.
Add chicken back into the pan. Reduce by ¼.
Add butter and lemon juice, stirring constantly.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve over rice with your favorite seasonal vegetables.

Featured photo: Chris Ballou. Courtesy photo.

Jals Cuisine Bantu

Bringing the flavors of Africa to Nashua

On Friday, Sept. 22, a VIP launch party was held for the opening of Jals Cuisine Bantu, Nashua’s first African restaurant. Jals Cuisine Bantu is an extension of Mola Foods, a food production company offering the flavors of Africa through spices, sauces, seasonings, teas, marinades and more.

“Mola Foods is a food production manufacturing company, and Jals Cuisine plays the role of showcasing our product with traditional cuisine of Africa,” said LaFortune Djabea, the founder of Mola Foods and Jals Cuisine Bantu. “Mola Foods creates products, and people want to know how to use these products in their cooking. That’s where Jals Cuisine comes into play [by] showcasing how you can utilize Mola Food products in your own cuisine.”

Born and raised in Cameroon, Djabea describes her native country as a melting pot of culture and cuisine from other African countries, such as Zambia, Congo, Nigeria and Ghana. Her grandmother was able to cook in a variety of styles. When a friend of Djabea’s asked her to create a hot sauce using her grandmother’s recipe, she was at first reluctant but eventually decided to accept the challenge, which led to the creation of Mola Foods and, in turn, Jals Cuisine Bantu.

“The flavor is completely traditional of African cuisine, so basically we are introducing a fusion cuisine with the bold flavors of Africa,” Djabea said. “People think African cuisine is spicy but it’s actually not. … If you want to make your food spicy then you add the sauce, but the food itself isn’t spicy, it just has a bunch of spices that people don’t use traditionally on their food here in America. In Africa we use a bunch of spices to bring out those flavors, bring out the boldness [and] the smell. … Whether you want it spicy or not is really based on what you’re looking for. At Jals Cuisine we don’t make food spicy, we give it a kick, and if you want it a little spicier then you’re welcome to utilize one of our hot sauces.”

Menu items include jollof, or thieboudienne, a traditional Senegalese dish consisting of rice, okra, yucca, assorted vegetables and your choice of meat; West African key lime pie; yassa, made with cauliflower or chicken, rice, onions, olives and lime; and fried plantains. Each meal can be made into a vegan option as well. You can dine in at the restaurant or order to take out, with pickup and delivery options available. Meal plan services are also offered.

“African cuisine, and Africa in general, is extremely not represented in Nashua whatsoever,” Djabea said. “It’s a wonderful cuisine [and] the world does not do it justice, and the reason the world doesn’t do African cuisine justice is because of the stigma surrounding Africa itself [and] African people … and that’s unfortunate. … I have made it my mission at Mola Foods and through Jals Cuisine to … repel the stigma … and make people understand that African cuisine is very approachable, delicious and is something that should be acclaimed with the rest of the cuisine.”

Jals Cuisine Bantu
9 Simon St., Nashua
When: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 4 to 8 p.m.; closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday
More info: 820-2543;

Featured photo: Courtesy photo.

Craft spirits and community

Manchester Distillery open on Willow Street

This past August, a new distillery opened its doors on the north side of The Factory on Willow in Manchester. Manchester Distillery, founded by Liz and Jeremy Hitchcock, currently distills gin and vodka, with plans to expand their catalog, which can be purchased in their tasting room as well as state stores, and hosts events such as the upcoming Halloween block party in partnership with Double Midnight Comics on Saturday, Oct. 28.

“The craft spirits market is just a fun thing to be in, so I think the ownership group here wanted to get involved,” said Bill Tambussi, the lead distiller. “It helps bring people to the community, I think.”

Tambussi discovered his passion for distilling about 15 years ago when his sister and brother-in-law gifted him a home-brewing kit for Christmas. When it was recommended that he gain more experience after applying to a brewery, he quit his job and moved to Scotland to study brewing and distilling.

“I never did study abroad and I always liked to travel so I was definitely willing to take a leap and go see somewhere else,” he said. “My mom’s side of the family is Scottish as well, so that was kind of neat to go see where they’re all from.”

After earning his master’s degree, he moved back to Philadelphia and worked at a distillery there, followed by one in New Jersey, before becoming the lead distiller at Manchester Distillery.

“I’ve actually always kind of wanted to be up north,” he said. “I actually love the cold and snow and skiing and all that stuff, and then talking to the ownership group here I thought they had a really good vision and plan for what they wanted to bring to the market and they needed someone to do it. … What they were looking for aligned with my philosophy of making spirits … so I think it was a nice fit.”

Tambussi says his spirit-making ideology is “approachable pretension,” meaning high-level products that are made for everyone. His approach involves putting a modern spin on traditional classics by making the spirit traditionally but using the botanicals differently. The botanicals used in their American-style gin, for example, include juniper, coriander, angelica root, orange peel, lemon peel and grapefruit peel, cardamom, elderberry and almond. The result is a gin with less pine flavor, lighter on the juniper, with the bright citrus flavor.

Arriving on the scene a little too late for the main event, the Manchester Distillery will not be involved in the Distiller’s Showcase, but Tambussi says they are hoping to plan some fun events that week to draw people to the tasting room.

“We’re trying to do some sort of big [event] every month,” he said.

Coming up is the Fall for All Block Party presented by Manchester Distillery along with Double Midnight Comics on Saturday, Oct. 28, with specialty cocktails, food trucks, live music, lawn games, special sales, costume contests and more.

While the development of the business is still in the works, exciting things are on the horizon.

“We have some people here who can make some cocktails that showcase what we can do with our spirits,” Tambussi said. “We partnered with Wood Stove Kitchen, another New Hampshire-based company that makes cocktail mixers. … We’re going to try to do more Manchester Distillery-specific cocktails, which I think are going to be kind of neat and fun. … We’re working on a Halloween one with pumpkin and peach tea. There will be standard classic ones, and some small, little bit out there ones.”

Manchester Distillery
Where: 284 Willow St., Manchester
When: Thursday and Friday, 4 to 9 p.m.; tours and tasting by appointment. Hours subject to change.

Fall for All Block Party
Where: Double Midnight Comics, 252 Willow St., Manchester
When: Saturday, Oct. 28, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Featured photo: Courtesy photo.

Memory Café

Currier program helps those experiencing memory loss and their care partners

On the first Wednesday of every month, Currier Museum of Art in Manchester holds Memory Café, a program for individuals experiencing memory loss along with their care partners.

“The Memory Café is something that the Currier has done for quite some time, but we stopped doing it during the pandemic,” said Corey Lyford, who administers and designs the program. “We were only able to relaunch the program this past June. It’s designed to be a really joyful art looking experience for people in early stages of memory loss along with their care partners. A care partner could be a spouse, an adult child [or] a friend. … Any and all are welcome.”

Each session starts in one of the studio spaces at the museum, where attendees gather for light refreshments and socialization to get to know each other before heading to the gallery.

Before Covid, the entirety of the session would take place in the studio, where the art would be presented on slides. While this approach made it possible to look at multiple pieces, including ones that were not in the Currier collection, the team felt it was important to offer the true gallery experience.

While looking at the art, program facilitator Lucie Chmura likes to encourage people to use the method of “slow looking.”

“People get to really take time and relax into looking at a piece of artwork, much longer in front of it than one normally would when moving through the gallery spaces,” Lyford said. “Folks get to think about engaging their different senses, such as looking at a painting and thinking about what [they] hear when looking at this painting. Are there any sounds that come to mind? Everything is very open-ended. There are no wrong answers. People don’t have to draw on memory. This is really about what we’re all experiencing together in the moment.”

When deciding what art to select for the program, Lyford said she and Chmura think about the conversations the pieces may inspire, going for ones that are likely common to everyone in the group, to create an enjoyable, positive experience for both those experiencing memory loss and those who are not. Prompts are used to help viewers engage with the piece and to enliven conversation.

“We’re trying to blur that line between a care partner and someone with memory loss,” Lyford said. “We’re trying to help people not feel stigmatized and not feel like they’re standing out [or] like the attention of the program is on the fact that they have memory loss.”

She says the purpose of Memory Café is to create a support system and build connections while enjoying a creative experience.

“We hope for people to find respite and to find the museum as a resource for them and to keep engaging with these creative opportunities even if they are in a place in their life where they may have felt like that wasn’t possible anymore,” Lyford said. “We want people to feel safe and that applies to the person with memory loss and also for their care partners. They can be going through some pretty difficult times, so we’re hoping that this provides a creative space for them and one that they’ll want to come back to and see familiar faces from month to month.”

Memory Café
When: The first Wednesday of every month. The next session is Wednesday, Nov. 2, from 1 to 2 p.m.
Where: Currier Museum of Art, 150 Ash St., Manchester

Featured photo: Memory Cafe. Photo Courtesy of the Currier Museum of Art.

In the kitchen with Ann Marie Baril

Ann Marie Baril, owner of Pastry Dream, has always loved to bake. Her passion for food comes from her grandmother, who she says always sought to bring others joy through food. When Baril had a dream one night about owning her own bakery, she first wrote the idea off as crazy. After a few minutes went by, she thought, ‘Why not?’ After researching and experimenting, Baril started Pastry Dream about a year and a half ago, serving individual-sized pastries in a variety of flavors such as lemon raspberry, chocolate peanut butter, ginger spice cake and, new for the season, pecan pie. You can find them at the Salem farmers market on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

What is your must-have kitchen item?
My Kitchen-Aid mixer. It’s the best thing that was ever created. … It’s such a fantastic tool and I think everyone should have one. Anyone who does any kind of baking needs one.

What would you have for your last meal?
I think it would have to be lobster. I live in New England [and] grew up in New England. … [I was] brought up [going] to the church festival and [having] the clams and the lobster. That’s something that I’ve eaten forever.

What is your favorite local eatery?
I have to say the Firefly Bistro in Manchester. … I’ve never had anything even mediocre there. The food is fantastic and they present it so interestingly. The wait staff is very very good.

Name a celebrity you would like to see eating in your restaurant?
I’d have to say Mike Andrews. … When I was a kid growing up I loved the Red Sox [and] I was always a fan of Mike Andrews. … When he stopped playing baseball he became the chairman of the Jimmy Fund and … I found that so incredible.

What is your favorite thing on your menu?
I love the cheesecake, I love the ginger spice and I love the chocolate peanut butter.

What is the biggest food trend in New Hampshire right now?
Mini things or small things seem to be very popular right now. That and cookies. Cookies I don’t think will ever go out of style.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
I have to say lasagna because it’s my husband’s favorite and any time we go anywhere he may try the lasagna but he always says it isn’t as good as mine, which is a good feeling.

Cinnamon Apple Bread
From the kitchen of Ann Marie Baril

3 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
A pinch of salt
⅔ cup butter (chilled)
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
1 or 2 large baking apples, Granny Smith
¾ cup milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Grease three mini loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
Cut butter into thin slices and add to bowl. Break butter into mixture with fingers until mixture is crumbly. Stir in brown sugar. Add chopped apples, milk and eggs. Stir.
The batter should be thick but not dry. If necessary, add more milk (1 Tablespoon at a time.)
Divide batter evenly into three greased mini loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until done. Turn loaves out and let cool on a rack.

Featured photo: Ann Marie Baril, owner of Pastry Dream. Courtesy photo.

Tequila, whiskey, gin and more

10th annual Distiller’s Showcase of Premium Spirits

By Mya Blanchard

Whether you like gin, whiskey, vodka or tequila, there is something for everyone at the 10th annual Distiller’s Showcase of Premium Spirits, the main event of New Hampshire Distiller’s Week, at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Manchester on Thursday, Nov. 2, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. to benefit the New Hampshire Food Bank.

“I’ve been with the Commission just over 30 years and … I attended the Winter Wine Spectacular,” said Mark Roy from the New Hampshire Liquor Commission. “As I walked around the event and took in the scenery and how things were running, I said, ‘Why can’t we do this for a spirits event?’ … We had 225 guests our first year, and every year since then it has seen significant growth, with our first sellout last year.”

This year’s showcase will feature more than 600 spirits and 35 food and beverage vendors like Atlantic Grill, Fabrizia Lemon Baking Co., Tuscan Kitchen, Stark Brewing and The Press Room.

“I like to tell people to use this event as an opportunity to sample products that you normally wouldn’t try, are out of your price range, or you’re not sure if you’ll enjoy,” Roy said. “Some people don’t enjoy drinking spirits straight so they offer a signature cocktail at a lot of these tables so you can get some ideas on how to use these products and maybe get some new cocktail ideas.”

Water and soft drinks will also be available through a sponsorship with Pepsi, McDonald’s will offer food and coffee, and new this year is a water break stationed sponsored by Crown Royale. There is also a free ride home program through transportation companies like Grace Limousine Service, and the hotel offers sip and stay packages with reduced room rates. Another addition is the Penstock Room with 14 tables showcasing high-end, ultra-premium spirits such as Kentucky Ale Whiskey and Grand Patron Tequilas. Other happenings throughout the week include tastings and food pairings, seminars and bottle signings.

Returning to the showcase this year is Cathedral Ledge Distillery, New Hampshire’s only organic distillery.

“We make a variety of spirits — whiskeys, vodkas, gins — all grain-based spirits that are crafted grain to glass, so we do everything from milling all the way through bottling in our facility in North Conway,” said Christopher Burk, who owns the distillery with his wife. “Being organic means all of our ingredients are organic, so no GMOs, no artificial fertilizers, no pesticides or herbicides. A big part of what makes our distillery unique is our water. Our pristine water literally runs off Mt. Washington into our backyard. We don’t have to filter our water … and by not filtering we’re able to leave the local minerals in and that becomes part of the distinct flavor of our product.”
Burk will be bringing gins, bourbons and one of their most popular sellers, their maple liquor, to the showcase.

Also making an appearance is Charlie Moore, also known as the Mad Fisherman, Grace Gonzalez, the fourth-generation distiller from El Mayor and the current master blender from Kentucky Owl.

“The ability to have consumers come in and actually get … to meet these people and see the names behind the brand I think is huge,” Roy said. “They get the chance to meet these people that are just like you and I that spend their days doing what they enjoy and creating incredible spirits and we’re lucky enough to have a lot of them right here in New Hampshire.”

10th Annual Distiller’s Showcase of Premium Spirits

Where: DoubleTree by Hilton, 700 Elm St., Manchester
When: Thursday, Nov. 2, 6 to 8:30 p.m.
Tickets: $75 general admission; $90 for 5 p.m. admission, and $120 for VIP admission that include 5 p.m entry and ultra-premium product samples.

Featured photo: Courtesy photo.

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