.Garden Variety Cheese at Local Markets

Since 1938 we’ve been running into each other, old friends, former spouses, godparents, neighbors, while combing the well-stocked shelves of Shopper’s Corner.

Everyone has a Shopper’s story—the kids running around and squealing over the gummi displays at the front counter; the older “children” staring carefully at the single malt selection; oenophiles standing in front of Andre’s bargain racks seeking spiritual guidance for their next wine purchase. I remember the Italian butchers who would rattle on in Italian with some of the old-timers. And now Italian has elided into Spanish, with customers gossiping happily with the guys carving the racks of lamb and cleaning Dungeness crab. For me, it’s always the butchers who seem most memorable. But surely you’ve got your own memory. And for one more day—contest ends Dec. 15!—you can post your Shopper’s story at the Shopper’s Corner Facebook page to see if you win a $150 Gift Card. Go here and submit your own heartfelt story or childhood memory and see if you get lucky at Shopper’s. You wouldn’t be the only one who has. Thank you Jim Beauregard and his family and staff for all the only-in-Santa-Cruz memories!

Sheep’s Milk Yogurt Win

Former Gabriella chef Rebecca King gave up commercial kitchens long ago to become a Wild West sheep rancher, and now creates fabulous artisanal Garden Variety cheeses from her sheep out at Royal Oaks. The excitement now is that her farmstead is again offering the rare and wonderful treat of sheep milk yogurt at our Farmers Markets this weekend, Dec. 17 (Aptos Market), as well as the Downtown Santa Cruz market on Wednesdays. After a fascinating discussion with my endocrinologist several years ago, I switched from cow’s milk to sheep’s milk yogurt. It seems that sheep’s milk, like goat’s, has smaller fat globules and more fatty acids than cow’s milk, which means that sheep milk yogurt aids in digestion. Well, at least for me. The proof was in the eating. And I’ve been devoted to sheep’s milk yogurt ever since. No more digestive issues. So the chance to sample King’s sheep’s milk yogurt is exciting. Stop by the Garden Variety Cheese stand at the market this weekend and find out what you’ve been missing. For more information visit gardenvarietycheese.com.

Manini’s Ravioli Senza di Gluten!

Here was a discovery that made our tastebuds dance. In another era, i.e. two years ago, going gluten-free might have had all the cachet of a winter vacation in Siberia. So few choices, so little joy. But that was then. Today there are new, and more importantly worthy, gluten-free food choices popping up daily. Well, even though Manini’s gluten-free ravioli have been around for almost a year, we just found out about this pasta creation. Made from the Manini ancient grain flour blend—which includes amaranth, millet and sorghum—the raviolis filled with spinach and cheese cooked in only four minutes (exactly four minutes), accepted the sauce beautifully (I chopped up and browned a New Leaf Italian pork sausage and added it to one of my jars of marinara sauce), and when topped with plenty of grated Romano and Parmesan made us sigh with pleasure. Pasta is one of the things many foodies really miss when trying to cut out gluten. Well, that little issue has been taken care of once and for all. OK, Manini’s lacked the flavor depth of Italian durum wheat. But it was more than acceptable. Sea salt helps. I’m happy to see more creative artisanal producers doing the homework to provide acceptable substitutes to gluten glut. Available at New Leaf Markets and Whole Foods.


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