Each Friday, this list will track five of the best things Heavy Table’s writers, editors, and photographers have recently bitten or sipped. Have a suggestion for the Hot Five? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Hot Five is a weekly feature created by the Heavy Table and supported by Shepherd Song Farm.
Maple Caramel from the St. Croix Chocolate Company
Despite its cheerfully exotic location in Marine on Saint Croix, the St. Croix Chocolate Company can throw down with the best of anything in the greater metro area. We appreciate their artful take on chocolate that mixes first-rate product with stunning visual effects (like sculptural bars modeled on clay tiles). Case in point: the skillfully painted, leaf-shaped chocolates containing a subtle but truly soulful maple caramel that arrived in a hand-painted dark chocolate pumpkin to promote Caramelpalooza on Oct. 15. The chocolate shop’s pear caramel was also an edible work of art — rarely have fruit and chocolate had such a civil conversation.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted from Twitter by James Norton]
Fresh Ginger at Mill City Farmers Market
Fresh ginger is back at the Mill City Farmers Market. You can find the spicy, fragrant rhizome at the Stone’s Throw and Seven Songs booths. This ginger is both more tender and hotter than the grocery-store version and is perfect for crystallizing. This year, the farmers have also grown galangal and turmeric, similarly hard-to-cultivate (in Minnesota, at least) plants in the ginger family.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Jane Rosemarin]
Harvest Moon Latte at Peace Coffee
The Harvest Moon Latte goes something like this: Seasonally fresh squash (rotated by the week depending on what’s best) is roasted and pureed with brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and then that base is drowned in steamed milk and finally topped with a shot of espresso. The squash is mellow, gently earthy, and present without being overpowering, and it’s a great upgrade to the lazy pumpkin-spiced everything that currently rules our world.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by James Norton]
Banh Chao Quay from Ha Tien
The Banh Chao Quay at Ha Tien, a Vietnamese-by-way-of-St. Paul spin on a classic Chinese doughnut, is a modern miracle. Graced with a lightly crisp exterior and a chewy, tender interior that directly recall a classic beignet, this pastry — plus a bit of powdered sugar and some coffee — would make a lovely breakfast for three to four people, for $1.59. And it’s kind of marvelous to look at, too.
[Last Week on the Hot Five: #1 | Submitted from Instagram by James Norton]
Bagels from Baker’s Field Flour
The bagels from Baker’s Field Flour (found at the Mill City and Northeast farmers markets) are a wonderful way to start the day. The plain bagel is far from flavorless. The natural leavening gives it a tang akin to sourdough, and it’s also got a pleasantly nutty whole-grain undertone. Cream cheese optional (but why not?).
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Amy Rea]