Chocolate Doodle Doo! & the Case of the Missing Menus in the Hilltowns
Notes from Nan: Admonition of the Week
in Which You Learn a Whole Lot About the Restaurant Business
BY HF Contributing Writer, Nan Parati
– So, there it was: Sunday morning at 8:00 on the second morning of the Crafts Festival that we were producing. Sundays are always busy and this one portended to be busier than usual. It had snowed, and an unknown person from New Jersey had parked overnight in the Elmer’s side lot so that Mike couldn’t plow it. (Admonition inside the admonition of the week: No overnight parking at Elmer’s on plow nights.) And we had drawn lots of people through heavy advertising to come to Elmer’s and we couldn’t plow.
Then the phone rang and it was our dishwasher (on the morning of the potentially very busy Sunday) saying that she had just sliced her finger pretty badly and probably would not be able to wash dishes that morning, so we had to find another sixteen year-old happy to give up their Sunday to wash dishes the whole dang day since we were going to serve lunch until 4:00, as well. Then the hostess person who is never, never, never late, was and the message the Verizon lady was giving me was that her number had been disconnected with no further information.
So to recap: No plowing, no dishwasher, no hostess and lots of people. Are you with me? So THEN (now this is where you potentially come in) the people started coming in for their breakfast, we picked up the menus to seat them with and no fewer than ten menus (out of 25) had had the main pages stolen out of them so that all we had were the “Tea and Coffee” page on the back.
That was when I started swearing like a parrot. I was cool until the menus were gone because in the middle of all there was to do I had to go and print and assemble a pile of new menus. Richard from Cummington (who happened to be in the general direction I was swearing in) tried to cheer me up by saying I should be flattered that people wanted to take the menus. If we did not have a whole stack of “to go” menus for the asking, I might go for that. But I did not. So I think you know what the admonition of this week is, and so, if you have a purloined menu at your house, hang your head and feel bad.
But here’s something nice:
Sunday morning before all that happened, I got up at 5:30 to get ready for all I had to do. The individual panes of my windows were highlighted with that classic U-shaped frost that is in all storybook pictures and just beyond them was a brand new blanket of snow lit up yellow with the light from Anna’s window where I could see her baking bread to take to Elmer’s. The fir trees were laden with snow and it was blue all around where there wasn’t otherwise light and I thought to myself, “This looks just like an illustration!” which it did! The light from Anna’s was warm like the bread would be and I felt very happy and at home. So that was nice. And then I went to work where (see Admonition above.)
FANCY CHOCOLATE EVENT IN ASHFIELD: Friday, December 11th, 2009
Okay! So I thought of a name for the chocolate event! It’s called:
Chocolate Doodle Doo!
With Chocolate Chef Alan Crofut!
We’re going to start with a quiet dinner at Elmer’s:
- Pan-seared Salmon
- With Sidehill Farm Riatta (a dill-cucumber yogurt sauce)
- Herb-roasted potatoes
- With Garlic Swiss Chard
- Sidehill Farm Paneer with riatta
- Herb-roasted potatoes
- With Garlic Swiss Chard
at Elmer’s. And then you go across the street (with your little golden ticket) and where you will get to eat more chocolate than you’ve ever seen in your whole life:
- Chocolate Mousse
Creamy smooth, rich, flavorful & satisfying.
Served over chocolate sponge cake with whipped cream and garnish.
- Cayenne Mousse
Mousse with Cayenne Pepper, compliments red wines nicely.
Served in bowl, colored chocolate “taco chips” are used for dipping.
- Chocolate Cheesecake
Thick, heavy, rich, guaranteed to scare any diet away in one bite
- Chocolate Ganache Cake
Flourless cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. Like eating a truffle.
- Chocolate Ganache Torts
Layers of dark chocolate can’t hide the layer of flavor in the middle – Cappuccino, Raspberry, Vanilla Ginger
- There will be plates of chocolates as well. Mints, Caramel, Raspberry, Espresso, Toffee
All at once!
Desserts will be plated with choice of Caramel, Chocolate or Raspberry sauce. Champagne, red wine and non-alcoholic sparkling cider will be served with the chocolate. All the dinner and chocolate you can eat for one price of $30 per person. (For this event there will be no doggy bags, however and alcohol with your Elmer’s dinner is not included in this price. Alcohol with your chocolate is included in the price.)
Now this event is by reservation only and, due to the nature of the event and the extremely high quality of the chocolate, reservations are limited. So call us as soon as you can to reserve! (Could be kind of a cool and unusual gift for someone you like a lot and who likes chocolate a lot.) (413) 628-4003
LOCAL MEATS, GROCERIES, DAIRY, EGGS AND PRODUCE AT ELMER’S THIS WEEK:
- Elmer’s Store has plenty of local eggs. They are from the famous Willie Gray OR from Donna Summer at Over The Hill Farm OR from Tracy Reagan OR from The Schnell Family Farm (Kara Schnell is the business manager at Elmer’s Store!)
- APPLES: YELLOW DELICIOUS, MACINTOSH, MACOUN from Scott’s Orchard, Ashfield
- BEETS AND BEET GREENS from Springwater Farm, Ashfield
- BROCCOLI from Paddy Flat Farm, Ashfield
- KALE from Paddy Flat Farm, Ashfield
- LEEKS from Paddy Flat Farm, Ashfield
- GARLIC from Springwater Farm, Ashfield
- GARLIC BUNCHES from Springwater Farm, Ashfield
- ONION BRAIDS from Springwater Farm, Ashfield
- POTATOES: PURPLE from Paddy Flat Farm, Ashfield
- BEEF: SHANKS, STEW, GROUND, LONDON BROIL STEAKS, TENDERLOIN, RIB EYE from Steady Lane Farm, Ashfield
- LAMB: LEG STEAK, BREAKFAST SAUSAGE, CHOPS, KABOB, BONE-IN LEG OF LAMB from Carter’s Farm, Ashfield
- AnnaBread: available THURSDAY through MONDAY:
Baguettes, Half Baguettes, Daily Bread, Country White, Whole Wheat, Rosemary and Olive, Raisin and RyeGRANOLA:
- SAVE THE FOREST NUT from New England Naturals, Greenfield
- GRANOLA: MAPLE ALMOND DATE from New England Naturals, Greenfield
- HERBS: DRIED. Basil, Cayenne Peppers, Celery Leaf, Cilantro Leaf, Sage, Lemon Thyme from Sangha Farm, Ashfield
- HONEY: WILDFLOWER, BEE POLLEN from Bear Meadow Apiary, Ashfield
- MAPLE CREAM from Gray’s Sugar House, Ashfield
- MAPLE SYRUP: New Crop Half gallons, quarts, pints, ½ pints, 100ml from Gray’s Sugar House, Ashfield
- MISO: CHIC PEA, SWEET WHITE, GARLIC RED PEPPER, HEARTY BROWN RICE from South River Miso Company, Conway
- PICKLES: ASIAN CABBAGE, SAUERKRAUT, DILLS, AND GARLIC DILLS from Real Pickles, Greenfield
- SALAD DRESSINGS: HONEY DIJON, BUTTERMILK RANCH, GINGER MISO, CILANTRO LIME, CHIPOTLE RANCH from Appalachian Naturals, Goshen
- SALSA: MEDIUM, HOT from Appalachian Naturals, Goshen
- ICE CREAM: VANILLA, CHOCOLATE, CHOCOLATE WITH RASPBERRY, MOOSE TRACKS, MINT CHIP, VERY LOCAL CISA BLUEBERRY, AND MORE from Bart’s Ice Cream, Greenfield
- CHEESES: GOUDA, SMOKED GOUDA, SHARP CHEDDAR from Smith Country Cheeses, Winchendon
- DARK CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES from Sangha Farm, Ashfield
- YOGURT: WHOLE MILK PLAIN, LOW FAT PLAIN, MAPLE, VANILLA, APRICOT ALMOND from Sidehill Farm, Ashfield
Elmer’s Store | 396 Main St. | Ashfield, MA 01330 | (413) 628-4003
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nan is the proprietor of Elmer’s Store in Ashfield, MA. A New England transplant from the Deep South, Nan shares her southern wit, wisdom and charm every week in her column, “Notes from Nan.” Share dinner with her every Friday at Elmer’s. Menu’s are posted with her column. email@example.com