The Obstinate Daughter’s Adjunct Gelato Shop Opening This Month

beardcatWhen architect Reggie Gibson first suggested a century-old portrait of an old salt with a black cat bundled in his flowing gray beard as naming inspiration for the gelato shop beneath The Obstinate Daughter, not everyone connected with the Sullivan’s Island project jumped on board.

“We kind of all argued,” recalls executive chef Jacques Larson. “We were like, ‘That’s disgusting. Would you want to eat gelato from that guy?’”

But Larson says the marketing possibilities and proposed design scheme swayed the naysayers.

“It doesn’t have to make sense, as long as we’re doing great coffee and gelato and showcasing (pastry chef) Caroline Sherman’s talents,” he says. “It’s fun and whimsical.” Continue reading

Southern Season Launches Weekly Shopping Trolley

Southern Season is off the path typically beaten by tourists, so the gourmet retailer is launching weekly trolley service to the store.

Starting today, Southern Season is offering a $45 Wednesday package which includes transportation to and from the Charleston or Mt. Pleasant Visitors Center; a demonstration of “regionally-based recipes”; lunch and shopping time.

The trolley leaves Charleston at 9:30 a.m., and returns at 12:30 p.m. It swings by the Mt. Pleasant Visitors Center at 9:45 p.m.

For tickets, visit zerve.com, or call 416-1240 for more information.

The Gloss is Off the Le Creuset Pot

There are gleaming Le Creuset pots and pans in every conceivable color at the cookware producer’s North American marketing headquarters, but it’s the nonglossy items which have lately commanded the most attention from visitors to the Charleston office.

On Apr. 1, Le Creuset will release its line of matte cookware, stoneware and utensils. The finish debuted last year in France.

“The Matte Collection takes it cues from high fashion,” a press release explains.

The collection includes three colors: Blue, beige and white.

For more information, visit lecreuset.com.

Nashville Company Boxes Up Charleston

batchA new Southern subscription gift box service hasn’t yet revealed which items it plans to include in its Charleston-themed shipment, but the five “locally-made goods (which) define a sense of place” are selling for $40.

Batch, based in Nashville, monthly sends out a box of “food, drink, and other hand-crafted items” from a Southern city. The six-month schedule starts in April with Nashville, followed by Charleston; Atlanta; New Orleans; Birmingham and Austin.

Previous boxes, which circulated locally in Nashville, included honey, oatmeal and laundry products.

Each box is $40; a six-month subscription costs $240.

Whole Foods Strives to Keep Turmeric in Stock for Eager Juicers

steenbergs

steenbergs

Unused gym treadmills aren’t the only item in short supply after the holidays: Grocers say local demand  for turmeric surges after New Year’s.

“This time of year, you know, everyone’s doing cleansing,  juicing, New Year’s resolutions,” says a staffer at Whole Foods in Mt. Pleasant, which weekly sells 10 pounds of the root.

Turmeric, sometimes called “Indian saffron,” is commonly used in Asian cooking: At Xiao Bao Biscuit, it’s a prominent ingredient in a Vietnamese dish featuring pan-seared fish. But the peppery plant is valued as much for its health benefits as its flavor: Traditional Chinese and Indian healers have long touted turmeric’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiviral qualities, prescribing it as a remedy for stomach troubles, skin conditions and achy bones. Continue reading

Get Yer Peanuts, Rice, Grits and Benne Wafers Here

vendingI’m not much for year-end round-ups and awards, but this machine is – without a doubt – the best vending machine of 2013.

The Charleston Museum three months ago installed the machine, which was the brainchild of a business student who’s since moved away. After 126 years, you might think the thrill of putting money in a slot and getting food in exchange would have faded, but you’d think wrong – and the concept is especially irresistible when the foods include peanuts, rice and benne wafers.

“People love it,” administrative manager Susan McKellar says. “I always hear people outside my office saying how cool it is.” Continue reading

Piggly Wiggly Shoppers Seek New Source of Seasonal Green Peanuts

wallyg

wallyg

Since writing last week about the food and drink items that shoppers are likely to miss buying at the Piggly Wiggly, a number of readers have gotten in touch to add favorites to the list.

“Where are we going to buy real grits?,” moaned an anonymous e-mailer. “Instant is nasty and that’s what the ‘others’ sell. No regular grits for $1.99/bag. The ‘others’ have it in the souvenir section for anywhere from $5-$10 for a small bag.”

Another faithful fan of the grocery chain left a voicemail message saying he’s bracing to miss the store’s cottage cheese: “Nobody could touch The Pig’s brand of cottage cheese,” said a man who identified himself only as ‘Bill.’ Continue reading

Bull Street Gourmet & Market Among Elan Midtown’s New Residents

Bull Street Gourmet & Market, which this summer shuttered its original namesake location, is planning to open another store in a forthcoming apartment building on Meeting Street.

According to a press release, the shop will take up 1200 of the 7000-square feet designated for retail in the Elan Midtown complex at 441 Meeting St. The only other commercial occupant thus far announced is financial investment firm Edward Jones.

The deli will sell breakfast items, sandwiches, soups, salads, prepared items, wine and beer.

A lower King Street location of Bull Street, opened in 2011, will remain open after the Elan Midtown store debuts.

ACBA Students Put A Lid on It

lidWhen American College of the Building Arts students were asked to come up with locally-themed lid designs for a rare collaboration with Le Creuset, they developed motifs based around marshes, swamp life and architectural details. But with the cookware company preparing to promote a Marseilles Blue hue, a lid featuring a compass symbol emerged as the obvious choice.

“We went backward and forward,” recalls Stephen Jones, Le Creuset’s marketing vice president. “It’s a very beautiful design, and has the resonance of linking two port cities.”

Le Creuset doesn’t frequently work with outside artisans, although it has previously commissioned designs from well-known names. Jones says he thought the ACBA would be a “good fit” for the lid project because its emphasis on traditional craftsmanship aligns precisely with Le Creuset’s brand. Additionally, Jones says Le Creuset, which runs its North American marketing out of a former seafood restaurant on Ripley Point Drive, likes to support institutions in its home communities.

“They were very receptive,” Jones says of the school, which made the proposal process a class project. Continue reading

Publix-Sponsored Healthy Eating Fundraiser Underway

A national Publix charitable campaign which last year raised $105,000 for schools is back for a second run.

From now until Oct. 30, Publix shoppers can contribute to “Healthy Families, Helping Kids” by buying select fruits and vegetables. Based on sales, participating produce suppliers will make a cash donation supporting classroom nutritional projects.

Publix last year funded 420 projects, including projects at James Island Elementary School and West Ashley High School. The grocery chain is urging local teachers to apply for funding through donorschoose.org; eligibility requirements are posted here.