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A Very Findlay Holiday

By Anne Mitchell · November 20th, 2012 · The Dish
eats_thedish_babushka pierogies logo_provided_11-21Babushka Pierogies
Aren’t you glad you don’t live in the days when “sugarplums” were a big Christmas treat? What is a sugarplum, anyway? I have no idea. I’m looking forward to some old-fashioned goodies, but I’m making my list and checking to be sure it’s all local and all delicious. Pretty much everything included in this list can be found at Findlay Market, so that’s one-stop shopping you can feel good about.

Santa, baby, get Rudolph over to Queen City Cookies for some of their soon-to-be-famous Pumpkin Marshmallow Crème Schnecken. We’ll have some right away for Thanksgiving and maybe a different flavor for Christmas. I’m thinking Apple Bourbon Schnecken, a hot toddy and It’s a Wonderful Life on DVD for my personal interpretation of seasonal bliss. Queen City Cookies opens in their new location at 1662 Blue Rock Road in Northside the day after Thanksgiving and will be open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday in that location, in addition to Findlay Market on Saturdays and Sundays. Both locations will stock schnecken and beautiful iced cookies, as well as the Pachyderm Packs of sweet and savory shortbread.

We’ve also got a new seasonal pop-up pie shop in town. Queen City Pie Company is no relation to Queen City Cookies except that they both add to the sum of goodness in our lives, so hooray. At Findlay Market last weekend, QC Pie Co. was showing off their Vanilla Cardamom Apple Pie, and while I was too full to sample, it looked amazing. Baker Lilia Walsh learned how to make a flaky crust from her grandmother and her mother and has practiced until she felt it’s perfect.

Her personal favorites are berry pies in the summer, but she’s proud of her holiday recipes, too. You can download an order form at facebook.com/QueenCityPieCompany and pick up your pie at a time you arrange. This is a pop-up company, meaning it will only run through January.

Holiday celebrations aren’t all about sweets, of course. Another treat that’s new to the area is an old favorite handed down from Eastern European culture, pierogies. My first husband’s grandmother used to make these wonderful potato and cheese stuffed half-moons sautéed in butter for her Christmas dinner, and they probably kept me married to him a little longer than my better judgment would have allowed. Just kidding! 

The ladies behind Babushka Pierogies were selling their wares straight from a buttered electric skillet outside of Madison’s at Findlay Market on Saturday. After we tried both the sauerkraut and the cheddar potato versions, I bought a bag to take home (six pierogies for $5) for my dinner guests that night, and heard raves all around. To learn more, look for Babushka Pierogies on Facebook. Their logo, a smiling Russian nesting doll with a halo of pierogies, might become my first tattoo.

Another local treat for holiday parties, Summuh Hummus, can be found in the farmer’s area of the market. According to Chef Ethan Snider, the man behind Summuh, “Think of us as the Bizarro world of hummus. We may not be what you’re used to, but we do deliver a new look and taste to what you already know.” 

I’m not sure I’d call Summuh’s flavors bizarre, but they are very creative and all the ones I tried were delicious. The most traditional offering is Sister Mary Rosarita; chickpea-based and flavored with lemon and rosemary. The other two varieties Summuh always has on hand are Midnight in the Garden — black bean-based with cumin, coriander, cilantro and pickled red onion — and Down by the Sea — a navy bean dip with wakame seaweed and sesame chili oil. Seasonal (sometimes one-week-only exclusives) are created on the chef’s whim. I had the Jackie O for breakfast — local pumpkin, ginger and honey with organic lemon zest and cinnamon. The Scottish Girl would be great with a wee dram. It’s flavored with roasted cauliflower, smoked paprika and local thyme and sage.

Summuh will be coming soon to Park+Vine. Check Facebook for details: facebook.com/Summuh.

That barely brushes the surface of great holiday foods at Findlay Market, let alone other good local sources. When you think of the economic impact of your holiday spending, wouldn’t you rather support a local business and keep our dollars here, instead of sending them to China via Bentonville? I know you would. See you at the market!

CONTACT ANNE MITCHELL: amitchell@citybeat.com



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