Sparkling Cider

Sparkling Cider for New Year’s Eve

We always include a non alcoholic drink choice when we entertain. Martinelli’s sparkling cider is perfect for the holidays, especially for New Year’s Eve, since it looks lovely in a champagne glass. We are also shopping local, because the Martinelli’s apple juice company is very close to our house. The south part of Santa Cruz county is filled with apple orchards. The ocean fog creates the environment that the Pippin apples prefer, making Santa Cruz ideal for cider.

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Shopping at Mutari Craft Chocolate Shop

Shopping locally is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and support local crafts people at the same time. We recently discovered a new chocolate shop in Santa Cruz – Mutari. They are very careful to source their chocolate from responsible growers. Their growers farm year after year on the same location, not moving into new lands, and they know how to grow and harvest the product to produce the best tasting chocolate. Then Mutari roasts the beans themselves to create the best chocolate possible.

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True farm to table – artichokes with aioli

This was definately “farm to table”, since we actually went to the farm.  Artichokes are grown around Santa Cruz, and these were from the cliffs overlooking the Pacific.  The aioli was made with rosemary and garlic olive oil. Garlic olive oil is a great thing to have on hand.  We make it by slowly cooking garlic in oil on the stovetop at the lowest temperature possible, for about an hour, and then keeping it in the refrigerator for safe keeping

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Ashby Confections

Ashby Confections creates custom chocolates for special occasions. They can tailor colors, designs and flavors to compliment the style of an event, and can even monogram the chocolates or do wine pairing.  They are located in the Santa Cruz area, and work with other local producers such as Driscoll’s Berries and Beauregard Winery.  We think the globes are especially elegant – pictured in this post is a banana ganache globe.

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Cupcakes at Buttercup cakes in Santa Cruz

Tony and I had the pleasure of photographing at Buttercup Cakes and Farmhouse frosting yesterday.  Easily the cutest cupcake shop I’ve  ever been in,  and the cupcakes taste like my grandmother used to make – homemade, buttery – but so much prettier!  Carren, one of the owners told us how they make the buttery frosting and it stays looking beautiful on wedding cakes even for outdoor weddings, so a couple doesn’t have to choose between a gorgeous cake and one that taste incredible.

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Richard Donnelly Chocolates

Richard Donnelly Chocolates is perhaps the most well known Chocolatier in Santa Cruz.  He has won a number of awards and is considered one of the best in the country, and it is easy to see why.  There are a number of delicious choices for a wedding but we loved the little hearts the most.  He also creates special little gift boxes which would be perfect for visiting guests’ welcome baskets or wedding favors.

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My Cupcake Corner

Beautiful Cupcakes …all dressed up for the tea party.  My Cupcake Corner makes delicious cupcakes decorated for all sorts of occasions and events.  They all have fillings that make them extra special (the Bonny Dune blackberries are fantastic!)  Kelly, the owner, told me they are very popular for weddings because everyone gets their own little cake, and the couple saves the cost of cake cutting.  She has a line of booze cakes just for such an occasion.  They are local, vegan, organic, and she sells through the internet and at a pop-up stand – doesn’t get much more Santa Cruz than that!

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Chocolate Visions

Tucked away in Scotts Valley is Chocolate Visions, a Chocolatier with a very unique and incredible product.  They add wine from some of the local wineries, and fruits and herbs from local growers when making the ganache for their chocolates.  Then they dip the chocolates on site to make innovative chocolates with the flavors of Santa Cruz.  The olive oil and lavender is from Valencia Creek Farm in Aptos, the Framboise is from Bonny Doon Vineyard, and the wine is from Equinox and Burrell School vineyards and winery. They even do personalized monogrammed chocolates for special events.

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