Mincemeat, pumpkin and chocolate

Includes: Escazu, Raleigh, NC; Local Yogurt, Durham, NC; and more   

Not together, of course. Two traditional holiday tastes, + chocolate, which is good any time of the year.


On the way back from lunch downtown today, my friend Erica and I made a quick stop at Escazu, a local artisanal chocolatier I’ve mentioned in this blog before. We each got just once piece — that’s all we needed: a taste. Erica had the chocolate ganache (the pretty flowered morsel in the photo) and I had a chili lime chocolate.

I managed to make my very small, scrumptious treat last for three bites’ worth. The ultra-tart lime provided an immediate pop of flavor, and the chili’s heat kicked in after the swallow.

I want to return one evening soon to try some of their hot cocoa. Escazu = perfect local indulgence. We’re lucky to have it in the Triangle.


I haven’t been to Local Yogurt in a few months. I’m a hot-weather ice cream kind of gal. But I knew pumpkin was one of the rotating flavors at my local North Raleigh LoYo just up the street, and I had enough Weight Watcher points left after dinner to indulge. (Yes, that’s right — Weight Watchers. Seems I’ve found three of the pounds I lost earlier this year. And it’s no wonder … !)

LoYo’s original is my all-around favorite. It’s not vanilla. It’s just yogurt-flavored. Very tart. The variations like chocolate, strawberry, mango, etc. are sweeter and more ice cream-like.

But tonight I tasted the pumpkin and it, too, was fabulous and tart. Dark chocolate curls and pecan bits sprinkled on top added nice texture and balance. What a great winter follow-up to my cold-weather walk!

This was pumpkin’s final night on the menu this time around, and I got the very last of it. The employee on duty kindly treated me to a serving large enough to stash the left over in my freezer.


And lastly, a quick word about the oft-maligned mincemeat. Today’s mincemeat is different from its savory predecessor, which featured actual meat. We’re mostly used to the jarred stuff, although some cooks still make their own with meat or, more often, suet. I’d like to try it someday.

My mom always made mincemeat pie and hard sauce at Thanksgiving even though my Dad and I were usually the only ones who really ate it (and I could only manage a small sliver).

This year I enjoyed two variations. The first was a side dish Betsy — a friend of a friend whose family adopted me for Thanksgiving dinner #1 — has been making for years: canned (I’m guessing) peach halves with mincemeat spooned into the hollows and baked in the oven. Lovely pairing, warm and juicy. I imagine it would be even nicer with fresh fruit — pears, maybe, or apples.

My mom broke with tradition and supplied my daughter Erin with a recipe to make a rustic mincemeat and apple tart. She clipped it out of her local paper and I don’t have it here. But it was a simple enough filling of apple slices cooked with sugar and orange zest, then combined with mincemeat, piled on top of a puff pastry base with the edges folded over and baked off. It was delicious.

In both cases the other fruit softened the sharpness and richness of the mincemeat.

Next Thanksgiving — or maybe even for Christmas later this month — maybe you’ll consider bringing mincemeat back to your table. Or adding it for the first time. Be brave!

About atarheeltastes

I'm a passionate foodie who started this "temporary" blog during a gustatory tour of Tuscany. I decided to continue, since I love to dream about, plan for, prepare, eat and write about food!
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