Here are some suggestions on how to give a little bit of Cape Ann and the North Shore this holiday season.
Seabiscuit Bakery. This coy little Lanesville kitchen introduced Fish Shack Ginger Cookies, gingerbready cookies nipped with rum, and Fish Shack Bread, an anadama-inspired loaf, to Cape Ann’s baked choices. Currently Seabiscuit Bakery is producing a holiday gift package: Maple Almond Granola (a Rockport Farmers Market favorite), Fish Shack Ginger Cookies, French Chocolate Bark, and Almond Tea Biscuits. The smart Seabiscuit packaging alone justifies pride-in-gift, but Seabiscuit’s signature serious flavors — cinnamon, molasses, homemade five-spice, and almond — rule. A little bit Lanesville, a little bit Paris, the Cardamon Brioche is not to be missed, particularly fine served with Sasquatch salmon pate. Tea biscuits and thumb-print cookies can be made gluten-free if you ask nicely.
Call 978-282-4745 to place an order, or watch for the “Bread today” sign at 1105 Washington St., Lanesville (corner of Washington and Andrews).
Nothing gets more to the heart of the local matter than a cookbook assembled by local keepers of the recipe boxes. Cape Ann has three gems:
“A Circle of Recipes,” commemorates the Annisquam Sewing Circle’s 175th anniversary. The contributors know for whom they write. There are more tea sandwich recipes here than in Fannie Farmer. Recipes such as Poulet Grand’ Mere and Roast Leg of Lamb with Cranberry, Prune and Macadamia Nut Stuffing make this native treasure not only a solid collection of dressed-up New England recipes, but an homage to a community which values Cocktails on the Porch, Drinks before the Play, and Sledding in the Pasture, as chapter subtitles attest. It’s a wonderful gift for those who live this way, or those who wish they did. The book also contains some very old curiosities, such as “Chocolate Sea Moss Pudding,” which recommends harvesting sea moss after a storm.