Lamb Meatball & Cabbage Soup

There’s just something about hot soup that satisfies the soul on those long dark evenings of winter and early spring. I often keep a stockpot simmering, making rich broth from leftover bones and vegetables. I use it for light and refreshing soups meant to tease the appetite, and some (like this one) that are nourishing, hearty meals all on their own.

Classic Italian wedding soup often features the “marriage” of meatballs with greens. My recipe takes this wholesome marriage to heart and gives a nod to St. Patrick’s Day by combining lamb and cabbage. The meatballs add richness to the flavorful broth, while the cabbage adds sweetness. There’s nothing better on a chilly evening than dipping a slice of buttered crusty Macrina bread into this lovely soup. No one will believe you spent less than an hour making it!

Ingredients

Serves 5

Meatballs

1 pound ground lamb
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs

Soup and Assembly

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup shallots, finely diced
2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
4 cups green cabbage, thinly sliced
6 cups chicken stock
Cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
1 Macrina loaf

Directions

Meatballs

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Add all the meatball ingredients to a medium bowl. Mix with a spoon until thoroughly combined. Scoop out 20 meatballs that are about 1-1/2″ and place them 2″ apart on the lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown in color and firm to the touch. Let cool while you prepare the soup.

Soup and Assembly

Add the olive oil to a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for about 2 minutes. When the shallots are translucent in color, add the tomatoes and garlic and cook for 3 minutes until the tomatoes begin to break down. Add the cabbage and cook for another 3 minutes to sweat the cabbage. Add the chicken stock and cracked black pepper to taste. Simmer for 20 minutes, skimming off any foam that forms on the surface of the broth. Add the meatballs and cook for another 10 minutes.

Divide meatballs (4 per bowl) and soup between the 5 bowls. Garnish with mint and serve with your favorite crusty Macrina loaf. Enjoy!

The State of our Wheat: A Historical Perspective

At Macrina, we are increasingly turning to freshly-milled local flours. Both of our newest loaves, the Skagit Valley Sourdough and our Whole Grain Baguette sold at PCC Natural Markets, are made exclusively with locally grown wheat and freshly-milled flours.   

Photo Courtesy of Joe Drazan and the Bygone Walla Walla Project

Twenty miles to the northeast of Walla Walla is the small town of Waitsburg, once a mill town. Now, it’s better known as a side trip for epicures out on a food and wine tour of Walla Walla. A summer drive there takes you through some of the most scenic wheat country: soft undulating Palouse hills covered in golden wheat, glimpses of the distant blue mountains, a gently winding road, and weathered grain silos.  

The History of Mills

Until 2009, the old mill loomed at the end of Main Street. Then, it burned to the ground in a mysterious fire. The mill was just one of the three early mills still standing in the state when it disappeared. At one time, there were nearly 160 mills in Washington State. The mill that Sylvester M. Wait built in 1865 preceded the town that grew up around it, employing generations of millworkers until it closed in 1957. 

Photo Courtesy of Joe Drazan and the Bygone Walla Walla Project

Though not native to the state, wheat thrives in Washington. It was first planted at the Hudson Bay trading post at Fort Vancouver in the 1820s. Early settlers learned that the soil and the climate made for abundant harvests. As the state’s population boomed, new arrivals filled every corner in Washington, and they planted wheat. But what grew well in Skagit Valley was different than what suited the drier climates of Walla Walla County. An incredible diversity of wheat flourished statewide. By the 1880s, transcontinental railway lines pushed through Washington, and mills like the one in Waitsburg could finally get their inexpensive, high-quality wheat to the bigger populations West of the Cascades. Still, local mills in the coastal regions continued to grind local grain, and many small farms across the state grew a variety of grains, some for flour, some for feed. 

The local mill was pushed to the point of extinction by turn-of-the-century technological change that ushered in a commodity flour with a very long shelf life. One by one, the local mills folded and wheat production became increasingly centralized. By the time the Waitsburg mill closed, it was one of the few early rural mills still operating.  

Photo Courtesy of Joe Drazan and the Bygone Walla Walla Project

Wheat breeders refined wheats for high yields and ease of processing. By 2005, there were only two operating flour mills in Washington State, both producing primarily commercial-grade white flour. The effort to create uniform flours that didn’t spoil created vast quantities of flour, but also took much of the flavor and nutrition from our flour and the products made with it. 

Local Wheat Renaissance

Fortunately, we are in the midst of a local wheat renaissance driven by the artisan bread movement and the invaluable research, wheat breeding, and educating done by Dr. Stephen Jones and his team at the Bread Lab located in Skagit Valley. We have mills specializing in grinding whole grain heritage wheats popping up, including Cairnspring Mills, in Skagit Valley, and the Fairhaven Organic Flour Mill, in Burlington. Both produce excellent fresh, stone-ground flour with superior flavor, nutrition and baking properties. At Macrina, we are increasingly turning to freshly-milled local flours. Both of our newest loaves, the Skagit Valley Sourdough and our Whole Grain Baguette sold at PCC Natural Markets, are made exclusively with locally grown and freshly-milled flours.   

The Waitsburg Mill may not come back, nor many of the small, forgotten wheat towns. However, the diverse flours they once produced are returning for the same reason early settlers planted wheat everywhere: the taste that freshly milled whole grain flours provide. 

Leslie 

A Valentine’s Day Treat: Chocolate Cherry Almond Heart Bread

Chocolate Cherry Almond Heart Bread

One of my favorite things about Valentine’s Day is that we get to make our Chocolate Cherry Almond Heart Bread. This bread is inspired by a Greek Christmas bread I began baking in Macrina’s early days. It has evolved into one of my favorite Valentine’s Day gifts. The aroma coming from our ovens while it is baking is irresistible— sweet and buttery mixed with the scent of cherries and bittersweet chocolate, and that hint of brandy is the kicker. We bake the golden-brown bread in the shape of a heart. I warm it up slightly before serving and have difficulty restraining myself from eating the whole loaf.

For those who don’t eat the entire thing in one sitting, or are looking for how best to use this bread, I have a few suggestions:

Chocolate Cherry Almond French Bread

1. This loaf makes incredible French toast served with fresh raspberries, maple syrup or a drizzle of chocolate ganache and slightly sweetened whipped cream.

2. Sauté one-inch slices with butter until caramelized to a golden brown. Serve warm drizzled with chocolate ganache and slightly sweetened whipped cream.

3. For a decadent dessert, toast one-inch slices and serve them with rich chocolate or vanilla ice cream and top with plumped dried cherries and drizzle of chocolate sauce

4. For a savory treat, cut half-inch slices and sauté in butter to golden brown and top with a slice of brie. The heat of the bread will warm the brie.

Our Cherry Almond Heart Bread is available at our cafés through Valentine’s Day.

Enjoy!

Leslie

February Recipe of the Month: Wine and Roses Chocolate Cake

Wine and Chocolate Rose Cake

If you are looking for something decadent for Valentine’s Day (or any dinner party), this is it. This Wine and Roses Chocolate Cake is beautiful, intensely chocolaty, and wonderfully easy to make. Top it with lightly sweetened whipped cream and serve it with love.

This recipe is inspired by our Chocolate Rose Gianduja cake that Macrina makes for Valentine’s Day, which alternates layers of hazelnut and flourless espresso cake with a hint of rose water. This make-at-home version takes Auguste Escoffier’s mantra “Faites simple” (keep it simple) to heart. It will appeal to the tastes of the most refined epicurean, but anyone with basic baking skills can make it.

The rose water plays off the depth of flavor from the red wine in the chocolate glaze. It’s a lovely combination for a sweet Valentine’s Day treat! For a special presentation, garnish the cake with homemade sugared rose petals, or you can buy candied rose petals at some specialty kitchen stores, or online.

Ingredients

10″ Cake • Serves 10 (but suitable for just 2!)

Cake

1 cup unsalted butter
8 ounces Guittard semisweet chocolate
1-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 eggs
3/4 teaspoon rose water

Glaze

1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon red wine
1 organic rose
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 325º. Brush a 10″ spring-form pan with melted butter. Then cut a parchment paper circle to cover the base and a 3″ band to line the sides.

Place the semisweet chocolate and the butter in a saucepan. Then make a bain-marie (or double-boiler) by setting it atop another saucepan filled with 2″ water. With the water simmering, continually stir the mixture. When completely melted, remove chocolate mixture and allow to cool.

Sift the sugar and cocoa powder into a stand-mixer bowl. Using the paddle attachment at medium speed, add eggs 2 at a time until they are fully incorporated. Scrape sides of bowl. With the mixer running at low speed, add the melted chocolate and rose water in a slow stream. Scrape sides of bowl again. Increase mixer to medium-high for 2 minutes. The mixture will become lighter in color and more aerated.

Transfer cake batter to the prepared spring-form pan. Level batter and bake for 25-30 minutes. Pull it out when the top is firm but just before it cracks. This cake can crack easily because eggs are the leavening agent.

Let cake cool for 30 minutes and prepare glaze in that time.

In a medium saucepan, scald the cream and turn off the heat. Add the chocolate chips and whisk until fully melted. Add the red wine and allow the glaze to cool to room temperature.

Pour glaze in the center of the cake and spread across the top, leaving the edges uncovered. Separate the rose petals, preserving the center core. Scatter petals around the perimeter of the cake, placing the core in the center. Use a fine sifter to dust the rose petals and cake edges with powder sugar.

This is an intensely chocolaty cake, and it is best enjoyed with slightly sweetened whipped cream and fresh raspberries.

Enjoy!

Visiting the Heart of Washington State’s Wheat Country

The Williams Hudson Bay Farm is located near Walla Walla in some of the best wheat-growing land in the world. It’s also where Tom and Ray Williams grow the wheat for the new Whole Grain Baguette that Macrina Bakery has created in collaboration with PCC. This past summer I visited the Williams Hudson Bay Farm to meet Tom and Ray. Walking through their fields and learning of their holistic approach to the integrity of the grain gave me a new appreciation for what it takes to create a healthy and delicious product. 

Third-Generation Farmers

Williams Hudson Bay Farm

Tom and Ray took over the farm from their father. Their grandfather had moved West from Kansas and farmed the same land they use today, though the farm has now grown to 3,000 acres. They grow a diverse range of crops. It was mind-boggling learning how they manage the complexity of a modern organic farm.

As we toured the farm in the summer heat, Tom and Ray explained three essentials to organic farming: cover crops, effective pest management and crop rotation. Portions of the farm are designated for animals, which provides meat, but also manure for fertilizer. They also have Beehives everywhere to help with pollination.  

Wheat

While we examined the wheat, they explained how they determine the proper time to harvest. Having an understanding of the whole operation and feeling the nearly mature grains in my hands gave me a new reverence for their flour. The Edison and the Expresso wheats they grow, the heritage wheats we use in the whole wheat baguette, have so much more flavor than commodity flour.  

Macrina Team

Part of the Williams farm is on PCC Farmland Trust land, which supports farmland preservation, organic production and sustainable practices. Tom and Ray hold the same core values that PCC and Macrina share. This is what makes this partnership so unique. We are all working together to bring the most nutritious and delicious baguette to the epicurean and environmentally-conscious customer that PCC attracts. 

Moroccan Mussels with Tomatoes and Aioli

January 2019 Recipe of the Month

Moroccan Mussels with Tomatoes and Aioli

This light, sophisticated meal is surprisingly straightforward to prepare and quick enough that it can be a weeknight dinner. It is also easy to double or triple if you’ve got a crowd. Fresh mussels pair perfectly with our new Whole Grain Baguette, which is crusty enough to soak up the delicious broth. The natural sweetness of the stone-ground whole wheat complements the bold flavors of ginger, garlic and harissa. Although it was once hard to find harissa in the Seattle area, the North African chili paste is now widely available at specialty shops and many supermarkets but you can also make your own. With a little prep beforehand, you can step into the kitchen for 10 minutes and emerge with steaming bowls of flavorful mussels. Serve with a dry Riesling and an extra bowl for the empty shells.

Ingredients

Serves 2

Mussels

1 pound live mussels
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 medium shallot, diced (2 tablespoons)
1-1/2 teaspoons harissa
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely diced
2 tomatoes, medium dice
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Aioli

1 egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Assembly

1 Macrina Whole Grain Baguette
2 tablespoons aioli

Directions:

Mussels

Rinse and remove beards from mussels and set aside in the refrigerator.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter and add the shallots, harissa and ginger. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the shallots are translucent. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes to blend the flavors. Add the mussels and white wine. Cover sauté pan and simmer for 3-4 minutes until mussels open. When all mussels are open, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the cilantro and season to taste with salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Aioli

Whisk the egg yolk, garlic, lemon juice and Dijon in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Add the canola oil in a slow stream while whisking constantly to emulsify the mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

Assembly

Divide mussels between 2 shallow bowls and top with cooking broth. Drizzle aioli over the mussels. Serve with slices of Whole Grain Baguette. Enjoy!

From Field to Table, Our New Whole Grain Baguette

Macrina’s Whole Grain Baguette

Our newest loaf is the result of an inspiring partnership with PCC Community Markets. Using organic wheat grown on PCC Farmland Trust land, we collaborated with PCC to develop a field-to-table baguette that takes advantage of the fantastic food resources that Washington State offers.

Scott Owen, the Grocery Merchandiser for PCC Community Markets, was the creative force behind the partnership. “I’m trying to knit together all of these great local partners, but really put the farmer at the center,” says Scott.

The result is an airy, crusty whole grain baguette with a tender, moist interior and open crumb. The natural sweetness and the rich, complex flavor of whole grain flour shine through, complemented by just a hint of sour from the natural leaven. Not only is it one of our best-tasting breads, but it’s nutritious and supports sustainable local farming.

The Farm

We think of bread as coming from the bakery, but it would be just as natural to talk about the field from which it comes. The Williams Hudson Bay Farm, located near Walla Walla in what may be the best wheat-growing land in the world, is one of the largest Certified Organic and Salmon-Safe farms in the region. It is also a beneficiary of the PCC Farmland Trust, which supports farmland preservation, organic production, and sustainable practices.

Tom and Ray Williams, the third generation to work their family farm, grow the two types of wheat—Edison and Expresso—we blend for our whole wheat baguette. “We’re fortunate that the Walla Walla Valley is an excellent place to grow food,” Tom says. “We have great soil, water, all of the resources that it takes to grow organic crops.”

The Wheat

Organic Edison wheat is a dark northern spring flour developed by a professor in Bellingham and improved by the internationally renowned Bread Lab, located in Mount Vernon. Edison wheat is sweet and buttery with a lovely golden color, and it gives our baguette a robust whole wheat flavor.

Organic Expresso wheat is a hard red type 85 that gives the chewy crust of our baguette its dark, caramel color, lends suppleness to our dough and adds loft and tenderness to the interior of the baked loaf. The slow ferment of our dough helps bring out the rich, earthy flavor of the mildly sweet grain.

“Freshly milled whole grain flours provide the best flavor,” Leslie says. “When I started Macrina in 1993, flours like these weren’t commercially available. What is happening now in the heritage grain movement is one of the most exciting developments in baking in a long time.”

The Grain Mill

A hundred years ago there were thousands of wheat farms across America supplying thousands of local mills. Now, most of those mills have closed. Milling is centralized and flour has become an international commodity. Fortunately, in Washington State we have Cairnspring Mills. Located in the scenic Skagit Valley, the mill is a technologically modern flour mill with the throwback philosophy that the local flour mill is an essential part of a vibrant food economy. They work with local farmers committed to sustainable farming. Every batch of grain is milled separately to preserve the integrity of the grain and the unique flavor of each field.

“Cairnspring works directly with the baker to customize the milling process to their needs,” Leslie says. “Unlike most millers who process whole grain, Cairnspring removes some of the bran, while still keeping the integrity of the flour. They provide a steady supply of the high-grade flours we need and the consistency is remarkable.”

The Dough

Freshly-milled whole grain flours work best with a slow fermentation, which helps develop subtle, bright flavors and hydrates the bran. We use our Casera starter, which is the original Macrina starter Leslie created from Champagne grapes planted in her backyard. A slow rise is a critical part of developing the grain-forward flavor and airy crumb of the loaf. Then, as with all our breads, we hand form each baguette and bake it until the crust is dark and caramelized.

The Bread

“I am as excited to be baking today as I was when I opened Macrina 25 years ago,” Leslie says. “Developing our Whole Wheat Baguette was a fun challenge. I visited the Williams Hudson Bay Farm to meet Tom and Ray. Standing in the wheat field gives you a whole new appreciation for what it takes to create a delicious product. We are privileged to be able to use some of the incredible wheat grown there and to have Cairnspring Mills to mill it freshly for us. Through PCC Community Markets, our Whole Grain Baguette will be widely available and bread lovers will taste just how good freshly-milled whole grain flour tastes.”

December Recipe of the Month: Panettone French Toast

Panettone French Toast with Ricotta and Fresh Cranberry Compote

In Italy, the arrival of panettone in the stores means the holidays are near. This sweet, rich bread filled with raisins and candied orange originated in Milan and spread throughout Italy (and the world) in the 20th century. There are plenty of imported commercial panettone out there, but there’s nothing like a fresh artisanal version of the famous Italian bread. We offer ours exclusively in December, with our final bake on Christmas Eve. It is incredible on its own – especially when served with a glass of Prosecco or a dollop of mascarpone – but it also makes delicious French toast. For such an elegant holiday brunch item, this recipe is easy to prepare and won’t take you more than 30 minutes to pull together.

 

Ingredients

Serves 4

2 cups fresh cranberries, washed and destemmed
1 cup water
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
2 tablespoons orange zest, divided
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1 Macrina Panettone
5 eggs
1-1/2 cups whipping cream, divided
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
Unsalted butter

Preparation

Preheat oven to 300°F.

In a medium saucepan, add the cranberries, water, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon orange zest. Bring to a simmer and cook until cranberries release their juice and the sauce starts to thicken; about 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, 2 tablespoons of sugar and the remaining tablespoon of orange zest. Set aside.

Remove the paper mold from the panettone. Slicing top to bottom, cut four slices that are each about 1-1/2″ thick. Then cut each slice in half diagonally. Make a slit midway on the diagonally cut side of each piece and gently spoon a dollop of sweetened ricotta into each pouch. Set aside.

To make the custard, combine the eggs, 1/2 cup whipping cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, brown sugar and orange juice in a medium bowl. Mix well and set aside.

In another medium bowl, combine the remaining cup of whipping cream, 1/4 cup of sugar and teaspoon of vanilla. Whip until the cream retains soft peaks. Refrigerate until needed.

Dip panettone slices in the custard to coat both sides. Place on a rimmed baking sheet to rest.

Place a medium sauté pan or pancake griddle over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon butter. Once the butter is sizzling, add as many half slices as will fit. Cook for 2-3 minutes then flip when underside is a deep golden brown. As the pieces finish, transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Add more butter to your pan as needed. When you’ve sautéed all the slices, place them in the oven for 3-5 minutes to ensure you’ve cooked them all the way through.

Place 2 halves of French toast on each plate and top with a generous spoonful of cranberry compote and sweetened whipped cream. With the sweetness of the bread, compote and cream, maple syrup isn’t necessary, but indulge if it is calling you!

Holiday Entertaining: From Simple to Spectacular

Sometimes when I’m entertaining, I’ve got the time and energy to spend all day in the kitchen making something wicked good. Other times, I need something great that I can whip out in almost no time at all. Macrina has all kinds of things that will help with your holiday entertaining, from grab-and-go treats to key elements of more elaborate creations. By keeping a few essentials like crostini and flatbread in your pantry and savory spreads and tapenades in your fridge, you’ll be ready with many possibilities for snacks and appetizers when friends drop by or you need to bring a dish to a gathering.

Here are a few of my favorite combos for the holidays:

• Macrina’s Holiday Quiche with side salads from our case (a great impromptu lunch).

• Macrina’s Cranberry Apricot Nut Crostini (or Wheat Herb Walnut Crostini, if you prefer) with Macrina’s warmed Holiday Brie.

• French toast made with your favorite Macrina Brioche: plain, cinnamon swirl, or raisin (our Panettone will also take your French toast up a notch – check out December’s recipe of the month).

 

• Macrina’s Grilled Winter Pear Crown with Cambozola Black Label cheese and our Fig & Olive tapenade.

• Macrina’s Seeded Baguette warmed and sliced thinly, brushed with melted butter and topped with our Smoked Trout Spread and sautéed capers

• Macrina’s Skagit Sourdough sliced, brushed with olive oil and toasted, topped with prosciutto or serrano ham, goat cheese and our Fig & Olive Tapenade.

• Macrina’s Greek Olive Crostini with burrata cheese, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and flaky salt.

• Macrina’s Warmed Dill Scones with goat cheese, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon

• Macrina’s Sardinian Flatbread with truffle salt and roasted artichoke spread (recipe in More from Macrina cookbook) that is topped with fresh crab meat.

• Macrina’s Rye Crostini with our Smoked Trout Spread and chopped preserved lemons (Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi has an excellent recipe for them).

• Strata made with Macrina’s Holiday Porcini Stuffing Mix, caramelized onions, grated gruyere and kale.

• Macrina’s Brioche Slider Buns with curried chicken salad.

• Sliders made with pulled pork and coleslaw on Macrina’s Sodo Rolls.

• Rare roast beef and tarragon aioli on Macrina’s Cheesy Garlic Pull-Apart Rolls.

If you find yourself in a pinch for brunch, a box of Macrina pastries can save the day. Leftovers also reheat the next day wonderfully. Call us to place an order or visit one of our cafes where our crew can help you find what you need and let us help you with your holiday festivities. Also check out PCC, Town & Country Market, Whole Foods, Metropolitan Market or one of the many retailers who carry our products. You won’t be disappointed!

Happy Holidays!

Leslie

Thanksgiving at Macrina

Thanksgiving Stuffing

Food and holidays go hand-in-hand. So does stress. People want fresh handmade baked goods, they just don’t have the time to do everything themselves. During the holidays, especially Thanksgiving, many families rely on us for key elements of their feast, from pie to stuffing to dinner rolls. We make it easier to serve a perfect meal and still have plenty of time to spend with family and friends.

Winter Pear Crown

As I write this, every department at Macrina is humming and the ovens at our wholesale bakery in Kent are working overtime. Stuffing mixes, dinner rolls, pies, crostini, holiday breads, quiche, tapenades, savory spreads and much more are all in peak production.

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie

Many customers have already called in and placed their orders for Thanksgiving Eve. Don’t worry if you haven’t—there’s still time. Our cutoff is Monday, November 19, at noon. We also stock up at the cafés the week of Thanksgiving for customers coming in for a last-minute loaf, pie or whatever else they need to pull together their fabulous feast.

Making Thanksgiving Magic

Behind the Scenes

While production is now in full swing, we’ve been in go-mode for months. This summer we established our projections on all holiday items, designed and printed packaging and labels. Our sales team distributed samples and worked with supermarkets and other retail outlets to plan their holiday orders. In October things really began heating up. Macrina’s production manager, Jane Cho, mapped out workflow and dough production. Our wholesale pastry team, led by Tramy Le, and the wholesale bread team, led by Head Baker, Phuong Bui, were busy making samples and training their members. A small team prepared and labeled all of our bags and boxes, so they’re ready and waiting when all the pies, loaves, rolls, crostini and stuffing mixes come out of the ovens.

Porcini Harvest Rolls

The cafés have also done lots of extra planning. Café crews have all done tastings and are well-versed on all we have to offer. On Thanksgiving Eve, staff comes in very early to prepare all the special orders so pick-ups go smoothly and no one is missing anything they ordered.

“Everyone has been moving fast and working their hardest,” Jane says. “It’s exciting, even fun much of the time, then after months of planning it’s suddenly over. Macrina closes Thanksgiving Day so we all get to enjoy the holiday with family and friends.”

It’s a well-deserved rest before we head into our second-busiest month: December!

If you haven’t placed your holiday orders yet, get them in by noon on Monday, November 19.

Leslie