Schaller and Weber: New York, NY

Pin it button big

Schaller and Weber is a well-respected butcher, but the shop is also an opportunity to experience the Christmas season in a new way.

They sell chestnuts, Christmas cookies, foil wrapped chocolate Santas in many sizes, and marzipan shaped into fruits and even some marzipan pigs.

Schaller and Weber offers the largest variety of Lindt chocolates I've ever seen. The store is piled high with sausages -- including chipolata sausages often called for in British stuffing recipes -- and their own brand of sauerkraut, but also sells steins and even rendered goose fat. Schaller and Weber was recently recognized by The New York Times for their "triple-threat double smoked bacon." (If anyone has recipes for using this double-smoked bacon, please pass them along. I can't wait to get cooking with it.)

Pin it button big

For those of us who command holiday kitchens, the child-like glee of the holiday season can be easily displaced by pressures: how long until I take the turkey out, where did I put the carving knife, will there be enough appetizers for this growing merry crowd? A trip to Schaller and Weber can be the cure. Just the packaging of all these treats gave me new ideas about how to decorate for the holidays. While you're there, treat yourself to some jam or a Kinder egg treat.

Schaller and Weber is a family owned local business, selling "gold medal meat products" since 1937. This time of year, the shop does have long lines, but when I was there over the weekend, I was impressed at how fast the lines moved. The butchers and cashiers gave each customer personal, if short, attention. Just making it in and out of a shop quickly is in itself a holiday treat.

If your trip to Schaller and Weber inspires you as much as mine did, you might want to check out Elizabeth David's Christmas. Like Schaller and Weber, this cookbook-holiday memoir combo offers some European ideas on cooking through the holidays.