Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Sure, you hope to bring along a home-made Buche de Noel* when you visit friends but here are some easy alternatives if you're pressed for time:

• Stop in at Simple Pleasures (6 Richmond Square, Providence  401-331-4120) and pick up all sorts of small chocolate treats not available elsewhere in Providence. The tiny shop looks especially pretty for Christmas. Buy yourself a luxurious scarf.

• Visit Garrison Confections factory store (72 Ledge St, Central Falls 401-725-0790) Thursdays through Saturdays until Christmas, and on Sunday, December 23, from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Select French-style macarons, chocolate-covered, sea-salted matzoh, elegant small chocolates. The chocolate-covered ginger is terrific.

• Order from semi-local Sweet Lydia's, a small Massachusetts vendor who showcased her wares at Craftopia in November. Personally taste-tested by my friends and me were toasted-coconut covered marshmallows (soooooo good), Lydia's version of a s'more, and one super-delicious chocolate bar.  Use discount code Craftopia12 to get 10% off online orders until December 17th.

• And order from John Kelly Chocolates, the Santa Monica purveyor of possibly the best fudgy sea-salted chocolates, some with caramel, you will ever taste. Expensive, totally worth it.

• Need to arrive with pastries or tarts but don't have the time or inclination? Susan VandenBerg operates the french tarte (774-280-4803) out of Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket. I wandered in and purchased flaky pastries while shopping the Saturday Farmers' Market. She can be your new friend for the holidays.  Order ahead.

* And, if you do have time, try either of these easy BĂ»che recipes: or

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