Tuesday, December 29 2020 10:45

Drinks, Sweets & Other Purveyors To Love

Written by County Lines Magazine

Baba’s Brew Kombucha

333 Morgan St., Phoenixville
267-738-1973 / BabasBrew.com

Luckily our area is home to an early farm-to-bottle kombucha brewer, Olga Sorzano, who learned from her Siberian-born baba. Although more brands are available now, we’ve seen the brightly colored bottles—Purple Rain, Flower Power, Bee’s Knees and more—with the friendly squirrel since 2015. A slightly fizzy drink of fermented tea with a strange floating “mushroom” (scoby), kombucha is rich in probiotics, live enzymes and antioxidants. Hand crafted in small batches, Baba’s Brew uses fair trade and seasonal organic ingredients, though Olga says you can add vodka. Widely available, at Mom’s Organics, Whole Foods, Wegmans … and soon when life improves, back in the Phoenixville tasting room.

Galer Estates Vineyard & Winery

700 Folly Hill Rd., Kennett Square
484-899-8013 / GalerEstate.com

Artful wines, tasting rooms and countryside views have made Galer Estates Vineyard and Winery a pleasure for palates and eyes for more than a decade. Many have toasted milestone occasions with award-winning rosé under barnwood beams by the marble bar and next to glorious stained glass in the main tasting room. Under enchanting lighting you can wander to the intimate Red Lion Tasting Room to share dreams and lovely glasses of cabernet franc and chardonnay with friends near the stone hearth. On the deck, breathe in the aromas of Huntress Red and the breeze while watching the vines grow in neat rows. A special piece of paradise.

Va La

8820 Gap Newport Pk., Avondale
610-268-2702 / VaLaVineyards.com

The first time we set foot in the stone barn’s tasting room, we knew we’d found a favorite. Va La captured our love of stories, charm and superb wine. One of its stories of origin—of an older Italian gentleman shaking his head over the craziness of growing grapes in Avondale … then watching accolades for the wine roll in—tickled us. Visit and sip wine on golden afternoons while watching planes loop-de-loop over the nearby airfield. Chat at the bar and linger on the deck by the vines. The tastings here are perfection—amber Zaffarano with local goat cheese and honey and deep red Silk with Neuchatel truffles. We’ll be back. We hope you will, too. Meanwhile, enjoy their Barn Door Pick Ups.

Colliers in Centreville

5810 Kennett Pk., Centreville, DE
302- 656-3542 / ColliersWine.com

After our first visit to Colliers in Centreville, we learned not to plan our wine around dinner, but vice versa. Tastings in the quirky, bottle-filled shop and conversations with the cellar mistress about pairings led to late night Italian pasta and poached pears with sweetened mascarpone to accompany Italian Brunello and Super Tuscans. French Côtes du Rhône inspired hors d’oeuvres of buttery cheeses with a hint of truffle, earthy olives and desserts of fresh wineberry crepes. German Rieslings called for spring asparagus with Hollandaise. Try something new, she’d say, and we’d leave with Malbec from Argentina, bubbly from South Africa and an appetite for adventure. A place for life lessons about the wonderful world of wines for almost 40 years.

The Creamery

401 Birch St., Kennett Square
484-732-7040 / KennettCreamery.com

From 20th-century milk company, to pop-up beer garden in 2016 to community gathering space since 2018, The Creamery had reclaimed and repurposed a part of Kennett Square and continues to evolve. Until recent restrictions limited activities, The Creamery has served up a full line of craft beers (local and more), good food and good times. Relying initially on food trucks, they built a kitchen and catering operation to supplement the beer and wine offered. Music and ax throwing were added (though axes were axed) and the grounds hosted community events like the weekly farmers market and annual Holiday Village Market. We can’t wait for crowds of friends to gather again at this welcoming place.

Dia Doce

100 S. High St., West Chester
610-476-5684 / DiaDoce.com

On the southwest corner of Miner and South High Streets, patrons have lined up outside Dia Doce’s window (a concession to changing times). They are patient, so far. Inside the window, Thais da Silva Viggue and her staff assemble boxes of delectable, natural cupcakes, made from scratch every day using local and seasonal ingredients. Dia Doce offers more than 100 varieties—Black Magic, White Velvet, Simply Red, Salted Caramel, Strawberries and Cream are among her classics—plus gluten-free and vegan cupcakes on special order with some free delivery. In 2012 Thais won the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars.” Later, she was #1 on the Philly HotList. We can’t wait to see (and taste) what she does next.

Eclat Chocolate

24 S. High St., West Chester
610-692-5206 / EclatChocolate.com

For 14 years, Master Chocolatier Christopher Curtin honed his skills in Belgium, Switzerland, France, Germany and Japan. He was honored in Cologne, Germany as a Master Pastry Chef and Chocolatier. His chocolates were acclaimed as the “best in America” by Bon Appetit Magazine, his caramels as the “world’greatest” by Vogue. His gourmet customers—for his chocolates, chocolate bars, truffles, mendiants, mondiants, caramels—are international. But West Chester, where Curtain has been since 2005, is his base, and his factory, near Henderson High School, is where the magic happens. All to enjoy in our own backyard.

La Baguette Magique

202 W. Market St., West Chester
484-947-5024 / Facebook.com/MagicBaguette

The orange awning of authentic French Bakery La Baguette Magique in West Chester beckons. It is as much a symbol of friends—les amis—at sidewalk tables or conversing in French while ordering pastries as it is the place we keep returning to for delicious celery silk soup, almond croissants, lavender gelati, heavenly chocolate-covered cream rolls and magical hot baguettes that give the special shop its name. From bonjour to a bientôt (see you soon)—and every spoonful of crème brûlée in between—it is our little corner of France and conviviality in Chester County, plus it sells provisions from Andiario! How lucky are we?

Malvern Buttery

233 E. King St., Malvern
610-296-2534 / MalvernButtery.com

When we heard John and Silenia Rhoads were opening the Buttery in Malvern, we were curious. When we learned their dream was to build a community café for gathering over European baked goods and great American style coffee, we were excited. The long-awaited day when “Opening Soon” signs were removed to allow sunshine to flood the welcoming space with wooden tables and a comfortable sofa holding the day’s newspaper, we were delighted. Now—after years of enjoying scones, croissants, fresh breads and butters on wooden boards; big cups brimming with café mocha; salads and bowls filled with root vegetables and eggs—we yearn for more than the current limited takeout and know we’ll be back soon and often.

The Master’s Baker

319 W. Gay St., West Chester
610-436-9888 / TheMastersBaker.com

If ever there was a cake to behold, it’s one from The Master’s Baker: the tiered wedding confection decorated with buttercream frosting flower bouquets so lovely the garden daisies turned green with envy. Or the sculpted almond cake for Mother’s Day. Definitely the pink champagne cake adorned with butterflies that turned the rough week into a magical weekend. The icing on the cake was beyond the icing that first met the eye—the inside filling: satiny espresso buttercream in the top tier, chocolate ganache layered into the almond, and pink champagne buttercream for the pink champagne cake and weekend. Always magnificent and a local treasure for 50 years, now with each pick-up and bake-at-home offerings.

Michoacana Ice cream

231 E. State St. Kennett Square
610-44-2996 / Facebook.com/LaMichoacanaKsq

Summer wouldn’t be summer without Michoacana. On steamy afternoons or just after sundown, head to the bustling little shop in Kennett Square and sample ice cream with abandon—avocado, corn, guava, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, mint chip, cookies and cream. Then make your choices and continue the adventure by sprinkling cinnamon or chili on top of the scoops. Next stroll through town with cups or sit on the sidewalk bench to people-watch as neighbors line up for their treats as you lick your cones so you won’t miss a dribble or drop. Summertime dreams in a cone. And they can’t back come soon enough.

Nomadic Pies

132 W. State St., Kennett Square
610-563-9686 / NomadicPies.com

Since 2012 from a food truck, then in 2015 also from a storefront in Kennett Square, Molly Johnston has been preparing sweet pies (blueberry, peach raspberry, lime custard), savory pies (steak and gruyere, red Thai curry, bison chili) and quiches (chorizo, sweet corn, tomato and cheddar or prosciutto, asparagus and Parmesan)—the variety is amazing. She bakes large and small pies, all fresh, from scratch and sets her offerings weekly (check Facebook), limiting the flavors to what’s locally available: apple pie, only in the autumn, strawberry only in season. A half-hour to an hour in the oven, you’ll have a little bit of heaven to enjoy. Let’s support our local pie-maker!

Carlino’s Market

128 W. Market St., West Chester
610-649-4046 / CarlinosMarket.com

Whether your family totals a baker’s dozen or just two including the dog, Carlino’s has always welcomed us to theirs. Homemade olivata on crispy crackers and carefully curated grazing boxes with fine olives and cheeses impress the most discerning palates. Handmade pasta and broccoli rabe please even finicky nieces and nephews. Its fragrant seasonal melt-in-your-mouth panettone—family-made in Italy, then imported—adds a glow to Christmas morning’s breakfast, nearly as bright as the tree. With a cup of coffee to go and decadent cupcakes from their bakery case, Carlino’s turns every day into a holiday. In-store, curbside, delivery and catering—so many things to love.

Growing Roots Partners

610-836-1391 / GrowingRootsPartners.com

“Local farms, local food and local fun” says the website for the organizer of five weekly farmers markets (Devon Yards, Eagleview, Downingtown, Malvern, West Reading) and more. Like the Good Food Fest that had been planned for November, showcasing local growers, producers and makers, as well as community events in Malvern (Malvern Blooms and Harvest Oktoberfest) and Eagleview (Crafted and Falling Leaf Fest, featuring young performers), also on hold. Lisa O’Neill, the driving force, kept the farmers markets going and safe—with pre-ordering and other precautions—so we could continue to eat fresh, local food. Lisa’s efforts make for a better community and help sustain our farmers, food producers, artisans, crafters and others. Hats off to her and to Christy Campli, who’s taking over now!

Lancaster County Farmers Market

389 Lancaster Ave., Wayne
610-688-9856 / LancasterCountyFarmersMarket.com

With a name and history dating back to the 1930s before landing at its current Wayne spot, Lancaster County Farmers Market has been bringing the Main Line quality meat and produce from our western neighbor. The Wayne Market, as it’s also called, now offers a wide range of specialized vendors. Find flowers and candy plus Abuelita’s Empanadas and Margaret Kuo’s takeout. Yes, Country Twist makes hand rolled pretzels and party dogs, but there’s also seafood from Main Line Marketplace. Check Sunnyside Pastries for whoopie pies, D’Innocenzo’s Bakery for Stock’s pound cake, and Ultimate Bake Shoppe Wayne for meringues. It’s all there, with curbside pickup and extended hours keep us well fed on many levels.

Pete’s Produce Farm

1225 E. Street Rd., West Chester
610-399-3711 / PetesProduceFarm.com

From distant memories of hayrides when the kids were tiny to recent memories of juicy local peaches hiding under peaks of cream whipped with honey from the farm’s busy bees, visiting Pete’s Produce is to step into history and come a little closer to the land and sky. Brilliant seasonal colors draw us to the farm every year: early purple pansies, yellow sunflowers, pumpkins of glowing orange and ghostly white, scarlet and gold tomatoes, green watermelons waiting to be scooped up for summer picnics. Meals of corn and beans harvested that morning, at tables graced with bouquets from the field, fill body and soul with abundance. Our own cornucopia of local goodness, opening again in the spring.

SIW Vegetables at Hill Grit Farm

4317 S. Creek Rd., Chadds Ford
610-388-7491 / SIW-Vegetables.BlogSpot.com

Family farms that reinvent themselves deserve our support, and here’s one that keeps finding new lives—including being a location for an M. Night Shyamalan movie. It’s evolved from dairy farm to vegetable farm cultivating 50 acres with 50 types of veggies and hundreds of varieties, including 85 heirloom tomatoes, all sold at the farm stand, farmers markets and wholesale to restaurants. Plus the famous Field to Fork summer dinners cooked onsite by notable local chefs (Jeffrey Miller, Dan Butler and Josh Taggart of Mae’s West Chester) who soldiered on during 2020. Add in weekly Farm Stand dinners for pickup, CSA shares and events held in the barn dating to the 1660s. So many reasons to love what they do.

West Chester Cooperative

info@WestChester.coop / WestChester.Coop

We love that our local sustainable food population has grown to the point of sustaining its own food co-op in West Chester. Years in the works, the co-op now has a physical home on East Market Street with almost 400 member/owners, making it the only grocery store in walking distance in the borough—a boon to long-time residents and WCU students alike. The pilot GoBox program (open to non-members and highlighting their diverse offerings) was a hit, as were specials like organic chestnuts sold for holiday stuffing and roasting on an open fire. Look for the CSA’s fresh produce, educational programs, cooking classes and more. Here’s hoping they continue to grow in every way.