Taste of the week: Murcotts @ Natural Grocers and Leckerlee’s Lebkuchen @ Le Frigo


Two last great holiday tastes

Some of us are not quite ready to think about spring or to let the holidays go yet, especially when it comes to great foods only available seasonally.  

Forget about all those seedless Cuties and Clementines. As a humble tangerine aficionado, I believe that the best tasting tangerine you’ll ever encounter is the Murcott. It’s often called the Honey Murcott because its rich, sweet flavor does have hints of wild honey. Usually seedless and easy to peel, it’s a tangerine/orange hybrid done right. 

By the way, don’t compost tangerine peels before you extract all that flavor in the peel or zest. Fill a jar with peels and vodka and in a month: tangerine vodka. Or soak them in white vinegar to make a blast of tart citrus to use in vinaigrettes. Murcotts can be hard to find. I located mine from Natural Grocers market in Lafayette. 

Girl Scout cookies—especially Thin Mints—have their place on my palate, but I’ll forget about them while I have lebkuchen to enjoy.

I recently discovered that Leckerlee, an acclaimed 10-year-old bakery, had moved its headquarters from New York to Longmont in 2019. (There are locations in 12 states, including Colorado.)

Leckerlee’s lebkuchen

Lebkuchen (pronounced leyb-koo-kuhn) has the intense spice of the best gingerbread but this soft, dense cross between cake and cookie is something completely different.

Leckerlee’s authentic Nuremberg-style lebkuchen are substantial confections made from 40% almonds, almond paste and hazelnuts. The dough includes a nine-spice blend, honey, candied citron and orange peel, and sea salt. Each chewy bite is a gingery, spicy and nutty joy with a nice holiday aroma. Each cookie is coated in glaze and sits atop an edible wafer which will remind Catholics of a large communion host. The chocolate variety is encased in a good dark chocolate shell. 

As is traditional, Leckerlee lebkuchen are usually available only from late October through January and sold online at specialty stores around the country. Packed in decorative tins, Leckerlee lebkuchen are not inexpensive but quite a find for certain taste buds. I stumbled on the company’s last remaining stockpile at Le Frigo, Boulder’s French-accented deli and market.

Courtesy Longmont Museum

Plan Ahead: ‘A thick milkshake at the roadhouse’

The Longmont gas station where Jack Kerouac took a nap in “On the Road” and grabbed a milkshake will come to life again later this year as an ice cream parlor, restaurant and bar. Johnson’s Corner sold gas and food at Main Street and Ken Pratt Boulevard in Longmont for decades. Historically, it was reportedly one of the first and few Colorado roadside stops serving all customers regardless of race. Architect Eugene Groves designed the all-concrete structure in 1937, which was later moved to the Prospect neighborhood to preserve it.  

Culinary Calendar

Get wise at Growing Gardens’ Feb. 26 sustainable vegetable garden design class including drainage, seeds and pollinators. growinggardens.org . . . The free March 1 event at Niwot’s Left Hand Grange connects consumers with diverse vegetable farmers and ranchers including Lazy J Ranch, Jodar Farms, McCauley Family Farm, Rocky Mountain Superfoods and Ollin Farms. ollinfarms.com . . . Boulder’s Benevolence Orchard & Gardens hosts a Fruit Tree Pruning Workshop on March 5. benevolenceorchard.com . . . Longmont’s Journey Culinary school features an International Classic Sauces class March 30 including hands’-on preparation of sauces from Italy, France, Peru and Argentina. journeyculinary.com 

Send information about local food events, classes, festivals and tastings at least two weeks in advance to: nibbles@boulderweekly.com