No Holiday Market This Year? Here’s Why. Plus, a Recipe for My Favorite Winter Drink Just for You

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Dear friends and customers,

With American Thanksgiving now past and the winter holidays literally in our faces (like garland and twinkle lights and this holiday drink all over me), I wanted to share what’s going on in Eat Boutique land. Since the late summer, my inbox has been flooded with questions about my annual holiday market – it’s truly humbling to read your eager messages. Sadly but for very good reasons, I will not host an Eat Boutique Holiday Market this year. While I know that may disappoint you and me both, this conclusion came to life after a lot of thought and sound business consideration. Let’s just say, it’s complicated and here are a few reasons why.

A GOOD SPACE IS HARD TO FIND:

Each year, it’s a struggle to find the right venue in terms of location, size, and capabilities. Whether on the train, the bus, or on foot, I want it to be way easy for you to get there, right? Right. I also need enough room for everyone (8,000 of you showed up last year) as well as the opportunity to iterate on events’ past based on your feedback, making the next event even more special, more functional, and true to my mission which is TO PROVIDE A NEW WAY TO FOOD. Each past venue has presented challenges and (frankly) limits which make it hard to share the full mission and offer all the products, services, and experiences you tell me you want. And this year, we just couldn’t find the right space.

POP-UPS ARE KINDA LIMITING:

Many of you have graciously tapped me on the shoulder at an event, sharing compliments (thank you!), gratitude (double thank you!), and a variety of ideas for future events. In fact, some of you have visited from way far away — like New York City or the west coast — to experience the holiday market and talk to me about food. I love you all and I promise, I’m listening. But pop-ups overall are kinda limiting. I can only expand so much, especially given the shortage of large space rentals with modern amenities in Boston. I may be able to offer classes in a certain space but that space may not have a working kitchen for coffee and food. Or maybe a space is way too small, and there’s not enough room for you to sit for a spell and take it all in. There’s never been a single space with the underlying infrastructure and aesthetic capacity to accommodate all we want to do, and when I say we, I mean YOU and ME — so, as some of you now know, I’m building it from scratch.

eatboutique_holidaymarket2015maggie

THE NEW EAT BOUTIQUE IS COMING:

While those are just a few reasons — and there are so many more — I am taking this time to focus 100% of my efforts on opening a permanent Eat Boutique space that you can visit every day for all your food essentials. This isn’t a small project. A holiday market takes up to six months to come to life. You can imagine that a permanent venue full of everything we want is going to take, well, a little longer. I’m spending all my time during this holiday season (and before! and after!) locating the permanent space, building it all out with a variety of folks, and getting it open. I can’t talk location nor timeline right now, but please be assured that I plan to involve you every step of the way. As soon as those details are solved, I’ll be back in touch with you here. (You’ll also notice that our online shop has a very limited offering right now. That’s purposeful and we’ll be back with new offerings that align with the new boutique soon.)

I NEED YOU NOW MORE THAN EVER:

If I thought it was challenging to turn this blog into a cookbook or a pop-up market, then let me just put it out there: evolving into a real-life brick and mortar space is really hard. I’m learning so much about commercial real estate, business valuations, banks (banks are fun! not so much!), and all it takes to build a space from scratch. My start-up life has definitely prepared me for this, and this is what I’m meant to do, but your opinion and thoughts matter. Would you like to share your thoughts on the upcoming space on the regular? I’m looking for individuals with a strong sense of style, a passion for everyday cooking, and a love of all things food to offer insight into the first Eat Boutique storefront. You will act as a sort-of sounding board, offering feedback in easy-to-answer questions sent occasionally through email over the coming months. Interested? Sign up here.

I hate disappointing you — everything I do is about surprising and delighting you — but I felt it was in the very best interest of the company to forge full steam ahead on a permanent space, so we can spend so many future holidays enjoying the season and the very best food experiences together. I will miss seeing your faces and celebrating together, which is why I’m including my recipe for my favorite winter drink, my family’s version of Rompopo, a latin-style eggnog. I hope we can share a toast together virtually for now and in real life very soon.

Love and hugs to you all,

Maggie

p.s., Choose a very nice rum for this recipe, you’ll be glad you did, and feel free to substitute in a richer nut milk like cashew milk to make it dairy free – that’s what I do. I wish you lots of great food and drink this holiday season. You can keep tabs on me here. I hope you will continue to join me for this wild, food-filled, start-up ride.

rompopo_eatboutique

Rompopo

Makes: 8 cups

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 (4-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 12 large egg yolks (reserve egg whites for another use)
  • 2 cups white rum

Directions:

  1. Add the sugar and water to a medium pot over medium heat. Bring to a low boil to dissolve the sugar and make a simple syrup. This should take no more than 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to let cool.
  2. Add the milk, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, and ground nutmeg to a clean medium pot over medium heat. Heat until just before scalding—you do not want the milk to boil. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to steep 15 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean.
  3. Prepare an ice-water bath: Fill a large bowl halfway up the side with water and add plenty of ice. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until very thick and creamy. Ladle about 1/4 cup of the simple syrup into the eggs while continuing to whisk vigorously in order to temper the eggs. Once well combined, whisk in the remaining simple syrup. Place the bowl in the ice-water bath for a few moments to bring the temperature down quickly.
  5. Remove the bowl to a clean towel set on the counter. Quickly add 1 cup of the milk to the egg mixture while whisking vigorously. Once combined, whisk in the remaining milk. Set the bowl back into the ice-water bath to quickly bring down the temperature. Strain the Rompopo through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any extra bits.
  6. When the mixture is cooled, add the rum. Transfer to a large bottle and store in the fridge up to 2 weeks.

Materials

  • Glass bottle with airtight lid
  • Tag
  • Vintage ribbon
  • Pin

Directions

  1. Transfer the spirit to a pretty bottle. Wipe the rim and seal. Write the label on a tag and set aside. Wrap a length of vintage ribbon around the rim of the bottle. Tie in a loose knot. Slip the tag into place and pin.
Photos taken by Heidi Murphy/White Loft Studio and food styling by Catrine Kelty on the final photo.

Eat Boutique is the go-to resource for all things food gifts, including one-of-a-kind, small-batch products and inspirational articles. We’ve got food gifts in our award-winning shop and story-driven recipes for everyday cravings, special occasions, and for anyone who needs a little food gift love—and, really, who doesn’t?!

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Comments

  • Peggy Witter

    Oh how exciting!!!! Congratulations! I know the store front will be truly lovely. Quick question… is the link to sign up to be a “sounding board” for the storefront now inactive? Or CSI you have enough already? I tried signing up but received a messaging stating I needed the owner’s permission to continue. Thank you! Have a lovely week!

    • Kate H. Knapp

      Hi Peggy, So happy you’d like to participate. I’m not sure why you received that message. You should be able to sign up and we would love to have your insight. Can you try again? I’ll be standing by to see what happens. Thanks!

      • Peggy Witter

        HI Kate, I just went on with no issues this morning. Thank you!