Robin and John McConaughy, proprietors of Hopewell’s Double Brook Farm and Brick Farm Market, have tagged Greg Vassos as chef for their forthcoming restaurant, Brick Farm Tavern, which is expected to debut in November on Hopewell-Rocky Hill Road.

For the last year, Vassos has been chef de cuisine at the Penrose Room of the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs. Before that he had his own restaurant, the well-reviewed Racine (“racine” means root in French) in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

The Johnson & Wales alum has also worked at The Breakers in Palm Beach, and in the kitchens of internationally renowned chefs, including Sergi Arola of Barcelona and Eric Ripert, for whom he was sous chef at Le Bernardin.

A sweet touch of Provence

If you shop the Princeton Farmers Market, you’ve passed a table where French is the lingua franca (sorry). That’s because Princeton’s Francophiles and ex-pats flock to Anne-Elisabeth (aka Annelise) Mugnier in equal parts to chat and to stock up on her handmade, hard-to-find, all-natural classic French candies.

These include nougat that has won over inveterate nougat-haters; super-fresh, soft marshmallows in flavors like violet; sea salt caramels made from Halo Farm milk and Tassot Apiaries honey; and hard-to-find calissons. Those last are a lozenge-shaped specialty of Aix-en-Provence featuring a smooth paste made from the French cantaloupe that it is named for.

Mme. Mugnier starts with candied calisson, which she imports. Many commercial varieties use dried — a key difference. Commercial varieties also employ corn syrup and preservatives, but Mme. Mugnier uses sugar and no preservatives. First time tasters are, Mugnier says, “Very astonished. It’s so radically different. But then some people become addicted!”

Les Delices D’Annelise are also available at Café Vienna, The Little Chef, and Terra Momo Bread Company.

Princeton spotlighted in NJ Monthly

Speaking of Double Brook Farm, it was the subject of a feature in the September issue of New Jersey Monthly. The story, “A Kinder Kill,” was written by yours truly and focuses on the farm’s new USDA-approved animal processing facility (i.e., abattoir), which aims to provide a quick, compassionate end to the lives of animals that are raised naturally and with great care at that Hopewell farm.

But that story isn’t the only one to focus on our area. The cover story for that same issue focused on 25 of NJ’s best downtowns, and among those profiled are both Princeton and Lambertville (also contributed by yours truly). And more is on the way! The forthcoming October issue features best locations for fall weekend getaways, and it contains my recommendations for experiencing “offbeat” Princeton: places to stay, sights to see, and options for dining that are interesting, beautiful, and compelling yet for some reason remain lesser traveled. njmonthly.com.

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