Chinese Noodles, New Shochu, A Memoir Through Cassoulet, And More Food News

Last winter, Mala Market, an excellent online source for Chinese ingredients, featured a sample pack of assorted regional Chinese noodles: Sichuan Wheat, Chongqing Sweet Potato Cup, Yunnan Rice, and Guangdong Wide Rice. It is now back in stock and well worth having on hand for a variety of dishes, including dan dan mian; ma yi shang shu, or “ants climbing a tree”; and funny chow.

Mala Market Regional Chinese Noodle Collection, $49,

Shochu, the century-old Japanese spirit, has a new expression for the US market. After falling in love with shochu years ago, Bruce Bozzi, who worked at his family’s Palm restaurants, and his business partner Sondra Baker, an entrepreneur, decided to produce their own brand, Mujen. They collaborated with Junko Tsusumi, an experienced distiller in Kumamoto Prefecture. Shochus are distilled from various grains and vegetables; Mujen’s base is rice. Shochu is usually slightly less alcoholic than other white spirits such as vodka; And true to form, Mujen, with a bright, clean flavor and slightly fruity aroma, is 70 proof. They’ve dropped even further, to 46 degrees, for their Ai Lite, which looks almost as burly as the original. Both are great in many cocktails.

Woman, $39.99; Ai Lite, $34.99,

With a magazine assignment in hand, Swiss-born food and travel writer Sylvie Bigar headed to southwestern France in 2008 to find out what made cassoulet, the region’s bean-based stew, tick. . The delightful odyssey became a book, “Cassoulet Confessions,” that examines her own family for generations, including through World War II, her childhood, and eventually her connection to Judaism. Chefs Paul Bocuse and Daniel Boulud are among the culinary stars who shine in this often moving and conflicting tale. She associates cassoulet with cholent, the Jewish bean casserole, although she does not follow it in the Moroccan dfina, a similar stew. Various complex time-consuming recipes and a shortcut are included.

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“Cassoulet Confessions: Food, France, Family, and the Stew That Saved My Soul” by Sylvie Bigar (Hardie Grant $24.99)

To accompany its new exhibit, “Machine Dazzle x Queer Maximalism,” the Museum of Art and Design has added a collection of confetti-patterned cutting boards and cheese knives. Keep them in mind for gifts; the confetti pattern would suit a New Year’s Eve celebration. Designed by Brooklyn-based Fredericks and Mae, they’re made of durable, dishwasher-safe plastic. Red-Blue-Yellow-Green-White is available now; red, green and blue, and white and black will soon be available. Boards come in 6-by-8-inch ($46) and 11-by-16-inch ($116), and there’s a three-knife set ($38); members get a discount.

Fredericks and Mae Cutting Boards and Cheese Knives,

Among bean-to-bar chocolate makers, Beyond Good, a Brooklyn-based company, is unusual. Not only is it the source of most of its Madagascar chocolate, but all production is also located on the island. All additional ingredients, such as vanilla, are also grown locally, and the company employs Malagasy workers in its factory. The chocolate is also organic. The company has just introduced three single-origin bars, each showing an attractive fruity flavor in the chocolate. There is one with crunchy pieces of plantain and sea salt, another with fleur de sel and a third with vanilla. Small batch bars are 2.64 ounces each, $8, and also come in a gift set of three for $24.99. Individual bars are also sold at Whole Foods.

Beyond Good,

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After 10 years and running out of space, Flatiron Wines & Spirits has moved a short distance south into a store more than twice the size. There’s room for another 1,000 labels in the new store, which, like the original, is simple. “We are a very Francophile store,” said Clara Dalzell, general manager, “and now we have space to display more wines from other regions.” She said her New York state offerings have gone from 15-20 to around 60. The store can also stock deeper selections from categories like Beaujolais crus. The variety of spirits has also doubled. And there’s a mezzanine where Mrs. Dalzell plans a full program of classes and tastings. There is a complementary store in San Francisco.

Flatiron Wines & Spirits, 873 Broadway (18th Street), 212-477-1315,

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