Monday, 28 October 2019 13:44

Craft Connoisseur Gift Guide

Written by  Jack Raymond
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Craft Connoisseur Gift Guide Illustration by Kim Nguyen

To the Craft Connoisseur, sensory experience is more than just physical sensation: It’s a lifestyle. They have the word “bougie” tattooed above their tattoo of French chef Paul Bocuse. Their vintage wine collection is rivaled only by their Fabergé egg collection. Entertaining their palate will cost you — but who ever said the best things in life were cheap?

Do

The only thing the Craft Connoisseur loves more than a fine cheese is five fine cheeses snuggled on a board, with some jamón and gherkins to boot. But it only takes one avant-garde bite of bleu cheese plus anchovy to dissuade the Craft Connoisseur from trying things at home. A lesson from the pros at Aperitivo should help. This crash course guides newbies through constructing heavenly platters to satisfy and impress.

Make Cheese Boards Like a Pro
Aperitivo
435 Ionia Ave. SE, Grand Rapids
Nov. 14, $66
aperitivogr.com

Shop

Ah yes! The vintage 2013 Ulysses cab sauv from Napa: lush, violet, lilac. The Craft Connoisseur will share if you’ll listen to their pontifications on terroir for an hour. When the bottle runs dry, restock at Leon & Son Wine and Spirits, a wine shop specializing in independent, inspired producers. They keep a cutting-edge selection of forward-thinking styles, filling a natural wine and pét-nat gap the city’s been missing. Here, the Craft Connoisseur could find a wine for every occasion.

Leon & Son Wine and Spirits
972 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids
leonandsonwine.com

Eat

Rise Authentic Baking Co. bakes experiments disguised as pastry. By some force of nature, they’ve figured out how to make a doughnut without gluten taste good. This scratches the Craft Connoisseur’s conceptual itch while indulging their sweet tooth. All that could improve the situation is a nice place to sit and cup of java for dunking — oh wait! Rise has both in spades at their location on Fulton Street.

Rise Authentic Baking Co.
1220 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids
riseauthenticbaking.com

While some view the cup of joe as a means for caffeine, the Craft Connoisseur sees things differently. If it’s not shade-grown, traded fairly and rich with complexity, it ain’t up to snuff. This month, Ferris Coffee hosts an event dissecting the flavor profiles of single-origin brands. It gives the Craft Connoisseur a chance to prove their smarts, finally solving the mysteries of tasting notes on the back of coffee bags. 

Coffee: Taste + Origin
Ferris Coffee & Nut
839 Seward Ave. NW, Grand Rapids
Nov. 16, $8-$10
facebook.com/ferris1924

Listen

Grand Rapids electronic duo Pink Sky makes music best suited for a pair of audiophile headphones. Layers of synth and drum patterns organically emerge and envelop — the
auditory equivalent of a five-course tasting menu. The Craft Connoisseur can get down with that. Pink Sky’s new album, Meditations, is tasteful yet alien, with enough bump to get the body shaking. It would make the perfect companion to a dinner party on Pluto. 

Pink Sky’s Meditations
pinkskymusic.com

Drink

Skip the theater and marvel at the physical display that is a bartender rattling a Boston shaker until he’s blue in the face. Like the alchemy of diamond from coal, there’s beauty in watching liquors transform into something elegant in front of you. Sidebar’s cocktails are art the Craft Connoisseur can admire and consume. Which isn’t even to mention the ambiance: low-lit, cozy, often with some burning herb swinging — the whole thing is a neural assault of pleasure. Drinks and a show.

Sidebar
80 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids
sidebargr.com

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