Buccan Palm Beach cookies, Mexican tamales, food fest

Garrett Gardner

Let’s say hello to December and its tasty promises, from cookies to tamales. Here are a half-dozen bites and events I’m looking forward to during the most festive month of the year.

Cookies by Clay Conley

The Buccan Palm Beach chef, whose eclectic small plates revolutionized the island’s dining scene, makes a mean chocolate chip cookie. If you’ve ordered one from Buccan’s midday Sandwich Shop, you may understand my cookie craving.

Now you can order those Palm Beach-famous jumbo cookies online via same-day shipping. They’re individually wrapped and boxed in a nifty Buccan-branded box that proclaims, “Fresh from Palm Beach.” 

The scratch-made cookies are sold by the dozen ($84.95 plus tax) or half-dozen ($48.95 plus tax). They’re shipped out nationally for free on the same day they’re ordered.

All orders, local and national, are accepted at BuccanCookies.com.

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Christmas tamales by Aurora

Chef Aurora Garcia Ramos' mole chicken tamales are the best-selling menu item at her Delray Beach GreenMarket stand. She also offers vegan, pork and jalapeño-cheese tamales.

What makes Aurora García Ramos’ Mexican tamales so special is that she makes them in the old-school tradition she learned from her grandmother in their native town of Tehuitzingo in Puebla state. In fact, she still has her grandmother’s vintage metate mealing stone for grinding alkalized corn.

The tamales are delicious because they’re not over-seasoned. You can taste the beautiful corn and the four, lovingly made fillings: pork, chicken, cheese or vegan veggie.

Aurora sells them at her Delray Beach GreenMarket stand on Saturdays. She’ll be at the market through Dec. 17. After that, she’s taking tamal orders on her Aurora’s Mexican Kitchen Facebook page.

Immokalee hot sauce (and more) 

Taste of Immokalee's Bonfire Cookout bundle includes hot sauces, barbecue sauces and a branded apron.

Because we’ll need hot sauce for those Christmas tamales, how about sauce that’s made and bottled in Florida? The young entrepreneurs at Taste of Immokalee, a nonprofit that teaches business skills to the children of Immokalee’s farmworker community, sell their own branded line of hot sauces, salsas and barbecue sauces online.

A bottle of Taste of Immokalee habanero hot sauce ($3.99) ought to do for a large batch of tamales or tacos. But it’s hard to resist the brand’s gift bundles, like the Bonfire Cookout ($50), which includes the habanero sauce as well as serrano hot sauce, chipotle barbecue sauce, Mandarin tangerine barbecue sauce and a customized apron. 

This year, the Taste of Immokalee team has added other Florida-made products to their bundles. You’ll find cookies by Fort Myers chocolatier Norman Love, roasted coffee by Cape Coral’s Java D’Oro, gluten-free treats by Immokalee’s Epiphany Bakery, honey by Winter Park Honey and other local treats. 

Orders are accepted online at TasteofImmokalee.com.

Andy’s Venezuelan holiday plate

Venezuelan holiday offerings at Andy's Latin Food in Palm Beach Gardens include hallacas (tamales), sweet ham bread and chicken-potato salad.

The hallacas (Venezuelan tamales) looked so tasty on Andy’s Latin Food’s Instagram site, I decided I couldn’t wait until December. I tasted them before Thanksgiving.

Andres and Patricia Villalobos, who named their Palm Beach Gardens eatery after their beautiful boxer Andy, make the corn hallacas in the style of their native Maracaibo, Venezuela. They stuff the gluten-free corn dough with stewed chicken, olives, raisins, chickpeas, potatoes and aromatics, and wrap them in plantain leaves before boiling them. The result is an hallaca with a savory-sweet middle, scented by the plantain leaf. 

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