LUNAR NEW YEAR AND VALENTINE’S DAY, YA GOTTA LOVE IT
Here comes that romantic holiday of hearts, flowers and chocolate. They should have mistletoe for this one as well. There are various outlets for purchasing the food of the gods.
Large manufacturers such as Russell Stover are available just about everywhere producing mass amounts of boxed chocolates. Those are the kind that people tend to either bite off a piece or stick their pinkies in the bottom in order to determine exactly what is in the center. You also have companies such as Godiva and Lindt with local shops. Oh right…Lindt bought up Russell Stover.
Unless you live near a company such as Hershey’s (who now owns Scharffenberger) obtaining chocolates that are made on the premises is less common. Here in Queens there are two “Mom and Pop” stores, Schmidt’s located on Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven and Aigner Chocolates located on Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills. Schmidt’s obtains there chocolate from Merckens , whereas Aigner uses a blend of Merckens and an Italian chocolate. The chocolate is melted, tempered and either molded or hand dipped. Chose a box, choose your chocolates.
If you want to impress by making your own, you have three candy supplies places in Queens all which provide Mercken’s wafers and everything else to create the love. However, these wafers are not considered to be “real” chocolate as vegetable oils are either added or replace the cocoa butter in order to melt easier and skip the tempering part. Fun Stuff is located on Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village, Meadows Chocolate and Cake Supplies on Liberty Avenue in Ozone Park and Drip Pour Drizzle on Crocheron Avenue in Auburndale.
Xin Nian Kuai Le (Sheen Nyan Kwai Luh) is Chinese for “Happy New Year” as we approach the Year of the Goat…or Wood Goat…or Sheep…or Ram. Lunar New Year, the most important East and South East Asian holiday, is the longest Asian holiday, celebrated for 15 days beginning this year on February 13. February 19 is the actual holiday when “Gong Hei Fat Choi”, basically wishing one “good luck”, is exchanged. The color of red represents “luck” with envelopes of cash and lanterns.
Flushing Town Hall will certainly be celebrating the Lunar New Year beginning on the February 14 with a Lunar Bazaar from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Expect performances, workshops, and food. This is a free event.
Meanwhile, the Sheraton Hotel on 39th Avenue in Downtown Flushing will be making their signature Lunar New Year cakes. It’s what you bring to families to share…much like when one brings bagels and lox or a deep dish of lasagna. You have to order them in advance as they take two days to prepare. Go to the 6th Floor temporary restaurant…a new one is coming up in a few months. Pastry Chef Lily offered three to choose from. If you are not sure how they taste there will be an opportunity to sample the cakes as the hotel is sponsoring a Lunar New Year Expo on February 14th and 15th from 10 am to 6 pm, open to the public.
Let’s add that Japan Week, a public-private partnership event.
Japanese culture and cuisine, is bringing back its annual program spotlighting unique features of Japanese culture and tourism. Delectable regional foods, technology exhibits, traditional arts and performances aim to inspire greater understanding of Japan. The festival will take place at Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall from Feb. 18-20
A Delta Air Lines sweepstakes that will offer 20 free round-trip
tickets to Japan’s Narita Airport from JFK in addition to sweepstakes offered online at japanweek.us.
A week of various cultural programs such as a performance from the Takafuji Dance Company, a tea ceremony with tea master Souheki Mori, and luxury wedding kimonos that will be modeled by a different New York couple each day.
The Depachika Food Emporium featuring sweets from nine regions across Japan and samples of authentic Japanese eats, including ramen noodles, mazemen noodles, miso soup, green tea, tofu, and takoyaki octopus balls.
A Sake Bar, curated by the Japan Sake and Sochu Makers Association, featuring sake from more than 15 breweries across Japan.
Exhibits by various Japanese organizations and brands, including NHK, Sun Noodle, Sharp and Sheiko.
This will take place at Grand Central Terminal, Vanderbilt Hall, 89 E. 42nd St. Wednesday, Feb.18, 11am to 8pm; Thursday, Feb.19, 10am to 8 pm; Friday, Feb.20, 10 am to 7 pm.