Welcome to Mythical Kitchen Picks, the series in which the culinary experts from Mythical Kitchen tell you all about their favorite foods and ingredients—and food gifts! We asked the team of Kitcheneers for their favorite edible and potable presents. If you’re in need of a last-minute gift, you’ve come to the right place. Today, the Mythical Chef himself, Josh Scherer, is recommending the best box of regional cured meats and treats from Pennsylvania to give the meat lover in your life
Josh’s Pick: The Stoltzfus Meats Lancaster County Sampler Gift Box
If there’s anything I love in this world more than hyper-regional cured meats, it’s gift boxes. And, thanks to Stoltzfus Meats in Intercourse, PA (heck yeah, that’s the actual name of the town), you can enjoy both. The Lancaster County Sampler ($89.99) comes with Hammond pretzels, ring bologna, kielbasa, sweet and hot mustard, cream cheese spread, sweet bologna, and a shoofly pie.
For those of you whose family isn’t from Eastern Pennsylvania (go Birds, baby!), shoofly pie is the crown jewel of Amish Country cuisine. It’s a dense, holy mixture of molasses, sugar, butter, and flour that gets mashed together into a pastry crust and the only way to describe the flavor is “dark.” It tastes so, so dark. Just as the dense Pennsylvania forests shade the ground soil from light, so too is this pie shaded from light. My nana used to send us a shoofly pie every holiday season, and as an ignorant child, I didn’t appreciate the unique texture and flavor. But I picked up a shoofly pie from a gas station pie stand when I went back to visit family in Allentown recently, and, perhaps it’s the wisdom of age that makes you crave the food of your ancestors, but hot damn it was such a delight.
We haven’t even talked about sweet bologna! Here’s the thing: It’s bologna, except it’s sweet. It exists in the cross section—the Intercourse, if you will—of candy and meat, and that’s one Intercourse I want to have more of! It has a coarser grind on it than most bologna you’ve had, and it also goes by the name Lebanon bologna, named after Lebanon County, PA, which has deep Pennsylvania Dutch roots.
Even if you have no familiarity with Amish, Pennsylvania Dutch, or Philadelphia Eagles fan culture, I’d urge you to try this gift basket. It’s a taste of a subsect of American culture that developed from unique roots and has created some truly unique foods. And beyond that, let’s just freakin’ bring gift baskets back, dude! There’s nothing more exciting than getting a gift basket full of little trinket foods. Give the gift of excitement this holiday season.
Buy from Stolzfus Meats