Market in Orlando with Menu

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    It's the season for giving, and edible gifts are always welcome. Where to go for the goods? One new place is Hot Olives Market, a classy depot attached to the eponymous restaurant in Winter Park. In August the owners of Hot Olives brought in colleagues from their catering past to run the attached market (which offers catering). Steven Poyner and Chris Kenyon purchase all the merchandise and are on hand to answer questions and take requests. The market features a private label of sauces, preserves and condiments, and they stock artisanal and gourmet specialties. Plus, they throw together tasty takeout meals – the barbecue brisket and Hot Olive salad are delicious.

    The room is bright and stylish with Tuscan pottery, olive wood beams and stainless steel shelves. I sampled a few choice items after wandering around the small space. My favorite was the handmade sopressata ($28 per pound) that I snatched out of the refrigerator case. When I cut into the cured meat at home, the aroma of tenderly aged pork and a bouquet of spices, particularly paprika, extended across the room.

    From the prepared sauces, I tried walnut artichoke pomodoro sauce ($7). For a pre-made sauce, it was of exceptional quality. Mellow undertones of the nuts married with a pleasing bitter thistle-y flavor, which complemented the acidic tang of plum tomatoes. The signature sauces come packaged in clever gift bundles: Italian pastas are piled into a stainless-steel colander with the sauces and tied with ribbon. Holidays or not, this is a spot to indulge in something out of the ordinary – for others and for yourself.

    Between the options to eat in or take out, there's the Olive Branch (314 Hannibal Square, 407-629-1029), directly across the street from Hot Olives (463 W. New England Ave., 407-629-1030), a settled-in spot known for the casual nosh or two. And now we have the cutely named offshoot, where those noshes are available to take home. They do things differently in Winter Park.

    "They make everything across the street and bring it over," I was told at the counter, a glass case brimming with dense meat loaf, salmon with cous cous and chocolate-chip cheesecakes.

    "They make everything across the street and bring it over," I was told at the counter, a glass case brimming with dense meat loaf, salmon with cous cous and chocolate-chip cheesecakes.

    Prices might seem high -- $12 for a whole chicken lasagna -- but the paper-thin sheets of pasta covering layers of shredded chicken, mushrooms and mild tomato sauce weighs in at almost three pounds, and you can always tell folks it's your recipe. I promise I won't say a word.

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