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November 07, 2013 - Image 36

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-11-07

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>> gift guide


Local businesses make it easy
to bring out your inner artiste.

Lynne Konstantin


Contributing Writer



ave a friend interested in sharpening his culi-
nary skills? Or an art lover who's never tried
her hand with a brush? These local businesses
make it easy to grab a friend (or five) and take a class
in something you've never tried, something you want
to improve — or something that might just be fun for
a night. Buy a gift certificate for you both to create a
Chanukah play date or craft a present that's truly from
the heart.

When one visitor walked into Pot & Box's studio, she
exclaimed, "It's like walking into Pinterest!"
Since opening in Ann Arbor six years ago, Pot & Box
flower, floral-design and horticultural-decor shop has
earned national accolades — and gushing exclamations
— for its lush creations. With a pop-up shop in Detroit's
D:Hive and a permanent Corktown home in the works,
Pot & Box takes pride in sourcing seasonal, fresh blooms
grown locally in its own cutting garden or on nearby
Michigan farms whenever possible.
Taking inspiration from "uncommon textures and
shapes and shades between the primary colors:' says
owner Lisa Waud, Pot & Box has an aesthetic and pride
in detail that draws fans and photographers near and far.
Which is why Waud teamed up with three indepen-
dent floral designers to create Bloom, an opportunity
for those with green-thumb envy to participate in floral-
design group workshops and private classes and parties.
From Floral Design 101, to Art of the Compote: Fall
Fruits, Foliages and Flowers, to Summer Pitchers, tak-
ing advantage of lush summer flowers like parrot tulips,
veronica, hydrangeas, peonies and more, each class
features designer-quality blooms and foliage, and each
florist brings her own unique perspective and style.
Bloom Florist Collective, Ann Arbor (734-368-2130;
bloomfloristcollective.corn). Classes start at $85.


November 7 • 2013

A cooking class at Mirepoix is more
than just taking notes.
That's because its parent shop,
Holiday Market in Royal Oak, is
more than just a grocery store.
It's a philosophy — its mission is to
educate, but to enjoy while learning.
Since Tom and Janet Violante opened
their small butcher shop almost 60
years ago, it has grown to a specialty
grocery store that allows the family
to share their passion for fantastic
artisanal cheese, perfect cuts of meat,
fresh seafood, imported wines, fresh-
baked breads and spectacular cus-
tomer service with Metro Detroit.
So it was only natural that the
Violantes' son, Tom Jr., should take
educating the customer to the next
level: Five years ago, he opened an
on-site cooking school and entertain-
ing space called Mirepoix, French for
carrots, celery and onions — the base for stock.
A class at Mirepoix is a "fun night out with instruction:' says Eric Blotkamp, the
school's director. Each four-hour class focuses on techniques, rather than recipe
"Rather than teaching a specific vinaigrette for a certain kind of salad, our goal
is to teach a general vinaigrette so that students can go home, play with ingredi-
ents with confidence and make any kind of vinaigrette they want:' says Blotkamp.
"A recipe is a guideline, and we encourage people to make changes:'
Although classes are designed for the novice, each hands-on class may have
10 people at 10 different skill levels, so it can be customized to each participant's
needs and desires. From Knife Skills (where students learn their way around
the most important cooking tools by chopping various vegetables to make a
soup, or processing an entire chicken to end in chicken tacos) to specific dietary
needs (including a gluten-free series and low-sodium classes to vegetarian meals
as requested by guests) to autumn soups and stews and Italian comfort food,
Mirepoix offers an opportunity to learn, create, have fun and enjoy the creation
while you're there.
In addition to scheduled classes, Mirepoix also offers Date Night, wine tastings
(paired with food stations to complement the wines) and allows guests to create
their own classes, schedule cooking parties and duels (groups are split into teams
and guest judges are brought in).
Mirepoix, the Holiday Market Cooking School, Royal Oak (248-543-4390;
mirepoixcookingschool.com). Classes start at $69.99.

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