Sun poured into the room where Richmond, John and I sat drinking an early evening libation. Having missed the Kentucky Derby and our yearly mint julep on the traditional Saturday, we had felt the need to make up for the loss on Sunday.
Richmond’s juleps are a perfect blend of sweetened mint, ice and Maker’s Mark; even a sometime drinker such as I finds they go down very easily. Several hours slipped by as we sipped and enjoyed ham-wrapped asparagus and a duo of cheeses John brought back the day before from the upper reaches of New England. One of them, a Fiddlehead Tomme from Boggy Meadow Farm in Walpole, NH, is an all time favorite with the three of us.
Twilight began to fall, and I found my thoughts turning towards dessert. “I need a cupcake,” I announced. “No you don’t,” replied John, but his efforts to distract me were ineffective, to say the least. After a few more minutes of my sighing, John remembered he had at home a Maine specialty known as a Needham.
As he described it, I wasn’t sure the mashed potato, confectioner’s sugar and coconut candy was exactly what I was looking for, but John knows he can usually count on us to try anything once! He ran down to his house and arrived back carrying the two and one half inch square chocolate coated goodie.
It wasn’t a cupcake, for sure, but I have to give it interesting. This particular Needham had mint flavoring, which added to the julep theme, but I think I might have liked to try the original plain coconut version. My reading on the internet confirms that Mainers are very proud of this confection, which dates back to the 1800’s, and makes good use of their other big product, potatoes. Evidently it’s a very popular homemade holiday candy, but mine was made by Maine Needhams in Ellsworth, Maine. I don’t want one every day, but I would be willing to try it again surrounded by snow, pine and twinkling lights.
Oh, and if you’re wondering where the name comes from, the story is it commemorates some long ago Maine preacher!