Authentic North African

This extraordinary hand-rolled M'hamsa couscous from Les Moulins Mahjoub in Tunisia should be a revelation to those who only know this Berber staple in its cheap boxed version. Unlike those instant industrial pasta specks, which so often turn mushy and bland, these irregular-shaped tiny beads of semolina pasta have a toothsome chew and distinct earthiness that comes from toasting in the North African sun on straw mats. It's sold plain at Di Bruno Bros.' Italian Market store, but is also available at the Rittenhouse location threaded with ribbons of sun-dried peppers that add an extra layer of soft, exotic spice. Limited supplies come and go swiftly, but it's well-worth the wait and the price.

- Craig LaBan
M'hamsa couscous, 1.1 pound jar, $7.99 at Di Bruno Bros., 930 S. Ninth St., 215-922-2876; 1730 Chestnut St., 215-665-9220.

For the little guy

This adorable place setting is child-sized


childproof. It's made of melamine, so it won't break if, er - when it gets tossed from the high chair. Made in Vietnam by Oots!, it is microwave and dishwasher safe. Also available in little girl pink.

- Maureen Fitzgerald
Children's place setting and utensils, $32, at Town Home, 126 S. 19th St. 215-972-5100.

Cheese of the Month

A four-pound square of Grayson most commonly evokes comparisons to Italy's Taleggio, with its orange rind and semi-soft, creamy interior. But this raw milk powerhouse from Meadow Creek Dairy in Galax, Va., is clearly a full-flavored original in America's growing galaxy of stellar domestic cheeses. And that's the reason this gem took a first prize from the American Cheese Society last year. Cheesemaker Helen Feete coaxes a taste from her grass-fed Jersey cows that is brawny and bold, with an almost beefy mushroom savor and a slight after-tingle of chive. Supplies of the 2008 vintage, said Feete, might last only until mid-April.

- Craig LaBan
Grayson cheese, $16.99 per pound at Whole Foods Markets.