This past weekend I had the honor of outfitting a home in Easton with the finest groceries so that the kitchen would not look naked on the Talbot County Kitchen & Garden Tour.  Mrs. Schoeb asked me to make a display that would imply that she was hosting a dinner party.  I think that we did a nice job but the real work was done by the Schoebs who talked up the store all day.

On view were wines, dessert wine, all kinds of cookies, coffee, dried beans, peppers, olives, pasta, cheese, salami, crackers, rice, books, olive oils, vinegars, fennel pollen, espresso cups, our plastic cow…  just a little bit of everything!!


This past Friday my family went to meet Lidia Bastianich in Virginia!  She is on tour promoting her new book, Lidia Cooks From the Heart of Italy.  Unlike the Sarah Palin book tour, we did not have to camp out the night before but we did have to wait in a line for an hour.  Lidia looked great and it was really fun.  I brought a Piazza canvas bag for her, filled with some of our more unusual items; pistachio paste, tropea onion spread, and a Scrumptious Pantry cantuccione among other things.  She was happy to take the bag and since she was traveling with her assistant, book rep, and the executive chef of her Kansas City restaurant I’m sure those provisions won’t last long.  Her new book is great, it is all about the foods of lesser known regions of Italy, Liguria, Val d’Aosta, Lombardia, Trentino-Alto Adige, Molise, etc.  At this time of year, I am thrilled to find good recipes for celery root and she has two!  I was also very glad to find a ‘white bolognese’ sauce in the Emilia-Romagna section.  I don’t know exactly when but about eight years ago the New York Times Sunday magazine printed a similar recipe that my mom made.  I think of it often.  Another great find is a recipe for Cima alla Genovese, something that I seen but haven’t been able to try.  I saw slices of it in Torino at a shop called Baita Formaggio.  It is a boiled veal roast stuffed with vegetables and hard boiled eggs.  She says that hers is the home-version, I imagine the deli version I saw might be made from ground meat more like mortadella.  I didn’t think to ask her! 

Woohoo!  The Scrumptious Pantry was featured by Fancy Food Magazine‘s blog as an editor’s choice.  I am proud to represent such a notable company.  Lee and I are also working on gift baskets that feature the artisans she represents.  More to come of gift baskets soon!

wine office We will be working for wine from here on out (everyone except Hudson or Alex).

We did it, we have been approved to sell beer, wine and liquor for consumption off-premises.  That means no glasses of wine with your lunch and no bottles upstairs.

It does mean that we are having our first wine tasting this Saturday from 2-4 pm!!  We will be trying three wines (not sure which ones yet) and two cheeses!  Very exciting.

A few customers have expressed concern about where the wine will physically fit in the store.  Don’t worry!  The layout of the store is like a puzzle, I will contract and relocate other things to find space for the wine.  The wine is not going to take over the store, we are a deli that will now carry wine.

I also want to mention that at the liquor board meeting two hearings preceeded ours and both were for violations.  DJ and I watched two local stores receive fines and suspensions for selling alcohol to the same underage cadet.  Most importantly, we got a look at the cadet!  He is two months shy of 21, at least 6 feet tall, clean cut andfairly responsisble looking.  But the law is the law and both stores sold him beer, one even LOOKED at his vertical (indicates that he is under 21) license and STILL sold him the beers.  The board was not happy that the cashier who made the mistake is still working at the store.  If you don’t ask if your customer is 21 you can expect a $600 fine and a two week suspension of your license!  You can ask to pick which two weeks to serve your sentence but the board will ultimately punish you when they please.  One of the store managers tried to pick her two weeks.  I thought that was a little bold…

To avoid any confusion and violations of our own three of our employees shuffled off yesterday to a Techniques of Alcohol Management class.  Currently 5 of the 7 employees are TAM certified and at least one will be on premises during operating hours.


Last Friday we hosted a tasting with chef Andrew Evans who makes all of our fantastic prepared foods.  Andrew showed us all how San Marzano tomatoes are less acidic than regular plum tomatoes which means they are indispensable on weeknights.  In about 15 minutes he put together a pasta sauce made from San Marzano tomatoes, green and yellow squash, eggplant, red onions and garlic.  [Andrew had already let the eggplant soak in salt water for 30 minutes before rinsing it and adding it to the sauce.  He explained how this is a good way to evenly extract the bitterness without using too much salt.]

While the vegetables were softening, we tasted three kinds of salume: bresaola (beef), salami toscano and (not so) hot coppa and also three kinds of cheese: marinated feta (cow), pecorino pepato (sheep) and gran pascola (goat) with dried cherries, chestnut honey and cogna jam.  Chestnut honey seemed to be a favorite for pairing with cheeses and everyone liked the salami Toscano from Fra’ Mani.  

Everyone was in the spirit of things when the pasta was ready and by the time it was dusted with parmigiano we all dove in.  

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getting ready to toss the pasta with the sauce

getting ready to toss the pasta with the sauce


Last week the Campionate Mondiale di Pizza was held in Salsomaggiore, Italy.  Participants come from around the world, as pizza has become an internationally loved food, but the US team is a strong force!!  So is team Sicilia, pictured at the left.

There are several categories in which pizzaioli battle it out:


– Classic Pizza Dough
– Classic Pan Pizza
– Presentation
– Napoletan Style S.T.G.
– No gluten Pizza


– The fastest Pizza
– The Largest Pizza
– Free Style Pizza
– Acrobatic Team
and Special Award (I’m not sure what this one means)

acrobatic competition

acrobatic competition

The US team seems to take home the “fastest” and “largest” prizes, the Japanese focus on winning the “acrobatic” prizes and the Italians concentrate on the “traditional” and “Napoletan” prizes.

You really must see these guys in action, they are all amazing!!  The end of the video has some unbelievable acrobatics shots, at one point there are three guys spinning dough in unison like a step team!  Team USA has an excellent website, please check it out here.