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SWEET! A mention in the Washington Post about that great Camprianese red wine! Come grab a bottle or two! http://ow.ly/5xX7Q

The original article. http://ow.ly/3RoTY

Well, this seems to be the winter to remember!  A historic December snow storm left a whopping 17 inches here in Easton and this weekend, Superbowl weekend no less, we got blasted again!  I measured about 18 or 19 inches of total snowfall here in Easton.  This makes last weekend’s storm seem like a drop in the bucket.  Personally, I don’t mind the snow, but as a business owner I hate it.  The bad weather has resulted in worse than usual sales during our slow season.  It’s beginning to feel like it only ever snows on the weekend!  I have to tighten our ordering and  scheduling to compensate for the decreased cash flow.  So please forgive me if we are out of your favorite obscure pasta shape.  It will return in due time, just like warm weather and sunny days.

This IS organized

Sometimes when I am upstairs at the desk a customer will try to open the door next to my desk because they are looking for the bathroom. The door is not marked and we keep it locked because it is really not for customers. The bathroom is downstairs.  You may be curious about what is behind that door. Well, until last Monday it was not that exciting. Embarassing, even. It is a storage closet.  Now it is a wonder of organization!  A week ago Sandy, Steph and I put together five sets of beautiful steel shelves.  Where there once was an annoying pallet there is now a designated shelf for our 50 # bags of flour, sugar, chocolate chips, extra tote bags, plastic containers and light bulbs. Christmas has come early to Piazza! We are all so so thrilled that we can walk inside that space instead of tripping.

One of our customers pulled up to our store on his 1983 Moto Guzzi motorcycle and we were all very impressed.

Che bello!

Che bello!

Moto Guzzi is owned by Piaggio which also owns the Vespa and Aprilia brands.  Piaggio is based in Tuscany but its motorini are dominant in every region of Italy.

If you have a Moto Guzzi motorcycle or an Aprilia or a Vespa moto, please ride it to the store!  I will take your picture and put it online.  If you have a Moto Guzzi and haven’t heard, there is a club in Maryland that meets at the Ingrams Diner in Jefferson, MD.  Contact Rep Bill Sharp, 410-551-6939 or check this website for more information.

This Tuesday I was flown out to Cleveland to attend EuroUSA’s food show.  EuroUSA is one of my food distributors out here in Easton, even though their local office is in Sterling, Virginia.  I guess that EuroUSA racks up airline miles transporting their fresh fish and that was how I was able to be on an airplane from BWI with 13 other people serviced from the Sterling office.  The Euro show was fun, I got to meet other people who buy the same products that I do; the cheese buyer for Dean & Deluca in Georgetown, the deli buyer for Arrowine, the owner of the Atwater cafes in Maryland, the owner of a natural food store that has been open for 5 months, a buyer for Balducci’s, and the food buyer for the Curious Grape in Shirlington, Virginia, Massimo Fabbri the executive chef at Tosca and Mateo Venini the chef at Posto (both are in DC).  In Brooklyn, I knew many of the local buyers and chefs because they would shop at the Bedford Cheese Shop but in Easton I don’t get many visitors who run stores like mine so that was a treat. 

Let’s get down to it, I had some good food at this show.  I was able to try foods that I have seen on the product list but have not ordered, anchovies with chili flakes, salami from Colombus, pate from Fra’ Mani, a young artisanal Asiago, new tortas from Ines Rosales (which you will certainly see soon), rolls from Tribeca Ovens, goat milk butter, and truffle salami from Creminelli.  I discovered that EuroUSA is selling great Italian wines in Ohio and they are working on their Maryland liquor lisence.  I guess I should have given you the live update via twitter, but I’m old fashionedd and I made you all wait for the blog post.

Last weekend I went up to New York to the Fancy Food Show, it’s a big deal in the food world, there are thousands of companies represented and thousands more who attend.  It is an especially good trade show for us at Piazza because after Americans, Italian companies reserve the most booths.   After a walk through the Italian section you forget that you’re in the US!

There is a price to pay for going to this kind of show, tired feet and a stomach ache.  You can’t take samples off the premises, I think I must have tasted about 40 cheeses in one day!  I tried four buffalo milk cheeses from Lombardia; one was soft like a brie, another was a cacaocavallo, big and almost floral in flavor.  I tried a sheep’s milk cheese from Lazio that is coagulated with thistle flowers, a little goat cheese from Vermont, a cow’s milk cheese from the Veneto that is aged in hay, chamomile and mint and many more.  A new thing was spreadable cheeses from Italy, a spreadable parmesan cheese with truffles, and another made with sheep’s milk.  I tried a wonderful pecorino from Calabria that I bought the next day at the supplier’s warehouse because we liked it that much.

Another instant purchase was Porchetta, a juicy rolled ham that includes dark and white meat and a little crispy skin, we tasted it hot from the oven and couldn’t resist.

porchetta

porchetta

This past weekend I used some on homemade pizza and at the store it is a sandwich special today with provolone and onion jam.  I also tried some Lemon Honey from Sicily which was perfect with fresh apples (the case just arrived at the store) but would probably be even better with grilled peaches!

I stopped by the booth of Gustiamo, where I had some wonderful samples of cookies that you should look out for soon.  I also tasted some of their super-aged balsamic vinegar with strawberries, which was awesome.  The samples were just flowing like water!  I  said hello to Ali at Italian Products where I met one of the owners of Mirabassi, the Sienese company that specializes in Panforte.  We are getting their fig and walnut panforte for Christmas.

We saw Lee Green from the Scrumptious Pantry who hosted a very fun tasting with us last week (more on this to come).  I also found out that Creminelli will be making wild boar salami by special order for Christmas!!!  There weren’t any available samples but, if I know Creminelli the salami will be nothing short of fantastic.  Can’t wait.

Did I mention that I tried about as many olive oils as cheeses?  Yeah, I had lots of olive oil, sipped straight from little cups.  One from il Mulino was especially notable, I am working on buying it from a company in Florida.  The show was fun but it meant that Iwasn’t in the mood for any kind of real dinner afterwards.  Luckily I was invited to go to a tasting party at a very beautiful enoteca in Greenwich village (during the Gay Pride parade but that’s another story).  We were invited by the Manicaretti importers to have some wine and little snacks created using their products and fresh produce from the Greenmarket.  We had:

Olives with orange oil and lemon olive oils

Pecorino Toscano with Cogna, Gorgonzola with orange marmalade, Parmigiano with 30 balsamic vinegar

Crostini with ricotta and asparagus pesto

Crostini with olive spread, orange zest and Calabrian oregano

Crostini with butter, anchovies and Caravaglio capers in oil

A nice faro salad with tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers

Plus a prosecco with wild blueberry jam stirred in

It was not all good news at the show, there were some empty booths which I’ve never seen before, and we learned of some bad news.  Caffarel chocolates are not available in the US at this time.  I’m sure that someone will pick up the account in the future and next year the booths will probably be full again!

At the Gustiamo booth

At the Gustiamo booth

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