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.

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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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This week I am featured on the Gustiamo blog!  I had a nice conversation with Beatrice earlier this week about everything from my great-grandparents to private labeling.  You can read the announcement here.

 

I was also featured in the Sunday business section of the Star-Democrat, Easton’s local paper.  Here is the link, but you must register with the website to read the whole article for right now.  We are working on posting it to our website.

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No, today wasn’t the big day, I was too busy yesterday to write a blog post!  We opened our doors on Tuesday and today we began selling deli items.  The delay on the weighed stuff was due to the fact that programming the scales and coordinating them with the POS computer was even harder than it sounds.  Last night I finally got one scale to work but the “back-up” scale is not formatting correctly.  I think.  Even though I transferred the same information to both scales, one understood and one did not.  That’s why it’s good to have a back-up.  

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It took all weekend to stock the shelves and enter each item into the POS system.   DJ, the assistant manager, my mom and dad, Hiram, and I were here Saturday, all day Sunday, and Monday afternoon until very late.  By Tuesday morning everything was put away and people began wandering in.  The store next to us was having a sale so it gave us a lot of exposure and foot traffic.  Everyone seemed excited by the store and many had already known we were here.  Others asked when we had opened, thinking that they haven’t been in the Talbot Town shopping center lately, and we were proud to answer that we had only been open for a few hours!

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I am still waiting on the light for our bread case, the wiring is there but the light hasn’t been installed.  It hasn’t stopped us from using it!  We have bread!  I love this bread cabinet, the shelves allow the crumbs to fall down to the bottom of the cabinet for easy cleaning and the dowels are unvarnished so hot pans or bread can be directly placed on the shelves!  When we were designing the store I asked for a dry case to be made, I wanted to model it after the one at Marlow & Sons.

Here is theirs, it’s a little different:

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Now please come visit us, we are open for business and we are taking suggestions.

Last week I went to New York to pick up our first order of food for the store!  I received some great things and here are some pictures to whet your appetite:

chickpea flour

(and here is a classic Ligurian snack made with farina di ceci)

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a very green, grassy Tuscan olive oil from a famous vineyard

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porcini oil

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whole farro, an ancient grain and staple for the Roman legions

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stracci toscani pasta (tuscan rags)

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