When I began blogging, I promised myself that I would maintain an authentic, beautiful and interesting perspective for my reader. I would focus on fashion, but also topics that inspire me and things that are exceptional. Here is perfect example.
If you haven’t tasted the delicious products of Artisanal Pantry you should. My beautiful friend and local New Canaan mom, Stephanie Zaccario, started Artisanal Pantry just about the time I started blogging. We have been growing together. This past week, I decided to visit her and try some of the products she imports from Italy. After two hours of chatting and eating, we were only half way through the goodies she sells locally. Should we make this a monthly post? Let’s see how you respond to it!
Stephanie’s husband John loves to cook. He’s Italian after all! John likes to use seasonal and authentic ingredients and while traveling through Italy, they came upon wonderful, local and boutique farms that produced small batches of the most delicious tasting products. He encouraged his wife to become an importer and bring a little taste of Italy to our part of the world.
So what makes Artisanal Pantry so special? Well, here is their mission!
Artisanal Pantry became such a hit, it’s now sold in several stores in Fairfield County and recently all around New England. Locally, Walter Stewart Market in New Canaan as well as the Darien Cheese Shop in Darien carry their product as well as the towns Bedford, Pound Ridge, Wilton and Ridgefield. You might run into Stephanie doing a presentation at one of these locations. She is most charming and quite the entrepreneur.
Blogging about this proved to be more challenging than I had anticipated, because I honestly could not choose which products to feature. Each one is unique, carefully hand-selected and packaged. These are not commercial products. Imagine Alessandro, an aged and refined man, living and working on the olive farm that had been passed down to him for four generations at the tip of the boot of Italy, in Puglia. That may come off as a stereotype, but it is in fact the man behind the fabulous olive oil that Stephanie decided to import. There is a connection there, more than just about the extra virgin olive oil. You know the history, the love and care that was put into producing and importing it. That alone makes it taste better, but it is in fact a phenomenal olive oil…some of the best I’ve ever tasted.
With Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching and all the festivities that come along with it, I thought I’d share a few products that can be served as aperitifs and perhaps even desserts. I wanted to inspire a less traditional and more unique arrangement of your hors d’oeuvres for the dinner party.
Take for example this Ghiottoneria di Frutta Secca from Villa i Cipressi. The Ciacci Family produce honey in Val d’Orcia, just outside of Montalcino. It’s the most delicious honey surrounded by clusters of hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds. The flavor is so rich and sweet, you only need a little spoonful of it to drizzle on your sliced baguette. We also did a tasting paired with Parmesan cheese and it was to die for. The mix of sweet and savory complimented by glass of Prosecco is simple perfection. Did I mention dessert? Stephanie suggests to add a little dash of these clusters to a vanilla gelato.
Another typical Italian product and never to be missed from the family table, is of course, olive oil. But not Trader Joes’s olive oil, keep that one for cooking. Serve Masseria Maccarone DOP Colina Di Brindisi….whoa that’s a mouthful! But worthy of it! Alessandro Colucci’s, family has been making olive oil in Puglia since the 1700’s…..yeah that Alessandro. This EVOO is fragrant and so vividly green, it almost looks fake. It coats every single taste bud in your mouth creating such a sensation that all you want to do is keep dipping and eating.
We paired it with a 15 year old aged organic balsamic vinegar from La Vecchia Dispensa made by the Tintori-Pelloni family from Castelvetro near Modena. Having had four generations of experience, you can bet it is some of the most amazing balsamic vinegar you’ve ever tasted. And let’s face it, the majority of balsamic you find commercially is not really balsamic. The aroma of fruit and the sweetness of this thick and flavorful vinegar was exceptional. Sliced bread, dip in, take a bite and close your eyes, you might just see the valleys of Modena as you taste it. Try it drizzled over grilled vegetables or steak. Delicious even over vanilla gelato….I know a little out of the ordinary, but trust me, it’s good!
La Tartufata – Champignon Mushrooms and Truffle Sauce. Give me anything with truffles and I melt. The second Stephanie opened the jar, the scent of truffles filled the air. The ground champignons among the creamy sauce smeared on a thinly sliced rustic bread was just about the most amazing thing I’ve tasted. Apparently, added to pizza is absolutely divine too.
Lastly, but seriously not to be missed if you like tuna. ROI Red Peppers Stuffed with Tuna in EVOO featured below is produced by the Boeri Family with four generations of olive oil farming experience in the Valley Argentina region. These delectable bite size poppers are incredibly flavorful with a hint of spice. They are a perfect combination with a glass of Chianti.
Artisanal Pantry should be a staple in all our pantries. Supporting small family operated farms, your local shoppes and a woman entrepreneur are three reasons you should try these products. But the fact is that they are delicious! Thank you Stephanie for the fun time and for bringing a little taste of true Italian artisan staple to our part of the world.
I hope you have enjoyed my review of these products. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Send me your thoughts and reviews and include a picture, I’d love to feature them on the blog.
For information on these items and where you can purchase them near you, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org