Here are 16 creative and delicious local CT gifts for the food lover in your life.
Entries in Specialty Market (109)
Not another grocery store… Not something else to create more congestion to our already congested Post Road… These were my thoughts when I heard that yet another grocery store was coming to town.
At the back of the old post office on the Post Road in Fairfield, just behind Plan b, is a unique grocery store concept that will have you rethink the way you shop. bfresh (no affiliation with either Plan b or b.good) officially and quietly opened its doors on Wednesday, October 21st - the official grand opening will take place on November 6th.
As I walked through the front doors I could feel an immediatel difference. The store is small by today’s standards. At just 8,600 square feet, it feels larger, much larger thanks to the lofty ceilings. Picture, if you will, The Pantry meets Whole Foods with a small-town grocery store vibe of days past.
Directly in front you’ll notice a beautiful array of produce - over 500 items - many of which are organic and locally grown.
It started well over 10 years ago in Boston. Two boyhood friends and a dream – a dream to open a restaurant featuring healthy, wholesome food. The company’s founders, Jon and Anthony grew up eating nutritious food from Anthony’s Uncle Faris’s kitchen. When the two friends went off to college they over indulged on fast food. While they loved this way of eating, they hated how it made them look and feel. And so the two decided to open a business together based on the simple premise that they would offer people “fast” food by making it “real” – Food “made by people, not factories.” As they embarked on this journey, they heeded Uncle Faris’ other pieces of advice: “Take it easy, Live life, and most of all ‘be good.’” And with this b.good was born.
With many successful restaurants already established in New England, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Toronto, Canada, the newest location has just opened in my town of Fairfield. (Greenwich will also open its door shortly.)
As children, we’re instructed not to eat with our hands. But at Teff, a newly opened Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurant in Stamford, CT, you’re supposed to do just that.
On the brink of Harborview and a stone’s throw away from downtown, Teff’s location is ideal. It sits in the space that formerly housed the Red Sea Deli. The Mekonen family owned the deli for 14 years. Although they mainly served classic American fare there, they offered Ethiopian food from Thursday-Saturday.
“We had good reception, people wanted it, but it was time consuming,” says Elsa Mekonen, Teff’s operations manager. “We thought it would be good to have a full time Ethiopian restaurant.”
The concept led to the creation of Teff, which officially opened for business on July 30.
Hadas Mekonen, matriarch and chef, grew up in Eritrea, a small country that used to be part of Ethiopia. She was the third oldest in a family of 16, so learning how to cook was essential to help provide for the family. At age 9 she started observing how her mother browned and prepared the spices. From there, she learned how to cook entire dishes.
If there is one sound that can make you think of a hot summer day, it is the clink of ice in a big, tall glass. Ka-chink, clink, clink. Does a fizzy sound follow on the heels of those ka-chinks? Is there a ker-plop of a citrus wedge tumbling into that cool pool of refreshing, fizzy goodness? Ahhhh...and this is the sound that follows all of those...Ahhhh. Hello, icy cold craft beer, hello tart and tingly gin and tonic, hello creamy pina. It’s so nice to see you again.
To make you overflow with summer lovin’, we have found spirit shops around the state that will put the ka-chink-clink-clink in your future...
Craft Butchery has some very big news. This exclusively pastured, whole animal butchery is expanding their business, their product lines (including catering), and will soon open their doors for dinner service at the Westport location. Also, look out for a new Craft Butchery in Greenwich opening this summer.
CTbites sat down with Ryan Fibiger, owner of Craft Butchery to get the full scoop.
This rapid expansion, Ryan explained, “has actually been in the works for some time.” Craft knew they needed to grow to meet demand, but wanted to do so while maintaining their strict philosophy on sourcing and butchering. Fibiger said “We wanted to grow the business, but butchering is a labor intensive process that requires space and talent. It’s hard to replicate.” To speed things along, this old school, full-service, whole animal butchery made the wise decision to merge with Fleisher’s Grass-fed and Organic Meats in Brooklyn (Ryan’s stomping ground where he learned his trade). As part of this merger, Craft is now the proud owner of Fleisher’s 6,500 square foot processing facility and commissary in Red Hook, enabling Craft to grow all areas of their current business, including Catering, to-go retail offerings, and most importantly, their ability to break down animals on a larger scale. They also have a new name: Fleisher's Craft Butchery.
Fairfield has worked its way up the food chain, offering all sorts of great dining opportunities for those with even the most discerning palates. With all the new restaurant openings, there was one thing that was lacking in the town’s culinary offerings; a really good health-food based option. Until now - enter Freshii.
Sandwiched in between The Fairfield University Bookstore and Chef’s Table is Freshii, recently opened by owner Jonathan Blob who also owns the Westport location. Although word had not yet really gotten out, the restaurant was bustling the two times I went in, first to check it out, then when I returned to chat with Blob.
The store, long and narrow, airy and bright, evokes a fresh, healthy attitude. Bright green, leaf-colored chairs are neatly lined up against the long counter space on one wall just below a large mirror reflecting the words...EAT. ENERGIZE. from the opposing wall. The light woods and grass-like covered wall lend themselves perfectly to an eatery of this type. A large menu board lists many and varied options. There are choices for breakfast, smoothies, juices, salads, wraps, bowls, soups and burritos.
Laura Downey and Chris Palumbo, co-owners of Fairfield Cheese Company, will open Greenwich Cheese Company at 154 East Putnam Avenue in the Cos Cob section of Greenwich, CT, December 11, 2014.
Building on the success of Laura and Chris’ popular Fairfield Cheese Company, which opened in 2009, the new location will carry on the tradition of offering the area’s best selection of cut-to-order from larger wheels, artisanal and farmstead cheese from around the world and artisanal cheeses from here in the US, in addition to an array of small batch handmade charcuterie and specialty food accompaniments.
Laura and Chris take their craft seriously and are both the only retail owners in Connecticut to be American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professionals (ACS CCP), a certification that only a few hundred people have nationwide. Adding to the talented team is Greenwich store manager Kevin DeFreitas who brings 15 years of cheesemongering experience to this new endeavor and has worked with such industry pros as Ken Skovron from the Darien Cheese Shop.
Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.-H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Gift giving-choosing a gift for another person that is resonant of their personality and interests-is a true art. How do we know this? We know this by the sheer number of Yankee Swap and White Elephant parties that we have all attended. You thought those salt and pepper shakers in the shape of ugly, primitive holiday carolers would be perfect for me...um, why? And thus, yet another odd gift enters the rotation of passed-along, re-gifted gifts. On the flip-side, we all hopefully have experienced the joy that comes when we do find that perfect gift. The thrill of watching the unwrapping and the smiles that follow! This holiday season, we would like to help you in your pursuit of That Perfect One....
We bring you the CTbites 2014 CT Food Lovers Gift Guide. Start shopping!
We are in the midst of a craft food and beverage movement. Craft cocktails, craft beer, craft butchers, so why not craft juice? The New Haven-based FreshBev Craft Juicery, best known by its RIPE bar juice and Project Fresh product lines, is seeking to define the craft juice movement, one cold-pressed bottle of fresh vegetables and fruits at a time.
I had the opportunity to visit the New Haven factory (read: I was nosy and curious, so I invited myself over) to meet the folks behind the juice, taste some juice, and was excited to find a Connecticut business succeeding in the emerging and highly competitive juice market. First a little history. In 2008, frustrated by the abundance of preservative-laden shelf-stable cocktail mixers, founders Michel Boissy and Ryan Guimond took to their kitchen to create a natural and fresh juice for cocktails, beginning with everyone’s favorite cocktail staple, the margarita.