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Entries in Specialty Market (113)

Wednesday
May252016

The Uber-Guide to Connecticut’s Asian Markets

“From wonder into wonder existence opens,” said Laozi, the founder of Tao Buddhism.

He might have been speaking of the joys of the table, so central to Asian culture for millennia---and to Connecticut foodies today. 

Almost 160,000 people of Asian descent call Connecticut home, and a considerable number of grocery stores in the state support the diverse cooking traditions of China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. True to both their Asian roots and the universal principle of making the best of fresh ingredients, quite often the most modest such store will have a produce section and a fish section---in one case, at least, featuring live fish.

Your guide to the best East and Southeast Asian markets of Connecticut appears below.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
May222016

DiFiore Ravioli Shop: Three Generations of Italian Cooking, In Hartford & Rocky Hill

Most people look forward to taking it easy and traveling in their 60s. But at age 62, Andy and Louise DiFiore had a different retirement plan in mind. They opened DiFiore Ravioli Shop on Franklin Avenue, in Hartford’s Little Italy back in 1982.

Their son Don explains, “My parents were always the home gourmet types. Back in those days, they weren’t called foodies, but they had a lifelong love of food. My dad had been an executive in the office machine world almost his whole life in sales and marketing. And he was probably looking at this more as being a retirement thing for income. Just like a little boutique store. But they stayed with it. My dad would be in the store until he was in his late 80s. And my mom stayed in the store till she was 90. She’s 95 now.”

Then, about five years ago, Don’s father was in a nursing home and his mother was getting too old to run the store any longer. They were going to close it. Then Don’s eldest sister came back home from Chicago to help. “She threw the option at me—do you want to do something with it? Geez, I don’t know.”

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Wednesday
May112016

A New Era for Bethel’s Holbrook Farm

Founded by John and Lynn Holbrook, Holbrook Farm in Bethel has been family run and operated for the past 40 years. The farm is small by most people’s standards. Although it is situated on 12 acres only two are used for production. From these two acres yield an abundance of produce. While not certified organic, the land is clean of pesticides and herbicides, using plants that attract beneficial insects. Weeds have a special place in the ecological mix as well.

Last week I took a trip up to the farm to meet with Jess Wong, the new manager who gave me a tour of the property. Wong was brought on to manage the property and grow the farm to a new level of productivity. A Skidmore graduate, she dabbled in marketing for a while before realizing that she missed being outdoors and working with her hands. Wong started volunteering at the farm assisting the former manager, handling minor projects and social media

Last December John told her that he wanted to retire and asked if she would run the farm and the market. Wong was elated. She had big plans for the farm which included a new greenhouse and renovating the store. But greenhouses are expensive. Enter Tony Pham and Richard Reyes of Mecha Noodle Bar, and Mezon, and their new program, Eat Justice, a movement of restaurants on a mission to transform taste and tradition to pride and progress.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb092016

Liuzzi’s Gourmet Market In North Haven: A Well-Crafted Bridge to Italian Foodways

Anna Bendiksen is new to the CTbites team. Anna is a former scholar of Russian literature, and a food blogger over at threecoursesonaweeknight.blogspot.com or follow her on Twitter @anna_bendiksen

When Domenico “Dom” Liuzzi talks about artisanal cheesemaking, his eyes light up.

“Quality is what sets us apart from Stop and Shop,” he said in a recent conversation at Liuzzi’s Gourmet Market---not that anyone could mistake his store, which carries over 200 cheeses, for anything other than the Greater New Haven landmark it is.

The cascades of Italian speech in the air, the display cases featuring Liuzzi’s own house-made cheeses, the scent of cured hams and sausages hanging overhead, the attentive staff darting about---all combine to make Liuzzi’s a prime destination for foodies from Connecticut and beyond.

The cheeses for which the store is best known---the result of the family’s cheesemaking heritage stretching over a century---are its burrata (favored by Mario Batali), a caciocavallo (“cheese on horseback,” so named because it is strung in rope to drip dry), and two kinds of ricotta (whipped and large-curd).

Yet the cheese offerings at Liuzzi’s, located in North Haven, don’t stop with these house-made specialties. You’ll also find imported Grana Padano (a cheese similar to Parmesan that is favored by Italian children and a standby in Lidia Bastianich’s new cookbook Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine); Moliterno, a raw sheep’s-milk cheese exquisitely scented with black truffle paste; the best of American artisanal cheeses such as Humboldt Fog; and many more. 

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Nov292015

2015 CT Food Lover's Holiday Gift Guide

“At the end of the day, people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” said the incomparable Maya Angelou. Well, we couldn’t agree more! So this holiday season, we know that when you give some of these gifts  that we have found (along with a wide smile, a big hug and happy greetings!), the lucky recipients will surely be feeling the love. Happy them, happy you. Happy holidays, everyone! 

Here are 16 creative and delicious local CT gifts for the food lover in your life. 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Nov052015

bfresh Grocery Store Opens in Fairfield with Fresh New Shopping Experience

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.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Sep062015

B. Good Opens in Fairfield: Real Food...Fast

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.) 

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug112015

Teff Ethiopian & Eritrean Restaurant Opens in Stamford

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.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jul152015

Guide to CT Wine & Spirit Shops for Summer 2015: Shaken, Stirred or Sipped

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...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr072015

Big News at Craft Butchery: Dinner Service, Catering, A New Name & A Merger

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. 

Click to read more ...