Thursday, August 16, 2007

Formaggio Kitchen

Formaggio Kitchen, which has long operated out of Cambridge, Massachusetts, is actually a small family of three stores. The other, smaller, branches are located in the South End of Boston and in New York City. I am very familiar with the South End store, having frequented it for years. I can therefore vouch for their quality and competence. They have their own cheese cave beneath the Cambridge store, and regularly impart instruction on cheeses in the Boston area. But let's hear directly from South End employee Leslie, a competent and simpatica young woman:

"Our most popular Italian product is undoubtedly Parmigiano Reggiano. Over the past year (Aug. 2006 – Aug. 2007), we’ve sold over 900 pounds of Parmigiano!! Other popular items include pappardelle dried pasta, Prosciutto di Parma, pancetta, and San Pellegrino limonata/aranciata sodas. On the wine front, our most popular Italian wines are Copertino from Puglia and Corte Marzago’s Bianco di Custoza from the Veneto. We are also very excited about some special nebbiolo-based wines that are on their way to us from Valtellina.
Our staff’s favorite cheeses include our small-production robiolas (especially the Robiola di Pecora and Robiola di Roccaverano), our Taleggio Latte Crudo, and, of course, our Parmigiano. We also love our Italian olive oils, since many of them are made in tiny batches as a side-project by our favorite winemakers, and our cornmeal biscuits from Lombardy are a favorite as well as our Romanengo confections from Milano.

We ship wine to some states, but not all (the inter-state shipping laws vary by state). We do have a store in New York. It is in the Essex Street Market on the Lower East Side. The New York store is very small and does not have its own website, though it is mentioned on our Formaggio Kitchen website. We consider the FK website to be a master website for all the stores; any online orders should go through that site (and our South End Formaggio website will redirect you to the Cambridge website when you click on the “shop” icon)."

One qualm I have about the online shopping through FK. Their site does not, alas, show the detailed ingredients of such things as sauces, condiments, and other expensive little goodies. Before I spend over ten bucks on a jar of pesto, I want to know if it has olive oil and pine nuts. I do much of my bulk food shopping online. Some services show the ingredients (Peapod), others, such as Roche Bros. in Eastern Massachusetts, do not. For that matter, doesn't show detailed ingredients either. I e-mailed them yesterday about this and will report back to you on this matter of the highest urgency.