(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at musenmutter.blogspot.com
The Fox Valley area where we live apparently has a fair amount of foodies. Or at least that's what we're discovering based on some of the stores. Now, I don't know about the long term viability of some of them, because they haven't been open long, but there must be enough interest that somebody took the risk of opening them.
Mr. Kluges wrote a bit about visiting The Olive Cellar last weekend. The place has only been open since like December, but I hope it lasts. The 18 year balsamic vinegar we got is just.... indescribable! I must confess I've even had a spoonful a time or two; it's that good. We've been eating bread with oil and vinegar as an appetizer near nightly since we got it. (Which reminds me - I need to do a Recipeeps4Us post about the bread book my MIL gave me at Xmas.) The garlic olive oil is also good, but the vinegar?! To die for. Now if he'd only carry olives, too...
This weekend we went to a new tea shop - Fava Tea Company. Once again, a very specific store in a strip mall-type location. Again, a store with a HUGE variety of a rather specific, rather gourmet/foodie product. I bet there were more than 250 variety of teas, herbal infusions, etc. there. Amazing. We got a couple of ounces of three different kinds (Raspberry Green tea, Tropical Cyclone green tea, and Chamomile Lavender herbal tea), and I'm sure we'll be back for more as they run out. Pumpkin loved looking at and smelling the small jars of the various kinds out for examining, and carried around a dried chamomile flower for a while from one of them.
And to round it out, we've also visited Bella's Italian Meat Market several times since we've moved here. It rocks! We always end up with way more than we planned when we go. The thin-sliced hard salami, the wonderful Margherita salad and the luscious Cerignola black olives from the deli section... the yummy, yummy fresh meat and chicken... the Italian liquor and wine selection (including the Limonce we picked up two weeks ago)... Oh, I'm drooling just thinking about it all!
Mr. Kluges and I were saying that it's too bad that these three stores, plus some nifty kitchenware store like Johnathan's Cupboard, and a good cheesemonger, and a great coffee shop aren't in the same little foodie mini-mall. We'd love it (even if our budget wouldn't), plus they'd get a lot of carry-over business from each other.
Of course, we might just be trying to recreate the English Market from back in Cork...