After our delicious visit to Farfalle Italian Market, we next stopped at La Provence, a French bakery and cafe very close to Farfalle.
Robert Didier is the chef and owner of La Provence. He was born in Provence, france and has been involved in cooking since his culinary apprenticeship at the age of 13. La Provence serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also chocolates, truffles, pastries, candy and much more. You can buy premade meals to take home or dine in their cafe. They also sell European grocery items, most from France.
I bought a French baguette that was still warm from the oven. I had to eat some of it soon after buying it. How could I resist warm, freshly baked bread? And it was superb. I got a couple pastries as well, and they were fresh and delicious. Everything else I saw looked equally as good and this is another place I will return to when I am back in Concord.
105 Thoreau St.
Phone: (978) 371-7428
Just down the street from La Provence, we had to stop at Bedford Farms Ice Cream. This is a second location, the first being in Bedford. They serve homemade-style gourmet ice cream, frozen yogurt and soft serve. They sell ice cream cones, sundaes, frappes and more. It is a small shop but has character with a railroad decor.
I had a small sugar cone of Almond Joy ice cream ($3.50) and a companion had a small Chocolate soft serve ($3.50). Both ice creams were quite large for a "small." And the ice cream was excellent, creamy and flavorful. My Almond Joy had plenty of coconut and large pieces of chocolate. It was definitely high quality ice cream. The Chocolate was one of the darkest soft serves I have ever seen, and it too was clearly high quality, with a rich chocolate flavor. You get a very good value for the price. I would highly recommend you stop here for ice cream.
Bedford Farms Ice Cream
68 Thoreau Street
Phone: (978) 341-0000
Next, we took a short drive to Concord Center, to peruse the various shops there. And the highlight was The Concord Cheese Shop. Like the Farfalle Italian Market, this is a combination restaurant, grocery and wine store. But, the Concord Cheese Shop does not specialize in Italian food or wines. They have a more eclectic menu, as well as a huge selection of cheeses. They do have a few tables where you can eat lunch though it is a bit crowded.
They have a large wine selection, a few hundred bottles at least, with a lot of variety as well as a good range of price points. What really excited me is that they stock wines from Turtle Creek Winery, which is located in Lincoln, Massachusetts. I have visited the winery before and been a long fan of their wines. The wine maker, Kip Kumler, is a passionate man who is seeking to make low production, quality wines. Very few wine stores cary his wine and they sell out quickly when they are available. So when I saw them at this Cheese Shop, I grabbed all eight bottles of the 2006 Turtle Creek Pinot Noir ($20). At that price, it is an excellent value. His wines good easily sell at twice that price.
I also have to give them kudos for showcasing another excellent value, a $5 Portuguese wine. They have been doing so for several years, when it was only $4, and have now sold over 35,000 bottles of the wine. And only once has anyone returned it. It does not surprise me that a Portuguese wine of this that price is that good. But I am very glad to see others enjoying such wines too.
I spent a little time talking with Bill, who used to own the store and now works in the wine section. He was very personable, knowledgeable and we both love Dali, the tapas restaurant in Somerville. Another excellent find in Concord and a place I recommend you check out.
The Concord Cheese Shop
29 Walden Street
Phone: (978) 369-5778