Monday, March 17, 2008

Farfalle Italian Market

This past Saturday, I spent an adventurous and enjoyable day exploring some of the foodie destinations of Concord and Lexington. I had but a single destination in my mind when I began the trek. And then I knew I would just wander around, hoping to stumble upon other worthy spots. So, joined by two foodie compatriots, we headed off to Concord.

Our first stop was the Farfalle Italian Market in Concord. I had not been there before and it was the only planned destination on this trip. I had only recently learned of it and their website had intrigued me. I knew they sold Italian food as well as wine. And Adonna Imports was one of their wine distributors. That fact indicated to me that they were serious about their wine. Plus farfalle, bow-tie pasta, is one of my favorites so I liked the name of the market.

The Farfalle Italian Market opened less than a year ago, in June, and is owned and operated by Gina Nasson and Jeff Nedeau. They are married and residents of Concord. Some of their family also helps out in the store. This is a small, family owned business and not some large corporate outpost.

We arrived at the store around lunchtime. The store has two basic rooms, one for the deli and foods and the other room for their wines. When you walk through the front door, there are a couple tables to your left where you can sit and eat. The deli counter faces you as you enter, showcasing deli meats, cheeses and home-made foods. There was a large frittata, some chicken parmesan, stuffed peppers and more. There are shelves on the walls with a variety of Italian food products from pastas to sauces, from olive oil to cookies. It is small but definitely contains a wide selection of items.

For lunch, they primarily have soups and paninis with a couple specials such as a fritta and a pasta dish. I tried a bowl of the Chicken Orzo soup ($4.50) and a Panini with Prosciutto, Mozzarella, Tomato, Basil and Balsamic ($7.95). My companions both got Paninis with Egg Frittata, Tomato, Basil and Mozzarell ($7.25). The Paninis came on long rolls and were very tasty. Everything was very fresh and they did not skimp on the fillings. The soup was quite good as well, with a savory chicken broth and lots of orzo. Everyone tried the soup and they liked it very much. A good lunch that made me want to try more of their food.

They do have a few baked goods as well, from fresh bread to a large chocolate cake. We bought some brioche rolls, which are not made on the premises. They were fresh and very good, with just a tinge of sweetness. They would be perfect warmed and smeared with butter.

We ate our lunch in the back room area, where the wines are displayed. They have a few more tables back there. In total, they can seat maybe 10-12 people. Their wine selection impressed me and I spoke a bit with owner Jeff Nedeau. As it was Saturday, they were having a small wine tasting. They do so every Saturday, as well as every Thursday and Friday night from 5-7pm. Out of the three whites I tasted, the standout was the Schoffit Chasselas. I had recently tasted my first Chasselas, a Swiss wine, and enjoyed this Alsace version as well. I should also note that Schoffit makes an excellent Gewurztraminer.

I would say they have about 70 wines in stock, mostly Italian though with a smattering of other Old World wines. Though I recognized a number of the wines, they are definitely not the common Italian wines you can find in any wine or liquor store. They mainly come from small producers, such as those in the Adonna Imports portfolio. There was a nice variety of different Italian wines, both whites and reds, sparkling and dessert wines. Prices are average and there is a good range of price points, with plenty of wines under $20.

I bought six wines, all with grapes of which I was unfamiliar, rarer indigenous Italian grapes. I love trying out different grapes so this was an excellent find for me. Their wine selection is well worth checking out. I also note that they sometimes host wine makers for special tastings, which is always a worthy event.

I spent a little time speaking with Jeff as well. His passion for wine and the market was quite evident. He was very personable and down to earth. He is certainly knowledgeable about wines and carefully selects which wines will be sold. He seeks the small, quality producers. And I think he has succeeded in stocking an excellent and diverse group of wines.

Farfalle serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also have a Thursday Night Salad & Pizza special and Friday Night Dinners. You can order large servings, from 8-20, of a number of dishes for parties or get togethers. You can check out their detailed website for more information about everything they do.

Overall, I was impressed by Farfalle and would definitely recommend that you stop by to check it out. It is easy to locate, just off Route 2. Enjoy some good food and peruse their intriguing wine selection. Jeff is also the type of passionate store owner that I enjoy supporting. I will definitely return and maybe I will see you there too.

Farfalle Italian Market
26 Concord Crossing
Concord, MA
Phone: 978-369-2900

1 comment:

Bill Li said...

Thanks for posting this! I also have a passion for Italian food. I have family from Italy, so they always make authentic Italian dishes whenever they come over. I've been looking for a specialty Italian store everywhere in my area, but I haven't had any luck. I hope that someone will open one soon. I miss eating my favorite authentic Italian meals.
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