Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Newport Food & Wine Treasures on Bellevue

If you are a food and wine lover visting Newport, Rhode Island, then you need to make a stop on Bellevue Avenue, just across the street from the Hotel Viking.  You'll find three places of interest here, including a wine store, gourmet food shop and chocolate shop. And they are all located right next to each other.

Maria and David Glade own both the Newport Wine Cellar, established in November 2008, and Le Petit Gourmet, opened in November 2009. The wine store generally stocks more artisan, boutique wines as well as some craft beers and spirits. They hold complimentary wine tastings on Fridays and Saturdays, from 4-7pm.  In addition, they often hold wine classes on Wednesday nights, which cost $40 per person.

The store has two rooms, the front being devoted to Old World wines and the back room more for New World wines, beers, and liquors. The shelves make it easy to look at the wine labels and I was impressed with the diverse selection I found. These are not your usual suspects, but much more interesting wines, and they even have a decent selection of half-bottles.  Prices are average and there is a 10% discount on a mixed case. You will find wines at a wide range of price points, including some under $10.

With summer here, they are stocking over a dozen different rosés, and I had the opportunity to taste a complex and intriguing 2010 Lucien Crochet Sancerre Pinot Rose ($34.95). I also ended up purchasing a couple of Portuguese rosés. This is a very worthy destination for wine lovers. And it certainly was better than the other wine store I visited in Newport that was plagued with a significant dust problem.

Le Petit Gourmet is a gourmet food and cheese shop, with a diverse selection of fresh and packaged items. Though small, they have packed lots of food items into this space. They have a refrigerated case with some specialty meats, such as sausages and pates, including from D'Artagnan.

The cheese case looks very compelling, with an interesting variety of cheese from all over the world.

You'll find fresh bread from a bakery in Hyannis, homeade croissants, quiche, salads, soups and sandwiches. With your wine from next door, you can come here and buy enough food to take home for dinner, or for a picnic. Wine & food go well together. 

With your food and wine, you only need something for dessert so you then stop at Le Maison de Coco, new shop for truffles, tarts and other confections. You can stop here for takeout, or get something to eat at their outside tables.  The colors of the interior of the shop are supposed to reflect the colors of ripe cacao.

Owner Michele De Luca-Verley primarily uses chocolate from Madagascar cacao beans which were processed in France.  Michele is very personable, and obviously passionate about chocolate.
Michele enjoys making tea and fruit infused chocolate truffles, and I tried the Bergamot, Jasmine Peach, and Orange Blossom. The truffles had a rich chocolate flavor and the fruit/tea flavors were distinctive but not overwhelming. They complemented the chocolate and did not possess that artificial flavor that sometimes you find in other truffles.

So, if you travel to Newport, make sure to stop by Bellevue Avenue and check out all three of these cool food and wine shops.

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