cheese platter

The best of the best

Greenwich cheese company is by far, my most favorite market to shop in. When I’m having a bad day, off I go. Because let’s be honest here- cheese makes everything better.

comte wheel

Along with sister Fairfield cheese company, Greenwich cheese company, is hyper focused on quality, artisanal products. This includes their carefully selected and sourced cheeses, as well as the accoutrements such as jams, pickled fruits and vegetables, olive oils, pastas and more. Owners Laura and Chris take great care in making sure customers are getting exactly what they want when they shop here, which is why you are offered a taste of each cheese before you commit to purchasing, and each piece is cut to order. It’s a real foodie’s dream to be able to try before investing, in most cases, over $25.00 a pound. I have discovered some of what are now my favorite cheeses at this shop all because staff encouraged me to try this, or that.

Speaking of staff, they are all incredibly knowledgeable and friendly. With each cheese you select, they will tell you about it including where it comes from, if it is raw or pasteurized, aged or young, what type of milk, and perhaps a comparison or pairing note. The more questions you ask, the more answers you receive. They are as committed to the transaction as you want them to be. It’s truly unique. As someone who loves talking about food in great detail, I really enjoy interacting and learning from them.

alpine cheeses on platter
Thanksgiving isn’t complete without Alpine cheeses from Greenwich Cheese Company!

One of the many things I applaud Greenwich cheese company for doing is carrying a large selection of raw milk cheeses which are nearly impossible to find in a traditional grocery store. Raw milk cheeses are full of healthy bacterias and complex nutrients, and yes fat. However, pasteurized cheeses are nothing but fat. The pasteurization process kills everything that a raw milk cheese delivers to you. I really enjoy supporting the small farms that still produce cheese in the traditional way, and these are the cheeses that are typically raw milk cheeses. They are soo much better for you and frankly, they are just typically better quality cheeses.

cheese school
At this class we learned the art of making a cheese board

Another one of the many things I love about this artisanal cheese shop is cheese school! Cheese classes are offered in both their Cos Cob and Fairfield, CT locations. Laura and Chris are committed to providing cheese education and do so, not just through every transaction, but through offering classes throughout the year. I have attended several classes and plan to attend many more. I learn so much every time I go. (Granted I’m a foodie nerd and love this stuff.) If you live in the 914 / 203 area, I highly recommend checking out their class offering. It’s a fun thing to do alone or with a foodie friend. And usually a few pairings of wine are involved, which never hurts!

Finally, I can’t end this post without talking up their gift boxes which have become my favorite client gift or to take to a friend’s house as a hostess gift. They come artfully packaged in crates and I really, really care about packaging. I won’t send corporate gifts, or any gifts really, that are not packaged creatively and with care. The gift becomes very impersonal, very quickly. Packaging sets the tone for the gift and Greenwich cheese shop gets that. The raves reviews I get from clients and friends don’t hurt 🙂

Well, now that I spent the last hour writing about how much I love this place, I think I’ll take a ride and go get myself some cheese! See you there!

Recommended for:

  • Top quality cheeses: Artisinal cheeses from around the world.
  • Charcuterie: Carefully selected and sourced charcuterie to accompany any cheese platter.
  • Education: With a goal to teach people about cheese, the Greenwich cheese company offers a wide array of small group classes.
  • Platters & Gift boxes: Impressively curated cheese platters and gift boxes are available.
Fleishers Butcher Shop Greenwich, CT

Fleisher’s is a craft butcher shop and it only takes one visit for you to know that you are getting the absolute top quality meats.

Unlike other butcher shops and counters, Fleishers actually butchers the animals out in the open for a completely transparent experience. This is important for a few reasons. For one, it means they are proud of their product and two, confident in their craft. This approach also provides us, the public, with a good reminder that you should not take the luxury of meat for granted and that we are eating a once alive and healthy animal. This is easy to forget when meat is so often packaged up neatly in a package with the butchering hidden from us.

Fleishers sells only the best, locally sourced, grass fed beef and other responsibly sourced meat products.

  • Top quality meats: Grass fed beef, veal, pasture raised chicken, heritage breed pork and more.
  • House made cold cuts: In high demand and not always available, their ham, roast beef and Canadian bacon is perfection.
  • Bones for broth: With a goal for no waster, bones are available from in house butchering and can be used to make the absolute best homemade broth.
  • Butchering classes: Those interested can sign up for butchering classes

Visit Fleisher’s Website

Costal, north east living means an abundance of quality fish markets to choose from, making selecting a favorite a tough task. The Lobster Bin in Greenwich CT is my go-to market for fresh fish and lobster. They are close by to our house and take great care in providing the neighborhood with top quality fish. Located on Railroad Avenue in Greenwich CT, The Lobster Bin competes with a lot of quality competition including nearby Bonton Seafood and Citeralla Market as well as the popular Fjord Fisheries just a few miles north. But the Lobster Bin is a reliable shop whose fish is well presented, fresh and top quality. I highly recommend the Lobster Bin.

  • Live Lobsters: They don’t get better than this!
  • Fresh Fish: The fish from Lobster Bin is always fresh- you’ll want more than you need!  

Visit Lobster Bin’s website

Lasagna Cafe Silvium, Stamford CT

TI don’t usually find myself struggling to find words. But as I sit here attempting to share my thoughts on Cafe Silvium, I realize that I am struggling with where to start. I think it’s because I am still in a state of disbelief and unable to focus all the things I want to say. Why a state of disbelief? Because for one, I can’t believe how amazing it is, and for two, I can’t believe I only recently discovered it. That then leads me to how angry I also feel for having only learned about Cafe Silvium this year. (That would be the great year of 2018.) Clearly, I am working through some culinary emotions here.

My first attempt to go to Cafe Silvium was a total failure. I was scheduled to meet some friends for dinner and someone suggested we try Cafe Silvium. I checked out the reviews and decided I was excited to try it. It was a Monday night, we were 4 people, and no one stopped to think we would need a reservation. Ummmm…. we were wrong! We arrived and found out quickly that not only did we need a reservation, but they literally couldn’t seat us all night! This is not an uncommon situation- it turns out they have a full house on most nights. The staff were so polite and told us they hoped we would return soon. Unfortunately, we ended up at a sub-par Italian restaurant down the street from Cafe Silvium and depressed. We wanted what we couldn’t have! (But at least we had each other. Shout out to my BFFs!)In Italy you are taught how to savor simplicity and embrace hospitality. This is also true at Cafe Silvium.What happened next? Well, I came home with my mind swirling with the images and smells of Cafe Silvium.  I knew I wouldn’t rest well until I experienced what all the fuss was all about. So I woke up the next morning, waited patiently until they opened, and promptly called to make a reservation! That Thursday at 8:30pm, I walked in and I knew I had found it, finally. The best local Italian restaurant. Cafe Silvium serves homemade, well made, delicious, classic Italian food. And I love it.

From the moment you are seated you feel as welcome as if were invited into someone’s home for dinner. Everyone from the maître d’e, to our server, to our table neighbors were kind, attentive, relaxed and helpful. I was immediately transported back to our time in Italy where we visited places that taught me how to savor simplicity and embrace hospitality.Everything we ordered that first night and each time we returned since has been fantastic. The menu is impressively large, which usually, I do not like because it typically indicates that a restaurant is more interested in quantity over quality and also typically indicates that the chef doesn’t have a style of his own. However, Cafe Silvium is not to be included in this assumption. The menu is large, but focused on homestyle, tasty, well made Italian dishes. The food is clearly cooked with love and every dish they serve feels like the most important dish on the menu. This includes the delicious white bean salad served to you as you are seated, alongside a basket of focaccia.

We’ve enjoyed a wide variety of the menu since we started going to Cafe Silvium and we have enjoyed everything to the point of craving. Of course, I have my favorites which include the Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms, Eggplant Rollatini, Braised Boar Shank with Gorgonzola Sauce and the Sole Francese (also available with other fishes such as Grouper). There is nothing I have had that I didn’t like, but I would likely not get the lasagna again. It was a bit runny, or loose, and the noodles were more aldente than I like. But that is a matter of lasagna preference, and I simply prefer my own.

  • The Food: It is the best, classic, Italian food.
  • Service: The customer service is always fantastic.
  • The Menu: The menu offers something to delight everyone.

Note: Reservations are only available to parties of 6 or more on Friday and Saturday nights. Closed on Sundays. Visit Cafe Silvium’s Website

371 Shippan Avenue
Stamford, CT 06902

Full disclosure- we have a long line of Hoosier’s in our family so right off the bat, we were in love with the Hoosier Momma Bloody Mary Maker brand.

Hoosier Momma is an all around, solid Bloody Mary mix. We Local Tasters kicked back with all three varietals-

  • The Original
  • Spicy
  • and Sriracha

We tend to lean toward the classics here at Local Taste and we all agreed that the original was our favorite. One taster used the word ‘delightfully tangy’ to describe it. While another cited, ‘It has a heat that lingers and tickles the back of your throat in all the right ways!’

We all agreed in describing the consistency as medium-thick and that it is generously seasoned. All good things by our account.

We were thrilled to include Hoosier Momma mix in all of our Local Taste basket giveaways and many lucky winners got to enjoy drinking their veggies. After all, Momma says… ‘Drink your veggies™’

brunch-mamas-boy-norwalk-ct-21It’s rare. It’s really, really rare to find an establishment in this neck of the woods that does brunch the way brunch is meant to be done. What the heck does that mean? Well, it starts with the food- a place that embraces breakfast and elevates it. It’s accompanied by a lively atmosphere that reminds you that Sunday is a privilege and should be enjoyed. It features live music. That’s right- brunch should always, always, always have live music. If I ruled the universe, (and I hope to one day!) I wouldn’t even let people serve Sunday brunch unless it was accompanied by live music. And, of course, brunch must feature a selection of well made Sunday cocktails- specifically the one, the only- The Bloody Mary.

I was up early last Sunday morning working on some social media for an app I hope to be launching soon and a Twitter post, referencing back to an Instagram pic, of a Lobster Eggs Benedict caught my eye. I clicked on it and discovered it was from a place in South Norwalk, CT- about a 30 minute ride from me. A place I had never heard of- Mama’s Boy. I looked them up to find an amazing menu, live music from 1-4, four types of Bloody Marys to choose from and bottomless mimosas. My interest was now peaked and it inspired the drive to SoNo.

Lobster Eggs Benedict (the dish that caught my eye on Twitter!)
Lobster Eggs Benedict (the dish that caught my eye on Twitter!)

My expectations were low on the drive up. That comes from years of disappointing brunches in this area. Usually the food is either good and the ambiance lacks, or the ambiance is good and the food is somewhere between mediocre and a complete let down. What’s worse? When you want a glass of champagne to sip on while you look over the menu and they serve you something cheap and flat in a white wine glass and then charge you $12.00 for it. That’s how brunch works in this neck of the woods and it stinks.

Mama’s Boy was different. I walked in and immediately knew this was not like any other brunch I have experienced. Southern style food, a remarkable soul band belting out ‘My Girl’ and crossword puzzles curled up in mason jars scattered across the bar. My husband and I hit our cell phones and spread the word- we knew we’d be there for a while and friends slowly trickled in throughout the day. My obsession with the band became awkward at one point because I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. The staff was beyond cheery and the food was exactly what it should be- delicious and Sassy-fying, as I like to say. (One day I should trademark that term…)

After sampling the bacon Bloody Mary and settling into a crossword, I ordered the lobster benedict, since it was a picture of just that which inspired the drive in the first place. I have no regrets about that decision. There was a generous amount of lobster and it was placed atop a grits cake (similar to a hash brown.) This made for a luxurious bit- all you needed was the side of a fork to slice through for perfect bite of benedict, unlike the traditional english muffin that often requires sawing messing up the entire benedict experience. On the side, they served dressed, mixed greens to balance out the meal. The hollandaise sauce could have been slightly more vibrant in flavor, but the texture was spot on and hardly anything to complain about. It was close to perfection by any eggs benedict standards.

If you love Southern Flair, an upbeat environment, live music, and delicious food- it’s worth the drive to Mama’s Boy. (Warning- it’s not ideal for those looking for a quiet or child friendly environment- this place is all about Sunday Funday.)  I challenge the Westchester and Fairfield restaurants to follow suit and get on board the Brunch train. Recently, I have felt a slight change in the wind. More and more establishments seem to be coming out of the woodwork on Sundays offering brunch- as they should! There is a HUGE market for brunch, however it must be brunch done well. So until they do, I know where I’ll be- sitting at the bar at Mama’s Boy sipping on a Bloody Mary, working my way through a crossword, savoring some southern inspired delights, while stopping to clap now and again for the talented band, Night Market.