Piazza Food Bites: Spy Notes on Piazza’s Latest Wine Dinner

Two great Easton entrepreneurs joined forces with Folio Fine Wine Partners to produce an extraordinary tour through Sicily’s Donnafugata winery. With Amy, Chef Chris and the Out of the Fire Restaurant team preparing a perfectly paired five-course meal to match the carefully selected wines by Emily and her team from the Piazza Italian Market, the nearly forty who signed-up for the event were in for an evening of sensational taste experiences.

Piazza’s Emily Chandler briefs the wine dinner attendees

Out of the Fire was opened only to the wine tasting guests and they were greeted by pickled shrimp with melon, speck and basil at the table as they entered and Donnafugata’s Anthilia was poured. That was followed by grilled swordfish on a perfect green heirloom tomato accompanied by the second white wine, the Lighea from Italy’s Zibibbo grape.

The red wine courses were remarkable and really highlighted two very popular Donnafugata wines. The Sherazade was paired with a Sicilian-style pizza topped with heirloom tomatoes, anchovies and calabrese sauce. The Nero d’Avola grape from Sicily delivered on Donnafugata’s promised ” pleasantly fruity bouquet with fragrant notes of cherry and red plum, combined with light spicy scents of black pepper.

The Nero d’Avola grape blended with Petit Verdot and Syrah provided the second red wine in what Donnafugata calls its “flagship red,” Mille e Una Notte. Paired with lamb meatballs that included toasted semolina polenta, arrabbiata sauce and ash goat cheese, this course made for a magnificent conclusion to the dinner entrees.

Of course, Out of the Fire and Piazza had one wonderful treat left, a fresh goat cheese cheesecake and peach preserve, paired with Donnafugata’s Ben Rye 9, described as “one of Italy’s most appreciated sweet wines.”

Thus, another of Piazza’s wine tasting dinner came to a fulfilling conclusion.

Watch Piazza’s website  for information on future wine tasting dinners and drop by after 1 PM on Friday’s for the weekly tasting of a featured wine.

Piazza Food Bites: After That Big Meal Comes Amaretti di Saronno

Leave it to the Italians for finding the perfect solution for ending a grand meal with just the right amount of sweetness and lightness.

While famous for such show stoppers as Tiramisu, Panna Cotta, and Cannoli, the Italians also found the need to offer guests something a less filling, particularly during the summer months, that works well with that after-dinner espresso or dessert wine.

What they discovered is the remarkable use of dried apricot kernels to create an exceptionally light cookie, festively wrapped in colorful paper, to help end those special meals.

Emily Chandler, the owner of Piazza Italian Market, talks to the Spy about the role Amaretti di Saronno plays in the culinary world of Italy, but also the surprising news that cooked apricot kernels can also be used to fight certain cancers.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about Piazza please go here.

Piazza Food Bites: Let’s All Scream for Bacon

Poor bacon. The poster child for heart-related illnesses and consistently on the guilty food lists for most people over thirty, bacon never seems to gets a fair break in our modern world of healthy living.

We will leave it to the scientists to determine bacon is right or wrong for you, but for Emily Chandler, owner of Piazza Italian Deli in Easton, it is more of a question of who produces the bacon and how they do it, rather than how it ranks on cholesterol tests. And her search for the perfect bacon ended up in a small town in Indiana and her introduction to Smoking Goose Meatery’s Applewood Smoked Bacon.

In this edition of Piazza Food Bite, Emily talks about the unique and straightforward approach Smoking Goose takes will all their meat products and also her own bias on when it’s best to use American style bacon over the thinker, more intense Italian prosciutto also found in her store.

This video is approximately one minute in length. For more information about Piazza please go here.

Piazza Food Bites: The Seasonality of Goat Cheese

Given the popularity of goat cheese in America today, it’s not surprising that this gourmet cheese can be found all year around, but the truth is that really great goat cheese is a seasonal treat. One person that knows this little fact is Emily Chandler, owner of Piazza Italian Deli in Easton and the other is Brad Parker, owner and operator of Pipe Dreams Dairy from Greencastle, PA., who only produces his goat cheese during the warmer months to produce authentic, French-inspired, Buche.

The Spy talked to Emily about her love of Pipe Dreams goat cheese and some of the art and pleasure that goes into its production and its consumption during these special days of summer.

This video is approximately one minute in length. For more information on Piazza please go here

Piazza Food Bites: Summer is Made for Bellini

Piazza Italian Market wine advocate, Jenn Martella, doesn’t hesitate when she responds that the perfect summer drink is the famed Bellini cocktail.

According to Jenn, the Prosecco and peach juice concoction, invented around 1934 at Harry’s Bar in Venice by bartender Giuseppe Cipriani, hits all the right notes on hot summer evenings. While not difficult to make, the Bellini depends heavily on the best ingredients, which includes Piazza’s exclusive “Baby” Prosecco.

In our Spy chat, Jenn talks about the drink’s origin and other uses for the delightful peach juice that make summertime sunsets perfect on the Eastern Shore.

This video is approximately one minute in length. For more information about Piazza please go here. 

Piazza Food Bites: Let Us Now Praise Extra Virgin Olive Oil

While the Spy’s intention in working with Piazza Italian Market has been to present our fun “food bites” in one-minute segments, we had to make an exception when we talked to owner Emily Chandler on the importance of honest to goodness extra virgin olive oil.

We linger for an extra minute or two as Emily discusses the nuanced differences that exist between “everyday” oil and exquisite and sometimes costly “finishing oil” that is so essential to the gourmets. In this case, we talked to Emily about an exclusive Ravida selection that celebrates the 25th anniversary of the family business partnership between Natalia and her father, Nicolo.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about Piazza please go here.

Piazza Food Bites: And, Yes, Expresso in Now being Served

The pressure was on. Piazza was making great strides in establishing itself as the premier Italian market on the Eastern Shore, but the lack of coffee was affecting their street cred. Customers would complain that they could not have an espresso or a cappuccino with their biscotti, and finally, the store bowed to pressure and installed on authentic Italian espresso machine.

In this installment of Piazza Food Bites, the store’s coffee advocate, Liz Capuano, talks about the simple approach to offering customers what they want.

This video is approximately one minute in length. For more information on Piazza please go here.

Piazza Food Bites: Happy Sausages

It shouldn’t be a surprise to local foodies that one of the most requested products Piazza Italian Market customers have been asking for was the addition of meat products that were from farms that treated their pigs and cows humanely. What was surprising was how hard it was to make those requests a reality.

 You would think, given these days of increasingly expanded food choices, that Emily Chandler, Piazza’s owner, would have a number of choices to satisfy her customers wishes, but that didn’t turn out to be necessarily the case given Emily’s high standards, and her use of the same careful research when importing Italian products. In short, reputation is everything.

And that’s what led her to a relatively small distributor in Indiana named Smoking Goose for her sausage and bacon choices. The Spy talked to Emily about her choice and, of course,  some great uses for this special sausage in our latest edition of Piazza Food Bites.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information on Piazza please go here

Piazza Food Bites: Another Kind of Smart Cookie

Like most things at the Piazza Italian Market, there is very little fanfare given to the large variety of homemade cookies made each week to satisfy food connoisseurs in need of a light surprise at the end of an important meal. Hidden under the counter at the Talbottown store are nonetheless these perfect gems that built on the Italian tradition of biscotti and the simple but satisfying answer to cure a sweet tooth.

The Spy talked to Piazza’s owner Emily Chandler on the special effort that went into making these deliciously modest indulgences.

This video is approximately one minutes in length. For more information about Piazza please go here


Piazza Food Bites: Tis the Season for Asparagus Lasagna

During asparagus season, it’s not uncommon to find home chefs using every conceivable way to enjoy this lovely but relatively short-lived Eastern Shore delicacy. And while it might be true that the best method for savoring it is right off the barbecue grill or roasted in the oven, with an ample supply of extra virgin olive oil coating it, leave it to the folks at Piazza to remind us in Italy, asparagus is also celebrated with such classics as lasagna.

This week we talked to Emily Chandler, owner of Piazza, about her store’s ode to spring in the form of the classic asparagus lasagna. Anchored with an extra dose of lemon zest and four remarkable kinds of cheese, Emily is the first to admit that Piazza is not reinventing the wheel, but rather pays its respects to the extraordinary food traditions found in Italy and now Easton, Maryland.

This video is approximately one minutes in length. For more information about Piazza please go here