What are your Formaggio favorites?
Formaggio is such a treasure trove (yes, you often need to bring your treasure chest to pay for it, but it's tough to argue with the quality), I was curious what other hounds like to get there.
Our recent household favorites:
Finocchiona - Tuscan salami made with fennel seeds.
Bleu des Basques - a fairly mild, very smooth and buttery bleu cheese from southwestern France.
Homemade sausages - the Italian pork sausages are our going-away favorites, but I have yet to try a variant I haven't enjoyed.
How about YOU?
Last Christmas I bought a stunning gorgonzola dolce which we ate with those giant juicy pears from Harry and David - bliss. And a french butter with big crunchy crystals of salt - also bliss just straight up on a cracker. There are other divine butters, too, with blood orange and other flavors.
Also have gotten their cheese platters for events, can't say enough about how worth it those are!
The Finocchiona is indeed good as well as their summer bbq grill. I particularly like the Provence chips (in peanut oil), the coconut creme pie, the cheese crackers from France in playing card shapes, the French lemon/orange cookies, the Piedmontese gianduja, etc... Formaggio is simply a GREAT MARKET!
Wow, looks like about all my favorites have been mentioned:
Cabot clothbound cheddar, Comte, Bleu des Basques, are all delicious. Goat cheeses, salami, I also like to get prosciutto every once in a while.
Last time I had a wine and cheese party I went to Formaggio and made a bunch of cheese and meat plates and every bite was gone before the end of the night. Getting suggestions from the staff is definitely a good way to go.
I am a sucker for their French cheeses - Comte and Beaufort (which will break the bank, but be worth it). I also love the hearty, dark bread they sell by the pound (can't remember the name, one variety is flown in from France and one is baked locally). The speck is great and perfect on a piece of aforementioned bread, toasted, with a thin spread of butter.
The last time I was there, a guy was buying their olive oil (I think they always have three varieties on tap) and said it would rock my world. I'm planning on a bottle of their best for my partner for the holidays.
I love the Carlisle Farmstead cheeses; the Carlisle Chabichou and the Midnight Moonlight are favorites. Bartlett Blue is also from Jasper Hill Farm (the folks who make Bayley Hazen). I don't generally like blue cheese but I love Bartlett Blue. Cabot Clothbound cheddar is a great cheddar (made by Cabot and aged at Jasper Hill Farm). In the cheese department, my quibble is that the American cheeses are somewhat marginalized. I realize that Ihsan's expertise is in European cheeses but there are so many excellent New England and American creameries out there I wish they'd include a few more from the good ol' US of A. FK's housemade bacon is excellent. Their cakes, both whole and the squares, are quite good and reasonably priced. I think their cookies and bars are often a bit past peak, however.
One day we planned a Loire Valley wine tasting with friends. We always try to spend the morning of the meal doing some shopping together.
We walked into Formaggio Kitchen and asked to be introduce to the Loire valley. Our server smiled and began sampling cheeses for the four of us. We selected about five cheeses and added items from other areas of the store that she suggested.
We even decided to do a blind baguette tasting with three of their offerings. B & R won.
The depth of stock and knowledge is my favorite Formaggio asset.
In addition to the lovely selection of cheeses, though I am irked that they don't import Papillon as their Roquefort, a number of their house cured meats are quite funky. The house-made bresaola is red wine-cured and has quite a nice flavor and their homemade pates are good too.
They have a lovely selection of honeys as well, including Lord Byron, which is one of my staples.
The macarons are tasty (possible more than Burdick's?) as are their chocolate covered fruits.
I always try for a mini-sandwich on Sundays (I think they're $3.50 now).
They carry B&R breads, including B&R scones, which is a godsend.
BBQ in the summer. Thank god for hotdogs.
Folks have had good luck with their jams, and I could not be happier as when they carry Maglio Fichi al Cioccolato (almond-stuffed chocolate-covered figs).
They stopped carrying Salumi a couple of years ago. Sad face. But, they do have other great cured meats there.
They just received a shipment of BEAUTIFUL cheese from Italy. And, in a couple of months, they will be receiving cheeses from France and Switzerland (I think).
Other than the great cheeses and cured meats, FK also has lovely produce. A lot of local stuff but also beautiful figs, muscat grapes, different berries and dragon fruit.
Ooh ooh, I'll play. I love love love it there and never regret my purchases even though it's expensive.
Second the Fennel sausage, and anything else made by Mario's dad. (Of the justly famous Salumi in Seattle)
I always ask the cheese guy with a wink if there are any really really "ready" cheeses, and they never disappoint. Usually I walk out with a specimen that stinks up the whole car and that's just the way I like it.
Bayley Hazen blue is so good -- would be interested to hear how it compares to the Basque blue you like.
I always get one paper's worth of thinly sliced meat -- a salami or a coppa or something else that tickles my fancy or that they recommend.
Pick up a Sel de la Terre baguette while you are there.
I like their Israeli couscous and don't see it elsewhere very often. Ditto on the farro. Chocolates are great for gifts, and the flowers last longer than most other places I go.