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Mar 18, 2009 12:13 AM

Review/Tip: Kalamata Grocery's Smoked Bacon (Calgary)

Spectacular. Some of the best I've had.

Everyone looks to Kalamata already for its olives, cheeses, Mediterranean stock items, international phone cards, and cheap cigarettes, but you must check out their meat section. It's tiny and hard to find - near the milk in a pile in the cooler.

I've no idea who produces it for them (the only labeling, if the vacuum package actually has been tagged, merely informs that it's been made for Kalamata). Could've asked I suppose. Maybe tomorrow, once I settle down.

Buying by the prepacked slab, you don't have a lot of choice in quantity. That's not an issue. You'll use the seemingly gigantic portion far before there's a problem. However, it's expensive, at 8.99 a pound (and, again, little choice in the seemingly random package sizes). You may look at paying over forty dollars for a portion, but that would be a big one (you don't have a lot of choice).

The flavour is wonderful. The rich fat, both beautifully veined and torrential throughout the bacon, has perfectly absorbed every little bit of the charred wood offerings it came in contact with. This is something that will add incredible depth to a stew, Bolognese sauce, or bloody breakfast. Reusing the skimmed fat alone would make a duck wonder about it's status.

I realise you're supposed to keep things like these a secret, but I'd like to ensure they keep stocking it.

(Also, the varied sausages they carry from, I'm assuming, the same producer are equally grand.)

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  1. Kalamata fuels my hopes for this town.

    4 Replies
    1. re: marcopolo

      They've been around forever, so you must be overflowing with hope.

      I'm not sure about the place. First, the old guys used to smoke in the damn store, completely classless. Second- yay cheap cigs?? Third- they carried this yogurt that was packaged like Fage and it was GOOD, then they stopped carrying it and when asked they all had amnesia about it. Fourth- having to throw pickled giardiniera because no matter how much I washed it, it still tasted of nothing but brine. Fifth- having to dump the pressed yogurt that replaced the GOOD Fage-looking stuff because this stuff tasted like what water tastes like when you drink it out of a plastic hose. Sixth- charging an arm and a leg for this honey with peanut spread that was probably three years old and tasted of stale peanuts-another purchase in the garbage.

      The place reeks of atmosphere and I love some of what they sell but I've never had to throw away more garbage than what I've purchased from Kalamata.

      1. re: John Manzo

        wow john, tell us how you really feel about the place.

        I'll tell you why i like it: a corner store not two blocks from my place which outdoes the price and selection, in many cases, of the two supermarkets in the area. It has great olives, good cheese, good/cheap olive oil and Mediterranean supplies, and awesomely cheap and fresh bread (of the pita and egyptian variety). despite the fact that it has the atmosphere of an armpit and is smack dab in the middle of one of the more gentrified parts of town, it's constantly busy. IME, Calgarians have a fascination with squeaky clean, big shiny things (which generally over promise and under deliver). the fact that we've collectively gotten over this, at least in this one instance, brings me hope (and yes, it has for a long time).

        1. re: marcopolo

          Agreed on all points marcopolo, although I like the character.

          Anyway John, I also think criticizing an establishment on the basis of what "the old guys" used to do is unfair. Anyway, some people smoke; being pretentious about it is unhelpful. And certainly, not every clerk there is going to remember every item from the vast array they carry. You are right about being careful with what you buy there, but the deli stuff is great for the most part.

          Just try the bacon.

          1. re: marcopolo

            The Feature brand herring is really good, and well priced at 8$. I also like the Quebec Brie called Le Brie D'Alexis in the cooler to the left of the olive case.

        1. re: hungryungry

          1421 11 Street SW
          Calgary, AB T2R 1G7
          (403) 244-0220

          It's a couple of doors down from Palace of Eats and Galaxy Diner.

          1. re: miss.foodie

            Oops. Sorry, I just assumed everyone knew already.

            1. re: Leibowitz

              thanks! I could have looked it up but this was easier. :)

        2. This is a little offtopic, but I believe I just found a music video that was filmed inside Kalamata :)

          3 Replies
          1. re: 23skidoo

            Cool or what?

            Not such a bad tune either.

            1. re: 23skidoo

              MBF is just... amazing. Love that guy.

              1. re: 23skidoo

                Fantastic cover!

                I've never been to Kalamata, but between these posts and that clip, I'm heading there today... Love Chowhound!