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Dec 17, 2009 03:41 AM

Formaggio Kitchen-Experiences Beyond Cheese?

Hi All,

I was wondering if anyone has any experience with ordering anything besides cheese at Formaggio? I was looking at their holiday menu and there's a couple of things on it that might fit the bill for a Christmas gathering. I was thinking of the beef stew and maybe the smoked salmon canapes or fig medallions with gorgonzola. Has anyone used them for catering or for a Thanksgiving/holiday meal? I've gone through the threads, and while I see a lot of recs for them, I don't see many reviews for their foods. Thanks in advance.

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  1. I haven't ordered from their catering menu online, but if it's any indication, their prepared foods that they sell on premises (sandwiches, salads, roast meats, etc.) are very good, if rather expensive. (They can't serve food prepared to order, as they don't have a common victualler's license.) In addition to cheese, I've regularly bought various salumi, charcuterie, deli-case items like anchovies, olives, and roasted peppers, cookies, petit fours, candies (salt caramels, yum), fresh produce, bread, dairy products (they carry Chip-In Farms eggs), oils, vinegars, dried legumes, dried pasta, wine, beer -- all kinds of gourmet groceries. Same comment: quality is impeccable, but you pay a premium for it. I'd wager that the same would hold true for their online catering menu.

    5 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      While the meats are as superb as the cheeses and are well-worth investigating, I have to say that I've always been underwhelmed by the prepared foods I've bought: the various cold salads and sandwiches. While the ingredients are undoubtedly high quality, nothing has knocked me out taste-wise. I'm guessing that the philosophy is to let the ingredients speak for themselves without a lot of added spice, sauce, whatever, but to my palate, the results are on the austere side. Heck, just some more salt and pepper would help. I'd certainly do a taste-test before ordering any catering to see if whatever you're considering is to your liking. If anyone does absolutely love any of Formaggio's prepared dishes, please do tell!

      1. re: MC Slim JB

        If they can't prepare foods to order, how do you explain their BBQ on the sidewalk in the summer?

        1. re: Tir_na_nOg

          I think the prohibition on made-to-order food applies only to the Boston location - in addition to doing the summer sidewalk barbecue, the Cambridge store will heat up sandwiches in their panini press. Not sure whether they have a different kind of license or if Cambridge has different licensing restrictions/requirements from Boston.

          1. re: Tir_na_nOg

            When is the sidewalk BBQ? I have been a few times to formaggio and loved it/spent way to much money on cheese/meats/oil/vinegar/pasta/wine/fruit/etc etc. Possibly my favorite shop I have been to in town. Havent been to Boston location yet though.

            1. re: Tir_na_nOg

              MichaelB is correct: I was referring to the Boston location, which as I mentioned is a food retailer but does not have a restaurant-type license. This means it can pre-make sandwiches and such in advance of opening and sell them, but can't make them to order. The original Cambridge location must have a different license or different City of Cambridge rules to abide by.


          2. smoked salmon canapes and fig with gorgonzola are an inexpensive snap to make. why buy?

            their cheeses and meats are outstanding. why not just get platters of those, with cool condiments? i bought slices of spanish ham there once (thin, like prosciutto) -- the pigs had been fed on grape must. i still dream about it. it was also $25 a pound, lol.

            i have bought take-away sandwiches there, just ok. especially for the money.

            1. I realize that I can make the canapes and the fig app easily enough but my wife and I want a complete break this year. Believe me, at $10 a head for beef stew, I am still thinking of it.

              The main reason for looking at Formaggio to begin with is because I will be getting mezze items and such from Arax and Sevan so it's in the general area. Also, cheese and sliced meats are on the list too so it would knock those off. It's not a place that I normally go to. Russo's is my usual spot for this type of stuff, but thought I'd try something different this time.

              Maybe the lack seasoning (I'm envisioning WF prepared food section) just might be the thing for some of our flavor shy relatives since we'll be getting a few items from Dok Bua too. Basically, it's going to be a mix of things that 10-15 people can snack on over the course of a couple of days.

              Thanks for the replies. I will post a follow up after Christmas as to what I thought. Enjoy your holidays!

              2 Replies
              1. re: Chrispy75

                Heck, Ask the Arax folks to cater the whole thing for you. I am sure they would do some special orders, a beef stew, etc. That said, for cheese and charcuterie I would definitely go with Formaggio.

                1. re: Chrispy75

                  catered food, just like hotel food, is seasoned "safely'. generally undersalted and not highly flavored, looking for mass non-offense.

                2. Can't speak to the prepared items - but the cheese, salumi, and pate trays that I've gotten from them for parties and events have been terrific. And that grill party they have on Saturdays smells heavenly! I say give them a try - I would surprised if it was not good.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Splendid Spatula

                    I've never had a problem and have always enjoyed the meats and cheeses from Formaggio. I also enjoy some of the cookies they import from time to time. usually during the holidays. One of my favorite diet cheat items is the little house made chorizo's.

                    1. re: jjbourgeois

                      Their homemade sausages are some of the best are any other house made charcuterie and pates....their baked good are excellent as well..

                      1. re: jvish

                        any platter is going to be high quality ingredients that speak for themselves, smoked salmon, cheese platters etc. the case salads are occasionally under seasoned or underwhelming, but the holiday menus deliver! Eduardo the head chef does the bulk of holiday menu catering himself, and his beef stew is really delicious, the epitome of good home-cooking. Eduardo's food (daily dinners, soups, and holiday menus) are how you always hoped your grandmother's cooking would taste. not cheap, but you won't be disappointed.

                  2. The original comment has been removed