Burrata appetizerBalducci’s Food Lover’s Market

{burrata +basil + crisps + balsamic glaze = heaven}

Have you ever eaten something so delicious that you can’t get it out of your mind? It happened to me several weeks ago when the kind folks at Balducci’s invited me to their Westport, CT location to give me a tour of the market that has been newly remodeled. After the tour, we sat down and I learned firsthand about the decisions behind the impressive remodeling project and why Balducci’s continues to distinguish themselves as a high-end grocer. My tour guide, John Depace (he’s also the Manager) slipped away and came back with the Cheesemonger who gave us a plate of burrata that had been smeared on thinly sliced pieces of french baguette. Alone, they are simple ingredients. But they elevated them into this heavenly bite of creamy mozzarella cheese and fresh basil, then drizzled it with a balsamic glaze that intensified all the flavors. I’ve included the ingredients and some photos of the version I made at home. Delish!Burrata Appetizer

Fig jam

In addition to the burrata, we sampled brie cheese with fig jam on crisps. Yum.Sarah O'Brien

{Me and John at Balducci’s Westport, CT market}

Growing up in Westport, Balducci’s is a place that I’ve shopped many times. Having a guided tour allowed me to gain a new perspective for how complex a grocer they are. Each of their food sections is staffed with an expert in that area: in produce, there’s someone that can tell you the nuances between grape and cherry tomatoes and which apples are best for baking. They take their food very seriously and employ a team of knowledgeable people that make shopping a pleasure – because they can lead you to whatever you need and give advice on everything from the butcher to the baker. I’ve included lots of photos and please note how pristine their market is. Everything is fresh and perfectly aligned and I wonder if there is someone whose only role is to walk around with a ruler and nudge everything back into place. In all seriousness, you can tell just by looking at how they handle the produce, style their shelves and display their food, how important it is to them. They respect food and I so appreciate seeing a company that lives their brand.

Drinks galoreA small (kidding!) selection of beveragesSalads to goSalads to go…Sandwiches to goSandwiches to go…Prepared foodA feast of prepared foods, all ready to take home for dinner!Risotto

Shrimp

Tomato and Mozzarella

Pumpkin Risotto

Prepared Foods

Hot Noodle barNEW! A hot noodle bar, a must try!ParmigianoTheir bestseller, parmigiano cheese. They keep quite a bit on hand.TapenadeI love you tapenade.More cheese

Turkey Paper ProductsThese are pretty enough for any Thanksgiving table! They have a large display of paper products and everything you need to set a beautiful table, including fresh flowers.Feature Image

To make this, ask for burrata, fresh basil and balsamic glaze. Slice the burrata into quarters, top with julienned basil and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Great with white wine!

Burrata ingredients

If you are still reading, congratulations. I couldn’t end this post without sharing something that I saw on Food Network’s Chopped series. I love Chopped and I so badly want to be on it one day. Anyway, on one of the episodes I saw, one of the ingredients was fish. One of the chefs clearly hadn’t had any experience with handling fish and basically pulverized it. The panel of chefs was watching this and when it was her turn to talk about what she made, one of the panel chefs told her that he was insulted by the way she treated the fish. It has always stuck with me how people in any business (a musician, a photographer, a chef) who are truly passionate about what they do, take what they do so seriously. I’ve witnessed how reverently they treat the tools of their trade (a guitar, a camera lens, a fillet of fish). As they should.