Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Little Italy found

Ever since we moved to Maine I've been hunting for a good Italian grocer. You know.. the kind of old fashioned neighborhood market you went into as a child, the ones with creaky floorboards and row after row of imported goodies? Well I finally found one!
I recently sold an enormous cookbook collection to a dealer in Portland. When they came to pick them up we began talking about the area, our mutual love of cooking and their background. She.. a retired pastry arts chef couldn't have been more than please to recommend local international grocers & eateries that I might find interesting to visit. On my newly found long list of grocers was 'Micucci's Market'.
So one early summer morning we headed up to Portland to the farmer's market in the park and spend some time exploring. After getting lost twice we finally turned down the right street. On one side of the street sits an old meat market, closed up years ago with grass growing so high behind the locked gate that it covered the entrance. On the other side a stately brick building with weathered sign that read: Micucci's Grocery Co.,Est 1949. At first glance I had to wonder if this was remnant of days gone by. But spotting a small faintly lit sign and the marvelous yeasty aroma that was filling the air around us.. I knew this wasn't a figment of my imagination.
Inside was like a throwback in time, and I felt like I had been transformed back to our old neighborhood grocer. Rows and rows of specialty items, along with an old fashioned deli counter, all imported from Italy - dried Rustichella d'Abruzzo pasta, Frantonia extra virgin olive oil, so many cheeses, fresh baked breads, white anchioves, sardines, olives, peppers, and many other essentials of the Italian table. I was in seventh heaven :o)

But then that aroma grabbed me again and I was drawn up to the back of the shop..

after walking through an extensive selection of wines.. and up a few steps, and just around the corner I found a small brick lined spot serving piping hot slabs of Sicilian pizza, warm luna bread and sfogliatelles! No wonder I was drawn in! They had so many patrons lined up for the next hot slices to be served, we happily got in line.

A family run business for over 50 years.. very friendly atmosphere along with a very fine selection imported goods. A market that I will be frequenting often!

Here's a few of my purchases :) Mangia!

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