I have a special fondness for Italy and it’s not because I’m Italian (I’m not!). For our honeymoon, Big Guy and I took a Mediterranean cruise. I was a bit nervous for him, as he doesn’t like to travel and he’s a picky eater. I was worried that when we were off the ship during the day, he’d struggle with the culture and the food. But as it turned out, the trip had a magical effect on us both. We tried new foods and were able to be open to all of the experiences that were presented to us. The food throughout the trip was divine, but Italy was the most transformative for me. Enjoying fresh, handmade pastas, amazing olive oils, crusty artisan breads, and home brewed limoncello was a food wake-up call. I began to understand how the love and care that goes into this type of meal preparation impacts the taste. When I was invited to tour Tuscan Market in Salem, NH, I didn’t know what to expect, but it took me right back to Italy. A passion for the food shines through.
Opened in 2012, Tuscan Market rose out of Joe Faro’s passion for and experience with hand crafted Italian foods. It sits just next to the Tuscan Kitchen Restaurant that opened in 2010. In addition to the market aspect, there’s a trattoria where you can grab a casual breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Tuscan Market is full of high quality ingredients, some imported straight from Italy. Everything is selected to help you have a delicious – and authentic – Italian dining experience.
They carry a dizzying array of spices, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, flour, cheeses, and other items to inspire you.
They also have a lovingly curated selection of wines, many available only at Tuscan brand establishments. Whatever meal or event you’re planning, they will help you find the perfect wine as a pairing.
We were lucky enough to get a tour of the entire Tuscan Market, where they make everything in-house with an old-world love and charm. You can see a lot of the cooking happening from the market area.
They bake all of their own bread from ciabatta to foccacia. You can enjoy it in a sandwich, or grab a loaf to bring home for your family.
They also make their own pastas. Once again, you can have lunch here in the Market Trattoria or take some home.
Here’s she’s making cappeletti by hand. She made it look incredibly easy!
Tuscan Market has a nice range of desserts from cookies to cakes and Italian faves like cannoli. You can even buy a kit online to fill your own cannolis.
We were only there a short while, but one thing I noticed was the general good spirits of the staff. We were told that they aren’t allowed to use cell phones at work (I wish more places would make this rule) because everyone had a specific job to get done. Here’s we’re chatting for a moment with Executive Chef Joe Brenner.
After touring the open parts of the kitchen, we got to go behind the scenes. So much cooking means tons of pots and pans…
And carrots and onions! I should take a moment to note that everything was spotless. Granted, they knew they’d be touring around, but I have never seen such a clean commercial kitchen. It’s exactly what you want to see in a food business!
At this point in the tour, we got a peek at the super new pasta equipment. It’s too new to show you, unfortunately, but pretty soon it will be churning out some amazing pastas for other dining establishment. Yum! So, they have also started making their own salumi. If you, like I, aren’t 100% certain what that is, it basically refers to all of the Italian preserved meats like salami, prosciutto, and mortadella.
This is where they butcher all of the meat. They pretty much do everything themselves in house.
After the tour, it was time to sample some of the deliciousness that we had been hearing about starting with the bread. Only I didn’t take a picture of the bread. You can see where my priorities are! Seriously, though, I didn’t even capture all of the dishes. It was so much food.
Then we had this amazing antipasto dish. It even included some of their truffle honey, which we were informed is divine paired with the parmigiano. And it is.
Next, an assortment of paninis. I will definitely be back for lunch one day. While we were there, it was busy with little old ladies shopping, and lots of friends grabbing a quick bite to eat together.
Quattro formaggio ravioli.
These? The butternut squash cappeletti we saw being made earlier. In a brown butter sage sauce. You can buy both of these to bring home with you. My favorite dish, which I was clearly too busy eating to take a picture of, was a marscapone and truffle stuffed gnocchi. They wee so light and lovely that I bought some frozen to have another night.
Dessert time. Can’t have an Italian meal without some tiramisu!
But my favorite was this limoncello tiramisu. It’s really a perfect summer dessert, although if it were up to me, the lemon on top would be candied. Just sayin’.
They brought us out a really beautiful tray of sorbets, but I was too busy sampling to take a picture. Or something. Anyway, they also brought out this amazing sampling of gelato. They also make these in house. I’ve never had a fresh pistachio ice cream or gelato and it was divine.
I know I’m gushing over the Tuscan Market, but I really can’t wait to go back. Everything we tasted was delicious and there are so many more treats to sample. There is a Tuscan Kitchen (restaurant) with a smaller Tuscan Market in Burlington, MA if the Salem, NH store is too far. They’ll still have all of the homemade breads, pastas, and gelato. And if that’s still too far, you can shop at Tuscan Market Online. It’s not cheap, and shipping outside of the area might be pricey, but you can great fresh pastas, sauces, artisan breads, cookies, and even gelato shipped right to your door. They also have gift baskets for your favorite blogger friend. Just in case you were wondering…
Disclosure: I attended a media lunch at Tuscan Market. There was no additional compensation and the opinions contained in this post are my own.