Monday, January 26, 2009

Lunch, Locavore Style

Here's what I consider a near-perfect lunch - a glass of wine, a hunk of bread, some good cheeses, cured sausage and pears.

We bought the cheeses and sausage at a winter farmer's market held at "Tre Piani," a restaurant in Princeton, New Jersey's Forrestal Village.

The chef and co-owner of the restaurant is a founder of the local chapter of "Slow Food" so you know he cares about eating local and eating well. The three floors of the restaurant (Tre piani means three floors) were taken over by local food producers -- everything from creamy gelato to baked goods to sausages and cheeses. A jazz combo provided musical entertainment.

I had no idea that such fine cheeses were being made right here in New Jersey. Valley Shepherd Creamery, located in Long Valley, N.J. had set up a table highlighting a dozen or so of its cheeses. It was difficult to choose, but I ended up with one called "shepherd's logue," a raw sheep's milk cheese wrapped in herbs de provence, and a "crema de blue," a gooey cave-aged veined cheese.

Then I spotted a table laden with sausages from a place called Salumeria Biellese, located both in Hackensack, N.J. and in New York City. They make wonderful cured sausages, including one made with boar's meat, and the picquant Neapolitan-style one I purchased. As I was tasting a sample, it occurred to me that their name sounded familiar. Then it dawned on me that two weeks earlier, my son and I had eaten at Biricchino, a New York City restaurant. Turns out that Salumeria Biellese is right next door to Biricchino and both are owned by the same proprietor. Turns out that the waitress who served us was the woman helping set up the samples at Tre Piani. Small world.

Armed with our goodies, we headed home for a great lunch. The fig jam I made last fall would make a sweet accompaniment to the cheeses, and I still had a few slices of crusty homemade bread left from earlier in the week. A sliced pear, a bottle of cabernet sauvignon and we were set for our near-perfect lunch.

Now if only we were enjoying it with a warm summer breeze overlooking the Mediterranean -- that would have catapulted it to perfection.


  1. You make fig jam?
    My birthday is December 23. Thank you.
    PS how lucky that you have a winter farmers mkt in Princeton.
    We have to go to the city to the Union Square.

  2. Linda, I should have followed you home!

  3. My favourite type of lunch! Prehaps you could have titled this 'Lavoratore Style' - it's a hearty workman fare!

  4. Gosh, I just went over to Stacey's place and she has this mouth watering chili with corizo, now over at your place and wow, everybody seems have sausage.. I better go and get some of this at my grocery store. All of these thing that you mention here, make my stomach rumble. Pear, fig jam, og gosh I can go on and on....

  5. Nothing near about that kind of perfection :) And you made fig jam? Wow!

  6. Near perfect??? I would say perfect! Btw, My birthday is Nov 18!

  7. This is my perfect lunch too.

    You hit the nail on the head with these words: "eating local and eating well". (One of the reasons goat cheese is hard to find here is that the landscape is more suited to sheep - so Pecorino in all its various forms is far more common. I believe in the more mountainous areas of Le Marche goat cheese is more readily available.)

  8. delicious!

    I like these type of lunches as well.

  9. I would call this perfect too!

  10. Ciao Linda ! Se senti una tiepida brezza non sei in Italia ! Qui il tempo รจ orribile ! A Roma piove da tre mesi ! I'm sorry we didn't meet when you were much nearer !! I love your mushrooms !! Ciao !

  11. That does sound like a perfect lunch. The bleu-veined cheese looks heavenly in your photo.
    Lori Lynn
    P.S. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  12. This is certainly the perfect lunch. My husband and I do something similar for lunch most Saturdays. Of course, living in Phx, it's hard to find great meats and cheeses. We get most of ours when we're traveling on the East Coast. I'm going to have to try and get some of that boar sausage on my next visit. Sounds interesting.

  13. I second that opinion. Simple and easy and so good!!

    p.s. Now I have to try that obamicon site again...yours is cute!

  14. My favorite too! I now have to go out and find some great cheese and meats to recreate this today.

  15. That is a meal I would enjoy any day!!