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Last Minute Gift Guide 2011 | North/South Edition | Hersam Acorn Newspapers

Last Minute Gift Guide 2011 | North/South Edition | Hersam Acorn Newspapers

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Published by Hersam Acorn

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Published by: Hersam Acorn on Dec 15, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Special Section to:
Greenwich Post
The Darien Times
New Canaan Advertiser
The Ridgefield Press
The Wilton Bulletin
The Redding Pilot
The Weston Forum
The Lewisboro Ledger
For more than a century, the Chiappettafamily has produced first cold-pressed,extra virgin olive oil in the Calabriaregion of southern Italy. About a yearago, family members living in FairfieldCounty decided to bring their tasty,homemade olive oil to the United States.Tall, elegant, long-necked bottles bearingthe Chiappetta name can now be pur-chased in 21 specialty grocery stores andmarkets in Connecticut.Made from 100 percent organicallygrown caroleo olives, Chiappetta’s oliveoil is best used on salads, with freshItalian bread for dipping and in saucesand soups, said Pat Chiappetta, a resi-dent of Norwalk. He and his brother,Frank, of Stamford, were instrumental inlaunching the new business, which theyboth define as “a labor of love.”In 2009, the brothers celebrated the80th birthday of their father, Vito, bytraveling with him to Italy. While theywere sharing photos of the trip with Pat’stwo daughters, Leslie (of Milford) andLori (of Trumbull), and Frank’s daughter,Ashley (of Stamford), the cousins wereimpressed with their relatives’ lush olivegroves and asked why they couldn’tdistribute the exquisite olive oil in theUnited States. “It all started as a trib-ute to their grandfather and the idea of wanting to keep the family name going,”Pat explained.Pat’s twin sons, James (of Wilton) and John (of Norwalk), were also enthusiasticand offered to spearhead the company’sWeb and digital presence. “The girls areprimarily responsible for the gift bas-kets,” Pat said.Though Chiappetta’s Olive Oil had onlybeen available for a few months by thetime the holiday season rolled around,its gift baskets were extremely popularlast year.
by Karen Kovacs Dydzuhn
Gift baskets are always a pleasure to receive, especially ones with Chiapetta Olive Oil.
Olive oil
continued on page 8
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Last Minute Gift Guide
 Hersam Acorn Newspapers  
December 15, 2011
One of the most memorable gifts I’ve everreceived was from a neighbor, who, tothank me for helping her out of a toughspot, gave me a boxed set of PenzeysSpices baking extracts. The neighbor andI, both avid cooks and bakers, usually endup talking about food over our split-railfence, and we often share recipes, as wellas the fruits of our labors. It was the per-fect gift for me, and showed just how wellshe knew me.To be perfectly honest, however, whenPenzeys Spices first opened in Norwalkin 1999, I was a little skeptical. An entirestore devoted to spices? Don’t most peoplebuy their spices in the supermarket? Howare they going to stay in business? I won-dered, and gave them six months.Well, it’s been 12 years, and not only haveI been proven completely wrong (the storehas continued to thrive), but Penzeys hasbecome one of my very favorite places toshop. In fact, the phrase “like a kid in acandy store” could be applied to me andanyone else who loves to cook and bakeand who eschews the supermarket bakingaisle for Penzeys Spices.
Cooks Wanted! 
Headquartered in suburban MilwaukeeCounty, Wis., the business actually beganas a mail-order company, with people pur-chasing their spices out of catalogs.Owner Bill Penzey, who grew up in hisparents’ spice business, followed the tradi-tion of their life’s work when he launchedPenzeys Spices 25 years ago, first froma warehouse and then the company’sfirst retail store. Today, Penzeys boasts63 stores, with two more scheduledto open soon. The Norwalk store,the company’s fourth, is convenient-ly located at 197 Westport Ave., astone’s throw from Stew Leonard’sand just minutes away from I-95 andthe Merritt Parkway.“Our principal focus is the home cookand baker,” explains Margie Gibbons,spokesperson for the company. “Thereis something kind, generous and wonder-ful in the notion of going into the kitchenand making something to share with yourfamily and friends. We want to make iteasy for people, from beginner to expert,to prepare the meal they have planned,whether they are following a cookbookrecipe to the letter or improvising on anold family favorite.”Shoppers who visit the retail stores areencouraged to ask questions of the knowl-edgeable staff, who tend to be self-pro-claimed foodies themselves. “Customerscan come in and chat with us about whatthey’re planning to make, and we can helpthem find what they need to make everymeal special,” Margie says. “People don’tneed to wait for the weekend ... why notmake Tuesday evening a little more inter-esting?”Penzeys products run the gamut from bothwhole and ground spices, dried herbs, rubs,custom and salt-free seasoning blends to avariety of cinnamons (four different types,to be specific), vanillas and cocoas, toname just a few. Arbol chili peppers, Cajun-style seasoning, Garam Masala (a salt-free all purpose blend called for in manyIndian dishes), Penzeysminced garlic, lemonpeel, mulling spices,pizza seasoning,poppy seeds, saffron,sausage seasonings,Trinidad lemon & gar-lic marinade and wholepink, green, black and white pep-percorns are just some of the offerings thathome cooks can find at Penzeys to creatememorable family favorites.“We try and meet every baking and cook-ing need, and offer a wide variety andtype of products,” Margie explains. “Theseingredients can be used to make an Indian-or Mexican-inspired meal, for example,and we encourage cooks to experiment,perhaps trying a spice or seasoning blendon something they’re used to cooking, likechicken or beef, and then if the dish isa hit, they can take it a little further andmake something more layered, using addi-tional spices or seasonings.”
 It’s Beginning To Smell A Lot Like Christmas
While the retail stores offer a veritable feastfor the eyes, nose and mouth and comprisea large segment of the company’s business,
The Kind Heart Gift Box features four  jars of seasonings, all salt-free.– Courtesy of Penzeys Spices
Penzey’s Spices
continued on page 8
ou're sure to find somethingfor everyone on your list at Stewart’s!
Spread some holiday cheer with our gourmet gift baskets, made-to-order fromour produce team! And if you can’t make up your mind why not give the giftof Stewart’s Gift Cards
(available in our Market and our wine shop in any denomination).
rom simple stocking stuffers to thoughtful gifts, Stewart’s haseverything to spread holiday cheer! Shop Stewart’s for a delightfulassortment of handcrafted and festively-packaged holiday treats.
 Imported Belgian chocolates from Neuhaus; classic foil milk chocolate Santas, Snowmen & Sleighs from Madelaine and Thompson; and Vermont’s finest chocolate Santa’s, Pralines, and stocking stuffers from Lake Champlain.
‘Tis the
Gift Giving
Walter Stewart’s Market 
Your One Stop HOLIDAY Shop
Since 1907
.966.4848* 229 Elm Street * New Canaan * StewartsMarket.com *
December 15, 2011
Last Minute Gift Guide
 Hersam Acorn Newspapers  
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