A taste of southern Italy is coming to Dobbin Street this April.
On April 5th, husband and wife, Vanessa Rotondi and Matthew Millner, will open The Tasting Room, offering goods imported straight from Puglia (also known as Apulia), a region along the southern tip of Italy.
Just some of the goods the store will be selling include extra virgin olive oil, vegetables, pasta, balsamic vinegar and Taralli, which is a special kind of snack found in that region.
“What makes us unique is that products are entirely Italian and almost exclusively from that region,” said Rotondi. “The products really stand for themselves.”
The Rotondi family hails from the coastal town of Mola di Bari in Puglia. Her parents moved to the United States before she was born, but the family continues to have strong ties to the city and the region. She fondly recalled spending numerous summer vacations with her siblings in the region.
The owners got the idea for the store a few years ago when they began importing items from that area for themselves and to give as Christmas presents to friends.
A number of their friends began inquiring about the products, and Rotondi and Millner thought it would make most sense if they were able to open a small business where they could cater to everyone’s needs.
They spent time with farmers in Italy overlooking the process of making olive oil and other southern Italian goods in order to pick out the best products for their store.
“It’s about being able to create that same cooking experience that I have at home for everyone else in the community,” Rotondi said. “These are all the products you would find regularly in a home in Southern Italy.”
Prices for a bottle of olive oil, which will be available in 20 different flavors including Chili, Rosemary, and Garlic range from $3.99 to as high as $50. Just the other day Rotondi improvised and made popcorn with Rosemary and Chili olive oil, which they said made the experience all the more flavorful and special.
The couple has reservations much like anybody opening a new, independent business in the current economy, but they believe their products will give them an edge.
“We hope for the best,” said Rotondi. “We just hope that people in this community will embrace it just like our friends did.”
For more information on the store visit http://brooklyntastingroom.com/welcome.html.