The Fresh Market wrapped up a festive October during which it celebrated Italian Heritage Month, National Pasta Month and National Pizza Month. The Greensboro, N.C.-based chain gave shoppers an opportunity to learn about and enjoy authentic Italian imports, including single-sourced Parmigiano-Reggiano, artisan pastas and sauces, vino, pizza, gelato and more.
The month-long event was inspired by a visit to Parma, Italy, by the chain’s head cheese buyer, Andy Harvell, and its communications and community director, Meghan Flynn, who toured different Parmigiano-Reggiano plants to see their process, meet the head cheese makers and taste their various cheese. The duo narrowed it down to eight different producers, each of which sent an 85-pound wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano to its headquarters for a blind cutting with the extended Fresh Market team.
Each wheel was cracked open, and Flynn said Dairy 2121’s 24-month Parmigiano-Reggiano, produced by Santo Stefano for its taste, complexity and appearance, “stood out for its perfect balance of both nutty and fruity flavor profiles and creamy mouthfeel.”
The Fresh Market, which operates 160 stores in 22 states across the U.S., created a video of Harvell’s and Flynn’s visit to Parma, which can be viewed here.
Similar to its Parmigiano-Reggiano sourcing, the chain conducted a similar curation process for its pastas and tomato sauces. While not all hail from Italy, the pastas are all artisan-made and come in unique varieties, many of which are exclusive to The Fresh Market, including Gentile Bucatini Pasta; own-brand frozen ravioli imported from Italy in traditional flavors as well as Pumpkin and Sage, Porcini Mushroom, Mediterranean Eggplant Parmesan and Basil & Mascarpone Mezzelune; and Agromonte Cherry Tomato Sauce from Sicily.
The Fresh Market also recently introduced under its private label brand two Neapolitan frozen pizzas made in Italy. The roasted vegetable and traditional cheese pies are baked in a wood-fired stone oven for an exceptional crust and pair perfectly with a glass of Italian Prosecco, which is bottled in the same region where the pizza is produced.
The chain also promoted authentic Italian extra-virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars hailing from Modena or Reggio Emilia, Italy. The Fresh Market’s private label balsamic vinegar bears the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), both of which attest the authenticity of the region where it is produced and bottled. Additionally, the vinegar is rated with three leaves as part of the Leaves System, which was developed by AIB (the Association of Italian Balsamic Vinegar Tasters).
Imported Italian gelato rounded out The Fresh Market all-things Italy campaign, which highlighted dark chocolate, caramel and cookies, limoncello and sea salt caramel flavors.