I had an amazing experience at one of my favorite local Italian establishments. I say establishments because it's beyond just a restaurant and even for those that follow my blog around the world you can still appreciate the passion that one business has for Italian food and wine and this is what my blog is all about. I have an admiration for those that have such true passion and desire and can turn that into making their dreams become a reality.
I toured the Tuscan Market in Salem, New Hampshire, part of the Tuscan Brands. It was kicked off by the man behind this vision, Joe Faro. Joe's vision started back in college where he made his business plan developed in school into a reality when he opened Joseph's Gourmet Pasta and Sauces that became one of the top pasta brands across the country. He would drop off samples of his pasta to businesses around the Boston area to anyone that he could. His facility grew to 150,000 square feet with 7 lines running at 3,000 pounds of pasta an hour. The business grew rapidly and in 2006 he sold off the business to Nestle. After a brief retirement Joe's entrepreneurial spirit and passion for artisan foods brought him back to the business when he had the opportunity to establish what is known today as the Tuscan Brands that opened in November 2010 including the Tuscan Kitchen in both Salem, NH and Burlington, MA and later the Tuscan Market in 2012.
Joe Faro, of Sicilian heritage, has
made over a hundred trips to Italy and does a tremendous business
with businesses all throughout Italy from Sicily to Lake Como, Emilia
Romagna and Bologna. All the equipment at the Tuscan Market is
imported from Italy as well as the ingredients that are developed
into some of the freshest and delicious Italian food you can get
without being in Italy. According to Joe it's very important for him
to stay true to the brand and create a culinary innovation in artisan
|Joe Faro, Owner of Tuscan Brands (Tuscan Kitchen & Tuscan Market)|
The Behind the Scenes Operations
We were led throughout the tour by Executive Chef Edward Payne whom has worked with Joe for over 15 years. The passion from everyone we met throughout the tour demonstrated what makes this business so special.
The behind the scenes of the operations of the Tuscan Market was eye opening. There were seperate stations and rooms for everything including the bakery, pizza stations, pastry shop “pasticerria”, pasta facility, butchery and a salami fermentation room where they are aging their own homemade salami.
When most of us are sleeping these operations are getting kicked off at 3am when the bread bakers are up producing high quality breads to support all aspects of the Tuscan Brands business. Both restaurants have either a wood stone oven or an earth stone oven that can go up to 800 degrees and cook a pizza in 2 minutes and 20 seconds. Joe says that for them “pizza is a sport”. So if you've never played sports consider yourself an athlete in your lifetime! ; )
Knowing the background that Joe comes from in relations to pasta it's no surprise that this is a major part of the business and personally for me what I enjoy about the food here. They make so many specialty pastas including ravioli, cannelloni, sacchetti, tortellini, cappellacci. The list goes on. Times have changed though from when Joe Faro had his first business. Then they used whole purpose flour and whole eggs to now using 00 flour and egg yolks. Many restaurants that make homemade pasta sheets will roll it out twice where they are rolling it out 6 times so it's beautifully thin and light.
The future of the Tuscan Brands
Lots of exciting happenings including in the future of the Tuscan Brands with an online retail part of the business where you can get the products shipped directly to your door. Custom pasta machines have been designed for Joe by an equipment manufacturer right outside Lake Como Italy and the pasta products will soon soon be found at specialty shops. There are even talks about opening another Tuscan Kitchen restaurant. If you haven't been you must go and if you've gone you already know what a treat this business for true lovers of Italian food.
More to come
Stay tuned this week for Part 2 to see the wonderful meal preparations and food and wine pairings at the Tuscan Market and meet a couple other key players in the overall operations including your favorite and mine, Italian wine. The pictures alone will make you salivate so bring your appetites!