Named Best Honey in 2008 by the Dallas Observer, Round Rock Honey's 100% natural local wildflower honey is harvested from more than 90 sites by owners Konrad and Elizabeth Bouffard and their crews of trained beekeepers. With precision, they remove the liquid gold from hives by centrifuge, ensuring that pollen, trace minerals, and complex sugars are never compromised during the honey harvest. They then pour the honey through a stainless-steel sieve to remove potential bee legs and wings, wax caps, and miniature tiaras before bottling it and selling it to specialty stores, farmer's market visitors, and online customers.
A similar procedure happens in other parts of the country at Round Rock's beekeeping schools. During classes, Konrad Bouffard and Beekeeping Academy teachers impart their beekeeping knowledge upon suited-up students while they extract honey from a live beehive. Along the way, novices learn about the finer points of raising bees and keeping them healthy, as well as bee handling and lullaby-buzzing.
When Prisco's Fine Foods opened in 1926, there were no shopping carts rattling down its aisles; the store was housed in the first floor of Tony and Mary Prisco's home, where they won over customers with humor and personal attention. Today, the store has moved into a modern location, but continues to specialize in Italian cuisine and fresh produce. An array of olive oils, herbs, and tomato products is available from both domestic and overseas sources. The store's staff also makes pastas, sauces, and pizzas in-house, providing materials for easily assembled family dinners or at-home Double Dare competitions. Butchers prepare fresh meat that is cut or ground on the premises and never cryogenically preserved. They expertly slice up Aurora Angus beef, Seaboard all natural pork, and Amish chicken, as well as over 30 kinds of housemade sausage, including italian sausage and bratwurst.
Adi Mor opened the first Garden Fresh Market in 1980, selling fresh produce from a 1,000-square-foot lot in Skokie, which he would stock by taking 2 a.m. trips to Chicago's South Water market. Today, Garden Fresh Market sprawls over six suburban locations, where fresh produce from apples to zucchinis is still procured daily.
Grocery items range from fresh meat from Midwest famers to a wide selection of ethnic foods and national brands. The deli slices meats and cheeses both domestic and imported, and house-made seasonal salads and main courses make bringing dinner home easier than stealing it from a neighbor's windowsill. Many of the market's online recipes have even made it onto NBC5, giving its cooks their share of 15 minutes of fame.
The staff at Olives-4-You instructs culinary pupils on how to prepare traditional French desserts, creating a toothsome survey of the land. Students whip up crème brûlée, crepe suzette, and tarte tatin, forging classic sweet treats of varying density and richness. While crafting the Grand Marnier soufflé, foodies bolster the notoriously fickle dish with a splash of tasty liqueur, much as trainers build the courage of their pet dogs before taking the stage at a breed show. Instructors also teach pupils how to make flourless chocolate cake that handily shortens the FDA-mandated ingredients list that must be read to friends before eating. As they cook up a storm, guests can soak in the Mediterranean décor, which includes tiled floors, brick archways, and a grove of olive trees in the coat closet.
With locations throughout the Midwest, Vision Center At Meijer's eye mavens outfit more than 700 frames with lenses carefully crafted in their own laboratory to specifically suit the eyes and face of each patient. Doctors demonstrate their care for patients' eyes by making sure all of them have a precise, up-to-date prescription. The center also works to keep frame prices low to help more patients find pairs of glasses within their price ranges.
Zeppe's Italian Market is modeled after the diverse, gourmet-focused markets found in Italy. Dedicated to bestowing customers with the freshest ingredients they can find, Zeppe's staff painstakingly prepare handmade meatloaf and cannoli and slice deli meats and cheeses at the moment they're ordered to keep them as flavorful as possible. The market also sells five homemade sauces that star a bevy of flavors, including the portobello mushrooms and bell peppers of the garden sauce and the creamy tomato notes and strident requests for a martini olive radiating from the vodka sauce. Zeppe's team of culinary masters also features freshly baked goods from Palermo Bakery and specialty grocery items imported from across the pond.
The Olive Gallery is more than a boutique store. It is a tasting room set up in the style of a Tuscan kitchen, a place to immerse oneself in flavor and explore the unexpected possibilities of artisan olive oils and vinegars. The room is filled with stainless-steel kegs called fustis, each filled with traditional, first-cold-pressed olive oils from locales such as Italy, California, Greece, or Chile. Some are filled with flavored oils, great for marinating meats or daubing onto pulse points, whereas others carry aged, flavored, or white balsamic vinegars.
The helpful staff members dole out storage tips and recipe advice for making the most of their wares, which include kitchen tools and specialty foods such as gourmet dip-mixes, spices, rubs, stuffed olives, and pastas. They also tout the health benefits of incorporating olive oil into your diet, citing lowered blood pressure, improved glycemic control, and possible anti-aging effects.