Picture this – it’s 1984 in Columbus, Ohio and no one (ok, very few people) knew about extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, goat cheese, or slow rise crusty breads. We were amongst the lucky few. Before opening the deli, we were introduced to a few oils, vinegars, breads, cheeses – and knew we needed to explore these glorious foods. We began to study the history of these items and marvel at the legacy – these foods were not made in factories. They were hand made using traditional methods over thousands of years old. We passionately wanted to introduce them to all Velveeta eaters (I was one of those…).
We thought our guests would trip over themselves for the opportunity to sample these unusually delicious foods but as it turned out, we needed to coax a bit – sometimes we needed to coax a lot. Now these foods (and more) are totally mainstream and our job is to help our guests distinguish artisan, hand-made delectables from their factory produced imitators. Oh yes, there is a difference!
We have seized this challenge willingly. Wendy Hunsinger, our Specialty Foods Manager since November, 2005, has spent hours resourcing new products, establishing relationships with small producers, holding tastings, creating flyers we distribute in-house and online (see links at left), managing the production of educational posters, writing a column for This Week Community Newspapers and training an extremely enlightened food loving staff.
Come into Katzinger’s any time and walk right up to samples of oils and vinegars, breads and cheeses, all there just for you. Come, explore, enrich. As my friend, Guy Ford, said to me 25 years ago “You may not be able to afford a Mercedes, but treat yourself to this $25 bottle of balsamic vinegar. It will make you feel just as special.”