Caputo’s Annual Chocolate Festival

The fifth annual Caputo’s Chocolate Festival is just around the corner. This event sells out each year, and features some of the region’s best chefs and chocolate makers. Additionally, each year one chocolate maker is spotlighted, and this year the spotlight shines on one of our own: local chocolate producer Amano Chocolate.

Amano was part of the first wave of craft chocolate makers in the US. When they got started there were only about 14 other chocolate makers, including giants like Hershey’s. Now there are hundreds. Amano’s chocolate making style is one of a kind. One the scale from loud, brash American to sophisticated European, Amano achieves what makes each style great, without sacrifice. -Matt Caputo

This year’s culinary lineup includes Briar Handly and Alexa Norlin of HSL, Courtney McDowell of Pallet, Akane Nakamura of Naked Fish, Amber Billingsley of Amour Cafe, and Alicia Pacheco of Publik Kitchen. Amazing chocolate will be the main player in all of their creations.

Wine will be supplied by Libation, beer by Avenues Proper, craft cocktails mixed by Water Witch Bar, and coffee by La Barba.

The chocolate festival takes place on Thursday, November 17th. Doors open at 7pm at Caputo’s Deli downtown (314 W 300 S). Admission $35, plus $15 for the optional alcohol beverage pairings. Tickets must be purchased in advance by calling (801) 531-8669 or visiting Caputo’s Deli online.

All proceeds from this event will be donated to the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Initiative.

 

Cheesommelier?

Congratulations to Matt Caputo and Troy Peterson of Caputo’s Deli.

They passed a rigorous certification test by the American Cheese Society and are now recognized as Certified Cheese Professionals (think sommeliers of cheese). This is the first year this certification has been offered, and only 121 people in the nation received the designation–Caputo and Peterson being the only two in Utah.

Matt mentioned that he has a few new cheese projects on the horizon. Can’t wait to hear what he has planned.

Caputo’s Butcher Shop

If I had to pick just one local shop that has done more to elevate Salt Lake City’s tastes regarding food and the culture that surrounds it, I’d have to pick Caputo’s. I remember watching Tony do his cooking spot on TV when I was younger, and then be in awe when I saw him energetically working behind the deli counter between shooting his TV spots in the back of their old shop right on the corner of 3rd W and Broadway. I remember walking through their shop, admiring the gorgeous, multi-colored bottles of imported water, olive oil, and vinegar. They cared (and still do) about their food and ingredients, and they remain one of my favorite haunts in Salt Lake City.

Caputo’s has evolved over the years. What was once a tiny deli and sandwich shop is now a shop that offers an olive oil and vinegar tasting bar, a gorgeous and huge selection of fine chocolates from around the world, a wonderful deli meat counter, a wide selection of some of the world’s best cheeses, salumi, pasta, sauces, jams, beverages, cheese cave, and educational classes to help us expand our palates and knowledge.

And now they’ve taken the next step in their evolution by opening Caputo’s Butcher Shop. The shop will only sell Heritage meats–animals that have been humanely raised and pasture-fed by ranchers that understand that there’s more to it than just making money. The shop will sell Christiansen Family Farms pork, Snowy Mountain lamb, and Pleasant Creek Ranch beef. Goat and chicken will be coming soon.

Frody Volgger, formerly of Vienna Bistro, is the in-house butcher. Frody closed down his vaunted Vienna Bistro a few years ago when he was battling cancer and he realized he needed to focus on his treatment. Now, in his recovery period, he found himself curing meats and giving them away to friends and family. He said that during the last holiday season he cured over 1,000 pounds of meat for friends and family. So it was a rather fortuitous meeting between Matt and Frody that ended up with them deciding to open a butcher shop at Caputo’s.

Frody is more than happy to do special cuts or take special orders for meat. So if you’re in the need of a special cut of meat, chances are he’ll be able to do it for you. And he’ll happily share recipe ideas as well.

In addition to butchering, Frody is also preparing a special line of their preservative-free, house-cured meats. Everything from ham, chorizo, and other sausages will be featured in the butcher case. We tried a wide variety of their offerings and they are indeed tasty.

The next time you’re in Caputo’s swing around the corner, walk past the balsamic vinegars and olive oil, and check out their butcher case. Say hi to Frody. Ask him to tell you about the meat. He’ll be glad you did.

You can find more photos on Flickr

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