The Italian Pantry is a small Italian grocer located on the western end of Monkland Avenue in NDG. Since opening, the store and it’s two owners Steve and Fiorino Marcone have become an integral part of the neighbourhood and our go to for meals, ingredients, and advice. Plus, they quickly became friends with half the neighbourhood. The fact that I can walk into the store and they know me (and that whatever I need to buy can contain no mushrooms) is what make independent neighbourhood stores like theirs so special.
Steve studied cooking at the age of 17 and lived in the Pesaro, Italy further familiarizing himself with Italian cuisine. Together with his brother Fiorino they dreamed of opening up an authentic Italian grocer where they could sell everything Italian. In addition to a range of top quality ingredients, they also hand select local ingredients that they feel work alongside the Italian products. They are known for their knowledge of food, excitement and passion for their products.
When I asked Steve what he wished people would try more of, his answer surprised me. It was the simple ingredients which make the base of so many Italian meals – pasta and olive oil. He explained that so many people invest in their ingredients, but then choose a crummy pasta or olive oil to serve to their guests. It was clear that education was the key, and one of the ways they are able to do that is through their private dinners they host in store. This way, the brothers can showcase their products and explain why one olive oil or pasta is better than another in addition to serving up a 5-6 service meal. Their knowledge is one of the reasons people choose to shop at their store, and the brothers will help you choose that perfect olive oil, rice, or pasta explaining why it works.
Another way to try out a selection of ingredients is to let Steve or Fiorino put together a gift bag which would make a great holiday or hostess gift. Just let them know your price point, and if you have an idea of what you are looking for, and they will do the rest.
I encourage you to check out their fine store, for both their products and their advice. And get yourself some good olive oil and pasta for your next dinner party!
Private Dinners for 4 – 8 people
Menu not known in advance, and everyone is served the same items
$75 per head
The Italian Pantry