Exploring a new grocery store is a fun way to spend time with little ones, and I haven’t met a kid yet who doesn’t love searching out interesting new ingredients to take home and test. Small markets like the Italian Supermarket (265 - 20 Avenue NE, italiansupermarket.com) are comfortable and not overwhelming, with Emilio’s friendly family members behind the deli counter and manning the wood-fired pizza oven, sliding in and out the best, most authentic pizzas in the city every Saturday afternoon. At the Italian Supermarket, you’ll find the widest array of pasta shapes imaginable, rices, preserves, beans and cheeses, and frozen-filled pasta (my two-year-old’s favorite is the green pea mascarpone ravioli; they also have some that are ricotta-filled, wrapped in a chocolate dough) hand-made by the owner’s wife, Lina. (It’s the same stuff they serve at the Hyatt!) You can even pick up a ball of fresh frozen pizza dough for 75 cents.
But back to the pizza. In a take-out pizza world, I think it’s important to introduce our kids to real pizza made with the best ingredients – quality over quantity rather than vice versa – and to see how they are actually made is a fun bonus. If you yearn for true Italian but fear bringing your kids to Pulcinella, yet don’t want to settle for take-out pizza, bring the family to the Italian Supermarket on a Saturday afternoon. Their pizzas are a steal – one extra large size for $13.99, and have chewy, bulbous crusts onto which your choice of ingredients (think prosciutto, real Italian salamis, rapini, roasted peppers, artichokes, bocconcini) are spread before sliding into a wood-fired oven, which imparts a deliciously charred, smokey flavor. You can peek inside from your table (they have a few) and watch them bubble, or order one to bake while you shop, then take it home or to a nearby park while it’s still warm enough for a picnic.The Italian Supermarket is at 265 - 20 Avenue NE, 277-7875, italiansupermarket.com.
Julie is a best selling cookbook author, food writer, cooking instructor and the food and nutrition columnist on the Calgary Eyeopener on CBC radio. She lives in Calgary with her husband and
her son, Willem. Watch for her new cooking show, It’s Just Food, with co-host Ned Bell, to air on Access TV and CLT stations across Canada this fall. For recipes and daily ramblings visit her blog at dinnerwithjulie.com.
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