Joy of Fats in Rochester

May 10th, 2011 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

Cheeses, ice cream, patés — things that are good in the mouth — are popular in at least one shop at the Rochester (NY) Pubic Market. We had our first breakfast there this weekend and shall be back.

Regular readers know my feelings about this market (like here). I’ll note it one last time, with jealousy, resentment and admiration, that this one is bigger, more diverse, better, open more days (3), and has vastly more local produce, plants, pies and even wine than Boston’s.

When we pick up or unload #2 son and his possessions at college, we normally stay at a hotel-like-object with a breakfast. We did not Friday/Saturday and figured to eat at one of the coffee shops at the market. The Latino/hippie one was no longer in business, so we scouted. The first three were full of pastry scoffers and besides we wanted some protein instead of sugar.

Ah, but the fourth place in turned out to be the right option. We initially thought a cheese shop would not suit. Hah!


VM Giordano Imports was a marvel from many angles. There little chalkboard that read they had breakfast was the lure.

Inside, it was all sights and smells to titillate gourmands and gourmets alike. The counters and coolers had perhaps 200 different cheeses, far beyond anything I’d seen, certainly in Boston. Other coolers had dozens of hams, sausages and patés, and the racks behind the registers were a quilt of light to tan to black homemade loaves, rolls and bagels.

It’s open on two of the three days, not Tuesday, but Thursday and Saturday. It was an anthill of customers. There’s a row of maybe 10 stools by a wall bar and four tables for two to four. Nearly everyone was shopping the market and apparently made Giordano’s part of the weekly run.

While we waited for our breakfast specials (smoky Italian ham, and egg and goat cheese on an Asiago or pumpernickel bagel for us, at $4 per, including a 12-ounce coffee), we saw and heard food joy.

I also learned that the Spanish blue cheese was the strongest flavored of the type they ever had. Perhaps I should have taken a chance on some, but did not because it was a warm day and we had 10 or so hours before getting home. The elderly man who ordered some for two salads he would make got a finger of it (turned out to be 0.2 pounds) and left grinning in anticipation. Many other customers either came in for specific favorites or tried slivers before deciding on cheeses, sausages, and patés.

A good advertisement for the store was the food orientation of the staff. None of the five was chubby, but they nibbled too and spoke knowledgeably to customers about the goods. They had their own favorites and enjoyed suggesting uses and pairings.

There seemed to be food life beyond Giordano’s too. The customers turned the conversation to ice cream and anticipation of the area’s seasonal parlors. Someone asked whether Shark’s was open. I had never heard of it, but one of the clerks said he’d just been by and their season had not started.

Then there was a chorus of raves. Staff and customers alike outdid each other with praise for Shark’s (Custard & Ice Cream). It was the area’s best, no the world’s best, yes and with the highest butterfat content of any, and with the best choices of flavors, and a reason to survive the arctic-style winters.

I just visit Rochester a few times a year. Shark’s was new to me. I’ll fix that the next time we go. The world’s best ice cream in a cultural hole somewhere about 15 miles South of a city no place in particular sounds like a destination.

We came away with one new favorite and the potential for a second. That’s a food lover’s reward for a road trip.


2 Responses

  1. Kelly KH says:

    Now darn it, if I had known you were in town, I would have treated you to some empanadas at the market. Keep me posted for your next visit. I’d love to meet you in person!

  2. Harrumpher says:

    I’ll keep that in mind for the next swing. We haven’t even gone to the Rochester UU church. Yet we know of its history and current fame.

Leave a Reply