You know all those favourite little places you have for picking up the things you need or don’t know you need until you see it; the places you have been cultivating for a long time, getting to know the owners, customers coming and going, speaking Italian, practicing your Italian? You’re having so much fun that even if you didn’t need anything, you leave with bags of stuff? Yeah…those places!
And then, HORRORS…either they start dumbing down their dried pasta selections (hey, none of that better quality stuff for you)…so you just stop going, then one of your little places must re-locate due to redevelopment but instead of that they decide to close down. We found out when we ran into the owner of Adelina’s who informed us they would close shop at the end of August. Adelina, the original owner of the shop retired a couple of years ago and since then it has been owned by a non-Italian woman who worked in the store with her. So…slowly, changes have been taking place with more non-Italian products on the shelves. Still, in the mornings the same old crew of customers, some Italian, some not, stopped by to stock up their “dispensa” for the week. A fond farewell to Adelina’s!
That very day, we made our very first visit to an Italian shop called Renzullo Food Market that, for some reason, we had not been to before. We are still scratching our heads as to how it’s possible we could have missed them, since they have been on Nanaimo St. since 1964 for gawds sake! A family owned business with a full deli of Italian salumi, cheeses, panino either to take out or eat in, espresso, a big old table to sit at, extra virgin olive oil in a big vat that is available by the liter, dried pasta and all sorts of jarred and tinned products. Not needing anything that day we left with dried pasta, prosciutto, both crudo and cotto, salami, a hunk of Pecorino, a liter of said olive oil…BTW did I say we didn’t actually need anything??? The staff is absolutely fabulous…friendly…chatting you up. We had a great time just shopping! The only thing missing were the vats of vino sfuso, aka loose wine like you can get in some Italian grocery stores…show up with your empties, refill and off you go.
On the way home with not-needed bags of stuff, we couldn’t help but reminisce about another little, family owned placed we used to go to all the time called Guiseppe’s out on E. Hastings St. We loved this place, not only for the variety of Italian products and a pretty decent lunch, but because of Vitto, the owner, who hailed from Bari, Italy. His wife ran the kitchen and their three daughters worked the front of the shop. It was a sad day indeed, when Vitto told us it was time to sell the business because his daughters weren’t interested in taking over. Often a place is the owner and it certainly was the case with Vitto and Guisseppe’s…
That old saying is true about one door closing and another one opening! Just a chance drop by to see what’s what at Renzullo and we are back in our happy place!