Sunday, May 31, 2020
In Search of Gourmet Finds
Mark Caraluzzi has curated a small but select assortment of wines, soda wines, sparkling waters and ciders.
Tuesday, October 1, 2019


The Wood River Valley Farmers Market may be winding down. But that doesn’t mean the adventure of shopping for secret food finds has to end.

Ketchum Kitchens has opened a new corner of its store to a variety of gourmet foodstuffs curated by Mark Caraluzzi, a longtime gourmand who headed up Ciro Restaurant and now runs the lunch program for the Sun Valley Community School.

Caraluzzi and Ketchum Kitchens John Melin have searched high and low for interesting, top-notch items that can’t be found elsewhere in town.

Mama Lil’s Lilbeans, Hungarian Goathorn Peppers and Bread and Butter Pickles and Peppers contain such surprises as a hint of maple flavor.

“Atkinsons’ Market has a lot of fine products. We’re trying to find things they don’t have,” said Melin, who is a major owner of four different companies, including Smith Optics.

Caraluzzi and Melin launched their search for natural, organic products, starting with the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, Calif. The food show attracted about 7,000 people when it started. Today it attracts 85,000 people to its four-day expo showcasing hundreds of items.

Ketchum Kitchens launched its gourmet market this past month with organic wines from Italy, Oregon and Washington.

It has what Caraluzzi says are the best beans in America.

“If you’re going to buy just one thing in the store, buy an Instapot multicooker to cook them,” he added.

There’s Gates BBQ sauce, which provides a not-so-sweet barbecue sauce from Kansas City’s landmark barbecue restaurant, along with MFT BBQ Sauce from Boise and a Thai Basil Peanut Sauce for wok night.

Mama Lil’s Pickled Asparagini offers a crisp, spicy fat free treat or salad topper, alongside Mama Lil’s pickled Hungarian goathorn peppers, which are perfect for meaty hot sandwiches or some of Ketchum Kitchen’s Humboldt Fog goat milk cheese named for the ocean fog that rolls in from Humboldt Bay.

France’s star A L’Olivier Extra Virgin Olive Oil, introduced in Paris in 1822, heads up a large specialty oil and vinegar section that includes fig, orange and passion fruit flavors.

There’s a line of Robert Rothschild Farm products, including ginger wasabi sauce and raspberry salsa made from plump tomatoes, chilies and raspberries.

Fireside Marshmallows that come in salted caramel, banana bread and mint chocolate chip flavors stand ready to turn that simple camping dessert—s’mores—into a gourmet affair.

And you can wash it all down with Vignette Wine Country Soda, a refreshing drink that is part wine and part soda. Or, Topo Chico, a refreshing, low-in-sugar, slightly flavored carbonated water that is among Caraluzzi and Melin’s personal favorites.

Locally made items include Hangar Bread, which is handcrafted in a Hailey hangar by Roman Chavez and delivered fresh every Tuesday and Friday morning.

“It takes two to three days from start to finish but the flavor of the starter is amazing,” said Vincent Carpenter, who baked specialty breads before become Ketchum Kitchens’ store manager. “It has an incredible flavor and texture and will keep for two to three days.”

Caraluzzi and Melin say they will keep adding to the corner.

“Portland, Ore., for instance has some great artisan food culture and some amazing stuff. And we’ll find other things from all over the country.”




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