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To Market, To Market: Jamming With Stefano


Stefano Frigerio is still cooking. (The Copper Pot Food Company)

Whatever happened to Stefano Frigerio? Well, the former right-hand toque to Fabio Trabocchi at Maestro may have been absent from Washington-area restaurants since his departure from Mio nine months ago, but that doesn't mean he's stopped cooking. When he left behind those 16-hour days to spend more time with his young children, Frigerio, 36, kept patronizing the farms that had supplied his restaurants. He bought up their surplus produce and started turning it into jams, tomato sauces and vinegars. (To Frigerio, in-home preserving is the most natural thing in the world; it was a must in his family when he was growing up in northern Italy.)

He kept buying, and he kept canning. When the stockpile reached 500 jars and threatened to take over the children's playroom, his wife, PR maven Dusty Lockhart, suggested that he start selling them. Actually, "suggested" is too mild. "I demanded," she said. The Copper Pot Food Co. was born.

Appropriately enough, Frigerio will sell his products at six area farmers markets, starting with my favorite, the fabulous 14th and U Market, which opens for the season tomorrow. On the product list: four savory sauces, five jams, a dipping oil, two vinegars, eight fresh pastas and three dried pastas, all of them handcrafted. I haven't had the chance to taste any of these yet, but given Frigerio's great work at Mio and Maestro, I'll go out on a limb here and predict greatness. Besides, the names alone make me envision the dinner party possibilities: Roasted shallot and Barolo sauce over braised rabbit ravioli, anyone?


Peach and prosecco, strawberry and vanilla bean, and white fig and balsamic jams. (The Copper Pot Food Company)

As a committed jam maker myself, though, it's those that have me most excited. Concord grape and grappa? Bring it on. I'm always looking for interesting combinations that don't suffer from what, in my book, has to be the most common jam problem there is: cloying sweetness. (I'm talking about you, Stonewall Kitchen.) I promise that once I taste Stefano's jams, if I love them, I'll do my best to rope the chef into joining me for a jam session, the results of which I'll put here or in the print section. Recipes included, naturally.

-- Joe Yonan

By Joe Yonan  |  May 1, 2009; 2:30 PM ET
Categories:  Sustainable Food , To Market, To Market  | Tags: farmers markets, jam  
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Comments

That jam session sounds fantastic - if the two of you get together how about broadcasting it live via webcam on www.chef2video.com?

Posted by: cristianC2V | May 1, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

What are the other five? I'm in NoVa, so prefer to stay local. Perhaps Courthouse, Columbia Pike or King Street?

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 1, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

According to the web site, besides 14/U, he's selling in DC at:
--Bloomingdale FM
Sundays 11am - 1pm
--Georgetown FM
Wednesdays 3pm-6pm

And in Virginia, at:
--Fairfax FM
Tuesdays 8am - Noon
Van Dyck Park on Old Lee Highway
--Vienna/Oakton FM
Wednesdays 8am - Noon
Oakmarr Rec Center
--Herndon Farmer’s Market
Thursdays 8am – Noon
The Red Caboose (777 Lynn St.)

Posted by: Joe Yonan | May 1, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

I got to the market at 11 and much of the pasta & jam was already gone! I scored some sausage & sage ravioli which was incredible and a ridiculously good jar of blackberry ginger jam, which we polished off by this morning. I'm going early next week! Thanks for the post!

Posted by: AJones4 | May 4, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

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