Last week, I had an opportunity to check out the new BarMozza restaurant and market at Alimento when I was invited to their media event. As soon as I walked in I fell in love with the place as I was greeted by great smells coming from the kitchen and a beautiful setup of two long tables to seat all of the guests. The brick walls and wooden floors added warmth to the room and I instantly felt right at home in the space.
With a drink in hand, we set off on a tour of Alimento which is an Italian market, bakery and restaurant (BarMozza) all under one roof. I experienced foodie sensory overload as there was so much goodness to take in all at once. Racks and racks of Italian specialty products filled the market, including high-end pastas, gluten-free items, gorgeous fresh produce, an antipasto bar, pre-made meal area, a beautiful bakery case and the best-looking cheese counter I’ve seen since my trip to Italy last year. There were so many cheeses available (over 140 types) that my head was spinning as I wanted to try each and every one. I could easily spend hours wandering through Alimento to check out their goodies!
While on the tour, I found out that the owners of Alimento also own the six Grande Cheese locations in the GTA and it explained everything. I live near the Grande Cheese location in Richmond Hill and it’s my favourite local shop for specialty Italian products and some of the best pizza I’ve ever had. Alimento is on another level entirely and it reminded me of some of the sophisticated gourmet food shops I had visited in Europe and the U.S. It’s a perfect fit with all of the creative agencies, clubs and restaurants that fill the King West area.
After seeing all of the fresh produce, the bakery and the great selection of cheeses I couldn’t wait to have dinner at BarMozza. We started with family-style appetizer platters filled with an assortment of cheeses, meats and bread. The fine folks at Alimento were kind enough to serve me a vegetarian-friendly plate of cheeses to start off my meal and with that, I knew that I needed to buckle my seatbelt for the long foodie ride ahead…
I started with the Verde Salad which contained green beans, garlic, tons of delicious pistachios and aged Caciocavallo cheese with a lemon vinaigrette. It was a nice, fresh and hearty salad that was a great example of how delicious vegetarian food could really be.
Next up was the Risotto Nella Ruota which contained Arborio rice, cream, Parmigiano cheese and Tartufo Nero (black truffle). We watched Chef Joe Friday prepare it in a hollowed-out Parmigiano wheel, scraping tasty bits of Parmigiano cheese into the risotto as he stirred. It was delicious but it was hands down the richest risotto I had ever tried, so I was only able to handle only a few spoons of it.
Just when I thought I had eaten enough, my main dish arrived and it was lasagna with tomato sauce, Fior di Latte, Basil Ricotta and spinach. It was so delicious that I ate the whole thing and I would have licked the last of the basil pesto off of my plate if I wasn’t in mixed company : )
We ended off with Pasticcini Misti, a mixed board of pastries to share from Alimento’s pastry team. One of my favourites was the Pine Nut Honey Tart Cake, which surprised me as I’m not usually a fan of pine nuts. The pine nuts were cooked in a honey topping, so they ended up soft and creamy, which was a great contrast to the tart crust.
A tasty dark chocolate tart with pistachios was a hit in my books as well. After visiting Italy last year, I’ve become a bit of an espresso connoisseur and I will only order it if I’m in a true Italian establishment. Alimento’s espresso definitely hit the spot and was the perfect end to a great meal!
See you soon Alimento, this vegetarian will definitely be back!
Alimento Fine Food Emporium
522 King Street West
Tel: (416) 362 – 0123
Facebook: Alimento Fine Food Emporium