When I was recently invited to drop by Caputo’s Market and Deli in the 15th and 15th neighborhood, I was initially expecting to write up a much different story. I was expecting to regale you with tales of fine cheese, olive oils and their highly regarded deli operation. What I came away with was a much deeper understanding of the underlying values and goals of the whole operation. And mightily impressed I was too, in fact, excited might be the better word.
But first, back to the basics. The new store itself does carry all the items you would expect it to. At 1600sq ft the store is certainly smaller than the venerable downtown location, and therefore carries a more condensed stock of items. Much like the downtown venture, you can pick up your fine cheeses, olive oils, vinegars, meats, pastas and more, but where my afternoon took a turn for the enlightening was the chocolate…
After a brief tour of the store with Matt Caputo, things took a turn for the unexpected when Matt offered to take me on a crash course in fine chocolates. (Interesting fact: Caputo’s carry 400 varieties of fine chocolate, the largest in the US!) I’d previously heard about the various classes offered by Caputo’s and was more than intrigued. The next 90 minutes went by in a flash, as Matt guided me through the very basics of fine chocolate, covering everything from the cacao beans themselves, production and origins, nuances and flavors, history and so much more. So much detail, and yet it was clear I was only getting the 101 and scratching the surface. To listen to Matt wax lyrical was to watch and learn from someone utterly committed and passionate about food. It was a genuinely humbling and giddy experience.
I left that afternoon with a buzz, energised and excited. It was clear Matt has a much greater goal than to merely turn a profit. Caputo’s seeks to offer so much more, to educate and enlighten and to take the massively intimidating world of the gourmet and make it all the more accessible; not to mention their other foodie-centric initiatives like the locavore days where local producers are given the chance to showcase their wares for free.
So to recap, yes the new store on 15th and 15th is a great addition to the neighborhood, but Caputo’s offers so much more. The chance to engage with like minded foodies, to learn and explore. The prices for the fine tasting classes (cheese, chocoloate, oils/veingar) are almost triflingly small at $25, for the sheer wealth of information you will certainly take away (not to mention the delicious samplings). Anyone with a passing interest in all things gourmet owes it to themselves to attend one of their educational events. I’ve got my eyes on the next “Understanding Fine Olive Oil and Vinegar” course, maybe I’ll see you there!
Caputo’s Market and Deli
1516 S. 1500 E. Salt Lake City,UT