Posts by valentes

January’s Curated Cheeses: Hibernation

January 29th, 2019 Posted by Curated Cheeses No Comment yet

January, after the hustle and bustle of the holidays, sometimes all we want to do is retreat into a cave and hibernate! Of course, if I had my pick of caves in which to spend a sleepy weekend, it would definitely be one filled to the brim with ripening cheese! In that spirit, this month I’m featuring Brooklyn’s Crown Finish Caves in our cheese selection. Crown Finish is an affineur – a company that buys very young cheeses from cheesemakers, carefully matures them in temperature and humidity-controlled conditions, and then sells them on to cheese shops and wholesalers once the cheeses have reached an optimal ripeness and desired flavour profile. Located in converted 19th century lagering tunnels in Crown Heights, Crown Finish works primarily with regional cheesemakers in NY and VT – though they make an exception to that norm with a very special cheese – which we of course had to include in our selection!

Bandaged Bismark
Grafton Village Cheese Company, VT
Sheep Milk, Pasteurized ($42/lb)

Named after a famed 19th century ram, Bismark is a sheep’s milk clothbound cheddar made at Grafton Village Cheese Company in Brattleboro. After its arrival at Crown Finish, the cheese is rubbed in smoked lard from Indianapolis-based cured meat company Smoking Goose, and aged for 4-6 months. With its crumbly texture and sweet caramel notes, Bismark is a definite contender for our new favourite dinner party cheese!

Consider Bardwell Farm, VT
Cow and Goat Milk, Raw ($40/lb)

Goatlet is a mixed milk, Italian toma-style cheese made by Consider Bardwell, a small goat farm in Rutland County, VT. A Crown Finish exclusive, Goatlet is made with 20% goats milk and 80% cows milk, released at 4-6 months of age, and took a first prize in its category at the 2017 American Cheese Society competition.

Characterised by a pleasing, moreish saltiness, Goatlet would be my pick this month for a table cheese, lunchbox addition, or pre-dinner appetizer. And if you’re looking to put together a light meal, this cheese would be an ideal companion to cured meats and pickles!

Quattro Portoni, Bergamo, IT
Buffalo Milk, Pasteurized ($36/lb)

Bufarolo is a semi-soft, natural rind buffalo milk cheese made in Northern Italy by Quattro Portoni – a name which some of you may remember from last month’s selection. In December, I brought in Madame Bufala – a cheese made at Quattro Portoni, but aged by Italian stagionatore CasArrigoni. Made via a similar collaboration between Quattro Portoni and Crown Finish, Bufarolo is the only Italian cheese aged there. Bufarolo arrives at Crown Finish completely rindless, and forms its colourful natural rind over the course of 6-8 weeks in the caves. I love its fudgy texture and clean finish, and would recommend it with a prosecco or other sparkling wine.

December’s Curated Cheeses: An Organic Taste of Italy

December 14th, 2018 Posted by Curated Cheeses No Comment yet

For our December artisan cheese selection, we wanted to take it back to our roots and bring you an all-Italian, all-organic roster of cheeses. We worked closely with Pondini, an importer based right here in New Jersey who specializes in sourcing organic cheeses, oils and vinegars from Italy. Come in and taste them all!

Formagella di Montagna
Cow Milk, Raw ($26/lb)

Perhaps my favorite of this month’s selection, Formagella is a subtle crowd-pleaser. A cave-aged, semi-firm cheese with a pretty natural rind, its flavor is mild at first, but quickly opens up to deliver dominant notes of butter and mushrooms. This is an eminently meltable, very snack-able, all-day, every day kind of cheese that will be enjoyed by adults and younger folk alike!

Pecorino Gessato
Fattoria Lischeto, Tuscany
Sheep Milk, Raw ($32/lb)

I couldn’t put together an Italian cheese selection without a Pecorino, and this one is a great example of a classic Tuscan aged Pecorino. While overall less aggressive than a Pecorino Romano, Gessato still maintains the slightly meaty flavor note characteristic of many sheep milk cheeses. Shave this onto pastas and salads, or enjoy as a table cheese with honey and pears!

Madame di Bufala
Quattro Portoni & CasArrigoni, Valtaleggio
Buffalo Milk, Pasteurized ($36/lb)

A very special addition to any holiday cheese board, Madame di Bufala is a Taleggio-style cheese made with water buffalo milk! Buffalo milk is richer, sweeter, and yet milder than the milk of cows or sheep, and cheeses made with their milk tend to be luscious and decadent. Madame di Bufala’s creamy and spreadable paste beautifully balances the funkier notes from its washed rind, making for a cheese we just can’t stop eating.

Entrepreneurs NextDoor

November 18th, 2018 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

A couple of weeks ago the Entrepreneurs NextDoor podcast launched and debuted with a Valente’s interview. We’re honored to be a part of it and think the series is really worth a listen! 

Interviews with Mitch, of Gorshin Trading Post and End of the Earth, and Rocco, of Zaffron are now live too. Both are amazing and really cool stories.

November Cheese Selections: Thanksgiving

November 17th, 2018 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Thanksgiving dominates the November foodscape, and, like your favorite Thanksgiving dishes, our November cheeses are either beloved, award-winning American artisan cheese classics, only available seasonally, or both! In the spirit of the season, I encourage you to buy a large enough wedge to share with your friends and family – pick your favorite, or go with all three for a complete, crowd-pleasing cheese boar


Spring Brook Farm, VT
Cow Milk, Raw

Alpine-style Tarentaise is one of the country’s most celebrated artisan cheeses, and for good reason! Made from Spring Brook’s own herd of cows on their 1,000+ acre farm in a gorgeous part of Vermont, it’s an artisanal American classic that I love to have around for the holiday season. A little sweet and a lot savoury, this versatile cheese is perfect on an appetizer board with cornichons and pickled pearl onions, melted over roasted potatoes alongside caramelized brussels sprouts, or as part of a breakfast spread (or midnight snack…) for hungry houseguests!


Vermont Shepherd, VT
Sheep Milk, Raw

A pioneering, artisan sheep milk cheese producer in both Vermont and the wider US, Vermont Shepherd has been grazing sheep and making their signature French-inspired cheese for over 20 years. As befits the oldest sheep dairy farm in the US, Vermont Shepherd’s products and practices are driven by tradition and closely tied to the seasons. Verano is made only in the summer, while the ewes are outside on pasture, grazing on clover, wild herbs and other grasses. These cheeses are aged 3-5 months and released starting in August, becoming scarce by late fall – and I was lucky enough to score one of the last wheels for Valente’s!

Abruzze Jawn 

Cherry Grove Farm, NJ
Cow Milk, Raw

A natural rinded, Jack-style cheese, Abruzze Jawn has a fun origin story: while experimenting with new flavours for their Jack cheese, the Cherry Grove cheesemakers created a unique spice blend and mixed it into the curds, not knowing how their experiment would turn out. A few months later, they cut into a wheel and realised it tasted just like the Abruzze sausage they used to sell while working as cheesemongers in Philly – and named it accordingly! The resulting cheese was entered in the American Cheese Society competition, winning first prize in its category. It’s now become one of Cherry Grove’s most popular cheeses, and is only made a couple of times a year – so snap it up while you can!

October Cheese Selections

October 12th, 2018 Posted by Curated Cheeses No Comment yet

October is American Cheese Month! We’re celebrating with a selection of cheeses from 3 creameries representing different aspects of the American cheese landscape.

Ben Nevis
Bonnieview Farm, VT
Sheep Milk, Raw ($40/lb)

Made on a fourth generation family farm in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, Ben Nevis is a firm, aged sheep milk cheese named after (in a nod to the farmer’s Scots ancestry) the highest mountain in the UK. It’s salty and savory, with just a touch of the sweet richness characteristic of sheep milk cheeses. Owners Neil and Kristin Urie use only the milk from their own flock of sheep, which they breed seasonally and graze rotationally on their land. Ben Nevis is one of my favorite American sheep cheeses, and not often seen in our area, so I’m really excited to bring it to Valente’s for American Cheese Month!

Boxcarr Handmade Cheese, NC
Cow and Goat Milk, Pasteurized ($32/lb)

Owned and operated by a brother and sister team, Boxcarr Handmade Cheese is a relative newcomer on the American artisan cheese scene – but their Italian-inspired cheeses have already become staples at many of the best cheese counters around the country. Owners and first generation farmers Austin and Samantha Genke make cheese with milk sourced from nearby farms, allowing them to focus exclusively on the cheesemaking and aging process – while providing a valuable sales outlet for dairy farms in their region. Rubbed with paprika and lightly smoked, Redbud is great paired with nuts as a snack or pre-dinner appetizer.

Red Rock
Roelli Cheese Haus, WI
Cow Milk, Pasteurized ($32/lb)

The first thing you notice about Red Rock is its striking, singular appearance. An American original recipe by Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker Chris Roelli, this cheese is made in a long loaf, colored a deep orange red with annatto, and shot through with streaks of blue. Chris, a fourth generation WI cheesemaker with family roots in Switzerland, decided to move away from producing block cheddars on an industrial scale, and instead began making smaller batch, cave-aged cheeses. His technical expertise and years of experience have resulted in award-winning innovations like Red Rock. A great beginners blue cheese, Red Rock’s cheddar base makes it excellent in sandwiches, but it’s best shown off as the centerpiece of a cheeseboard, where all can admire its good looks!

September’s Curated Cheeses: Families & Farms

September 11th, 2018 Posted by Curated Cheeses No Comment yet

Every month, we will bring you a curated selection of three-to-four cheeses built around a specific theme. The theme for September is “Families and Farms.”

Getting set to break bread

June 22nd, 2018 Posted by Updates No Comment yet

Originally, our goal was to open in early Spring. Due to circumstances beyond our control, that did not happen. So, we semi-jokingly stated that we would open on June 20, since that was our last chance to open in the season. Well, it’s officially summer and we’re still plugging away.

We pressed pause on setting up shop at farmers markets recently so that we could work around the clock to open our storefront. Since then, we passed our first inspection and both the plumbing and electrical work are mostly done. The rest of our equipment is with the supplier waiting for us to say it can be delivered.

We are taking care of some cosmetic items ourselves while we stockpile inventory for the shop. Soon enough, we will have a contractor in there to finish up the remaining work. Then we can get the green light from both the borough and the county to open our front door.

Opening day is coming and we hope to be able to announce an official date very soon.

So, what should you expect from Valente’s when we first open?

First and foremost, we plan to scale up at a sustainable and reasonable pace. We believe that will allow us the best control over the quality of the products we make. Our shelves and deli case will contain imported products, locally-made items, cured meats and cheeses, etc. In the kitchen, we will churn out our the standard pasta, cheese, sauce, meatball, dessert, and other lines we’ve brought to our farmers markets. We’ll also have a select menu of freshly prepared meals in our fridge that will be available on the Mercato page of our site, which will be updated regularly.

The menu will expand in due time and we will add offerings, such as delivery.

We’re in this for the long haul, not to make a big splash and quickly fade away. As residents of this community, we want to grow and adapt with you. We want to hear your feedback after you shop with us and provide you with the items you want and the foods you like the most. While we have big plans and a number of things in the works already, we will devote our focus to one thing at a time.

Throughout the summer, we will be open from Thursday through Sunday, 11:00 – 7:00. When Fall rolls around, we will likely add on Wednesday with the goal of being open six days a week at some point in the near future.

What are we?

May 12th, 2018 Posted by Updates No Comment yet

7 Kings Court, Haddonfield, NJ 08033

Over the last year+, we have established ourselves as a mobile vendor and caterer. Now that we are opening a brick and mortar location in the heart of Haddonfield, we should dive a little deeper into that concept.

Let’s start by stating what we are not. Valente’s is not a pizzeria, nor is it a sandwich shop. It’s is not a sit-down restaurant and it is most definitely not an expansive assembly line establishment.

Valente’s brick and mortar location is built in the image of Philadelphia’s Italian Market shops like the original DiBruno Bros. and Claudio’s. It is an intimate establishment that makes use of every inch of space available to bring you as wide an assortment of Italian goods as possible.

We will have imported and local cured meats as well as a rotating selection of cheeses carefully curated by an industry veteran. We will grate your favorite cheese for you. We will have locally-sourced wheat berries that we will grind into flour for you. We’ll slice deli meats like Prosciutto di Parma, Mortadella, Capicola, Pancetta, Lonza, Guanciale, and Bresaola.

Our store will have a small selection of pasta making equipment and books, not unlike what you might find at Fante’s. There will be Nutella, Brioschi, ‘Nduja, Bottarga, anchovies, olives, and more.

We’ll have cooking demos in the store, offer a kids’ summer camp, and come out to your home to host wine-and-dine cooking classes for you and your friends and/or family.

Most significantly, we will now offer gourmet grab-and-go meals, from salads to desserts and everything in between. These meals will come in different portions, so you can find what suits you best, whether you’re dining alone or have a big family to feed. This menu will contain staple items, like chicken parmigiana, Abruzzese classics, and specials featuring locally sourced, seasonal ingredients.

The heart of our business will not change. We will still make fresh pasta, cheeses, breads, and other offerings we have brought to the Farmers Markets. We’re just growing and trying to fill a need we truly believe exists here in Haddonfield.

The plan is ambitious but the intention is to grow at a sustainable clip, well beyond what is listed here. Those plans will be revealed when the time is right, though.

As we get closer to our opening day, we encourage you to reach out to us via email, Facebook, Twitter, or by phone at (856) 298-1937 and let us know what Italian products you have really been missing and would like to see. We will do our best to accommodate you.

In the meantime, please feel free to sign up to our mailing list, follow this blog, or like us on social media for updates on the progress of our store and to find out where you’ll be able to find us at Farmers Markets and special events.

We really look forward to serving you in a town that we not only love but are proud to call home!

Happy Holidays: Gift Card Giveaway!

December 21st, 2017 Posted by Giveaways No Comment yet

The holiday season is upon us and we’re giving away a $25 Valente’s gift card as our way of saying thank you to our customers.

So, what do you have to do to be entered? Nothing, really. If you’ve purchased an item from us and we have your contact info, participated in our CSP, follow us on any of our social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), or subscribe to our mailing list, then you are good to go!

There’s still time to do any of those things if you haven’t already to qualify.

We want to give you your first Christmas present. So, we will randomly choose a winner on December 24. How will we choose the winner? The same way all of my decisions are made, by letting my kids pick!


Valente’s joins Rittenhouse Square Farmers’ Market

August 20th, 2017 Posted by Events, Updates No Comment yet

We are pleased to announce that Farm to City has asked us to join the Rittenhouse Square Farmers’ Market.

Starting on September 9, you will be able to find us there every Saturday from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. We will be located on the 18th Street of the market. Rittenhouse Square is a year-round market and, with the exception of a few weeks where there are special events taking place in the square — the next two are September 16 and October 14 — we will be there for all of your Italian food needs.

This market is an addition to our ever-growing list of markets and will not impact our attendance at the Haddonfield Farmers’ Market.

We are honored to fill the shoes of Vera Pasta as they move on to bigger and better things.

A special thanks goes out to Jon Glyn at Farm to City for inviting us.