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Stamford Market Undergoes Gourmet Renovations

STAMFORD, Conn. – After 85 years in business, and several incarnations, LaRocca’s Country Market is undoubtedly a North Stamford institution of gourmet convenience.

Still, Tommy LaRocca, a third-generation owner and manager of the market, is keeping things fresh.

“We just recently went through a huge renovation,” says LaRocca of the family business. “We changed a lot of things. The catalyst was to make the store more energy efficient.”

In bringing about more energy efficiency, LaRocca also saw an opportunity to improve upon the quality and service people in the neighborhood have come to trust.

“We’re the only market within five miles,” he says proudly. “And the only independently owned full-service market in Stamford.”

Recently, LaRocca treated me to a market tour of the fully renovated space — complete with house made samples.

“We make almost all our prepared foods from scratch,” he says. From the pesto to the paninis, LaRocca’s creates plenty of specialty salads, dishes and sauces to satisfy almost every appetite. The staff uses top-quality ingredients in each.

“The trend is really moving toward organic and natural foods,” LaRocca says. “So we’ve created a whole organic section for produce and meats. We have a lot of local produce, too.”

Additionally, LaRocca’s offers a large selection of wild caught fresh fish, and even uses antibiotic and hormone-free Bell & Evans chicken in the market’s prepared foods.

“We have certified black Angus meats. And we grind all our beef in house,” he says.

Discerning foodies also will find D’artagnian products at LaRocca’s, a specialty brand of gourmet and hard-to-find foods.

LaRocca, a local businessman himself, is a champion of smaller, locally made brands like In A Jar Foods , a line of organic baking mixes sold in jars created by Darien native Kristen Farrell; Chiappetta Olive Oil , a gourmet line of extra virgin olive oil products imported and sold by a Stamford family; and Norwalk’s Wave Hill Breads .

“I love supporting the local people,” says LaRocca. “I’m really passionate about it.”

LaRocca’s also offers plenty to eat for those on specialty diets, including gluten-free and vegan. Shoppers can find dairy products from the area, a large kosher selection and even imported beers.

Happily, for those who frequent LaRocca’s during off hours, you may be treated to a sighting of screen legend and Stamford resident Gene Wilder . During my visit, Wilder was filling his shopping basket quietly when LaRocca made the introductions. Wilder was gracious and enthusiastic. “This is a wonderful market,” he smiled. “And Tommy will get you whatever you need.”

While celebrity encounters may not be on your weekly shopping list, you're sure to find just about everything else you need at LaRocca’s. All that, plus service with a smile makes a trip to LaRocca’s a bargain, indeed.

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