Specialty Food Magazine

SUMMER 2015

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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popular cheeses that aren't native to France, such as a $30-per-pound Parmigiano Reggiano. Grilled cheese sandwiches and fondue adorn the menu board. Prepared foods. Priced reasonably at $10 and under, sandwich options (made with fresh baguettes and rolls from the boulange- rie) include a roasted vegetable and cheese sandwich and a New Orleans–inspired muffuletta. Salads include a traditional French nicoise, salmon, and a Vietnamese-influenced salad of beef with vermicelli noodles. Early Best Sellers The fresh departments are off to a good start, says David Grotenstein, director of retail at Le District. Prime beef at the boucherie is also moving particularly well, as is the "tomahawk" rib steak, which Grotenstein describes as a Fred Flintstone–size, bone-in prime rib weighing 2 to 3 pounds. Sandwiches with hand-carved prime rib, turkey breast, or leg of lamb are popular at the rotisserie. And cheese sales and charcute- rie plates are strong. "We're averaging 50 to 60 of each per night," Grotenstein says. In its opening weeks, the charcuterie completely sold through its first leg of Iberico ham, produced by Cinco Jotas, which was priced at $88 per pound. Local Sourcing and Exclusive Imports Much of Le District's offerings are so fresh, they can come only from local sources. Yet almost everything that can be imported from France will be on shelves, and that includes French-made condi- ments, sauces for pasta and couscous, salts, herbs, cheese, and a few specialty meats at the charcuterie, such as jambon de Paris. Breads, pastries, sandwiches, and salads are made in Le District's on-site kitchen. Peek in the glass windows separating the makers from the sellers to watch the baking staff roll out dough to be made into crois- sants and baguettes. Le District works to take advantage of international offer- ings and local expertise. "Scott Bridi at Brooklyn Cured is making proprietary-recipe charcuterie products exclusively for Le District," says Grotenstein. "They include classic boudin blanc and boudin noir sausages, and Creole-style boudin rouge and chaurice sausages, as well as Montreal-style smoked meat—sort of a Quebecoise version of pastrami." Le District also has the U.S. exclusive on Paris' Theordor tea line, and it is one of two American markets carrying the Epices de Cru line of artisanal spices and herbs. Walls of shelves stocking several varieties of salt, honey, mustard, pickled vegetables, and compotes dazzle the senses. Cheese lovers will discover many hard-to-find and rare soft and hard cheeses. "Crown Finish Caves in Brooklyn has created a washed-rind version of Old Chatham Sheepherding's mixed-milk camembert [cow and sheep] for us called Cider Square, and the rind gets an apple cider wash as the cheeses ripens," Grotenstein explains. "The cheese department also has one of the last of the two-year-aged Symphonie Comte wheels available this season, from the St. Antoine aging fortress of Marcel Petite." Standout Services Le District carries foods consumers won't find anywhere else, and some of its service innovations are unusual as well. Customers can email or call in their shopping list to the concierge desk, and staff will gather the goods and even suggest preparation methods and recipes too. For now, customers need to pick up their orders, but in the future Le District may offer delivery service. The boucherie's "a la minute" option lets customers pick out a cut of meat and have it prepared exactly to their liking in front of their eyes, to be taken home or enjoyed on the premises. As for making the most of the space, daily after 4 p.m., the salad bar in the Garden District transforms into a chocolate mousse bar to encourage people to keep coming back for more. Esther Crain is a freelance writer who covers health, food, and lifestyle. retailer profile 50 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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