March 31, 2017
FOOD AND FUN By Pam Hersh
Escape to Italy, in Princeton D’Angelo Italian Market offers delicious delicacies that are sure to tempt the area’s foodies
’ve discovered a stress-free and inexpensive way to escape to Italy, without getting on an airplane. I simply walk down Princeton’s Nassau Street, turn onto Witherspoon Street, make right onto Spring Street. And there it is — Italy, dressed up as D’Angelo Italian Market. Owner Anna D’Angelo made the point that D’Angelo is not an “Italian-American Market,” but rather an Italian market in America that has transported some of the finest food items, food preparation techniques, and food preparers themselves from Italy to 35 Spring St. As a longtime observer of the challenges faced by small family-owned businesses in downtown Princeton, I have concluded that the genius of D’Angelo is more than its food. It is its genius, as in business smarts. D’Angelo, when it first established a relationship with Princeton six years ago, expected the marriage would be somewhat traditional, like the relationship its other New Jersey store, Tuscany, has with its community in Jackson. But “Princeton is different,” people are very busy, very sophisticated, and the community has a lot of corporate entertaining needs, said Danielle D’Angelo, who owns the store with her mother Anna, father Joe, and brother Frank. To maintain a viable connection with Princeton, D’Angelo Italian Market has had to evolve. The store found its niche in the community, the town and D’Angelo are perfectly matched. With an efficient and effective catering and delivery service, plus an extensive line of Italian specialty foods unavailable elsewhere in the area, D’Angelo has as a large corporate clientele and is a particular favorite of Princeton University departments. “We get people coming in here with requests we don’t get elsewhere,” Danielle said. “The high level of knowl-
From left: D’Angelo butcher Domenico Camardo, and Gaetano and Giuseppe Cappellini, who make pizza and the Sicilian specialties at the market. edge about Italian culture and food is quite exceptional. They request items like bottarga (cured fish roe) or tuma persa a specialty cheese from Sicily or Sardinian fregola, a special pasta.” The success in the catering and delivery arena encouraged the owners to embrace a new service — online grocery ordering and delivering for individuals and businesses. The online shopping service is run through Mercato.com. By going to the Mercato.com website, a customer can place an order for groceries and prepared foods from D’Angelo in Princeton, arrange delivery time, and one’s kitchen becomes stocked with fabulous Italian specialty foods (with names I can’t pronounce), as well as basic groceries such as bananas.
“It never was a business plan to go in this direction,” Danielle said, “but it didn’t take us long to figure out that Princeton was going to be a rather different operation than Tuscany.” That store in Jackson is a more traditional walk-in Italian grocer serving predominantly families and individuals. Tuscany has a far smaller corporate client base and less delivery-and-prepared foods catering business. The ability to adapt and become a sustainable enterprise is related to the D’Angelo family experience in the grocery business, immersion in Italian culture, and business/marketing education. Both Anna and Joe, as young adults, came from Sicily to Brooklyn, where they met while enrolled in an English language class. Joe worked as an accountant for a few years, but found his true passion was in applying his accounting skills to running his own food businesses — bakeries and a deli in New York. Anna, who raised her two children and made sure they had a formal education, was the one who emphasized the perpetuation of the Italian culture in their businesses. She returns to Italy on a regular basis to make sure she remains on top of the latest food trends in Italy (such as gluten-free, slow-foods, non-GMO), as well as to reinforce her connection to the much-cherished Italian cuisine traditions. Her talent, reflected in the success of the store, has been the ability to maintain the perfect balance between the different food trends and needs — both in Italy and in Princeton.
D’Angelo Market is at 35 Spring St., Princeton. For more information, go to dangelomarket.com or call 609-9210404.
Literary Love on Stockton Street Princeton’s own little literary festival, the Salon on Stockton Street, will return for its second year, March 31 through April 2 at Morven Museum & Garden, and the Center of Theological Inquiry. Programs will include interviews with authors from Ireland, the USA, New Zealand, Scotland, and the Netherlands, a one-man play about Charles Darwin, and a private tour of Morven’s Bruce Springsteen photographic exhibition. The Salon opens on Friday evening, March 31, with a reception at Morven to meet the authors and enjoy a private tour of the Springsteen exhibition with Morven curator Beth Allan.
On April 1, BBC broadcaster Sally Magnusson returns to interview four very authors from around the world at Luce Hall. Irish poet Philip McDonagh will discuss “Gondla,” his translation of a Russian play about an Irish legend set in Iceland. David Grinspoon’s “Earth in Human Hands,” tells the story of how humans are changing the planet for both good and ill. Liam McIlvanney is a crime novelist from New Zealand, who will discuss the first two novels in his Conway Trilogy about a Glasgow journalist in the murky world of crime and politics in Scotland and Northern Ireland. In closing, Magnusson will discuss the challenge of writing family memoirs with Pia de Jong, a Dutch writer now living in Princeton.
Also on April 1, Labyrinth Books will run book sales and author signings at Luce Hall, and Jammin’ Crepes will have its food truck at Morven for lunch. The Salon will conclude April 2, at Luce Hall, with a performance of “Mr. Darwin’s Tree,” starring Andrew Harrison, followed by tea and a panel discussion on Darwin. Tickets prices: For the March 31 reception only, $25. For the reception and day pass good for all author events on Saturday, $50. For the author events on Saturday only, $30. For the performance of “Mr. Darwin’s Tree,” $15. Single author passes cost $10. For tickets and information, go to morven.org, or call 609-683-4797.