Mazzarro’s Italian Market in St. Pete was a surprise — a really good surprise. This was super near my aunt’s home that I did not even think there was a good surprise here. I thought it was just one of those huge American supermarkets specializing in Italian food. The “market” is two huge warehouses that doesn’t seem to look like a lot from the outside. When I saw the small Italian cars and the painted walls near the parking lot, I was warming up. The inside was different though. You would never want to leave. It’s like a Walt Disney for Italian food lovers.
The two warehouses offer different (but similar) products. One was for tourists’ souvenirs — things nicely wrapped or bottled that you can take home. It was such a humble place that I did not realize there were quite a number of tourists that day who were eating and/or shopping.
We went to the other warehouse. This is where the locals, like my aunt and uncle, frequent. Oh my. It was pure heaven. One room was dedicated to wines. One wall to frozen Italian dishes like lasagna and chicken parmigiana. One corner was dedicated to cheeses, another to freshly-cooked Italian dishes that you can eat inside or can take home. Another corner was dedicated to Italian breads, cakes, pastries and cookies. And, another big corner was dedicated to roasting coffee. (Wait, there was no gelato corner?!? Or, I missed it?!? But if you missed gelato in Mazzarro’s, don’t fret, my cousin took me to Paciugo Gelato in downtown St. Pete and I must say it was also delicious).
Because it was mid-morning when we visited, I was not hungry yet but I was wanting to taste real good coffee because after how many days in the United States I have not yet tasted coffee that I truly liked. We ordered some napoleon cake (similar to the napoleones of Bacolod) canneloni with pistachio cream, a flaky pasty with chocolate that was sold by the pound, espresso, and a chicken parmigiana.
P.S. I am not an expert on Italian food. So, I guess I shouldn’t say the dishes and food at Mazzarro’s are authentic Italian. Maybe it’s American-Italian, which were still delicious, by the way. 🙂