Eat Street: Local Flavors
Don't miss out on these local restaurants for food and drink
Even Bakke and a landscape of his vineyard in France
Photographs: Winery courtesy of Even Bakke
If you’re looking to indulge in some carbo-loading, check out Beldotti Bakery in the Newfield Green Shopping Center. When you step inside the homey, brick-walled shop that the family has owned for the past twenty-three years, you’ll be hit with the distinct aroma of fresh baking. Sure, the case of delectable pastries beckons, but the real treat is the wide selection of bread, baked every morning. For the Beldottis, bread is a family affair. Co-owners Jim Beldotti and his sons Michael and Christopher are joined by a flock of family members: wives, brothers, nieces and nephews. Is there one star bread? “Absolutely,” Christopher is quick to say. “Our hard-crusted Italian. On Sunday morning, that’s what everyone’s here to get.” (Insider tip: beat the church crowd by getting your loaves before services; they sell out quickly). With a chill in the air, this is the perfect season to try some of Beldotti’s fall offerings, like the earthy-tasting seeded sourdough (perfect with a pat of butter and a bowl of soup). “We make a corn rye during the fall and winter too, which is a nice hearty winter bread,” Christopher says.
Winemaker Even Bakke has travelled far from his days growing up in Shippan. To the Southern Rhone Valley in France, that is. Six years ago, Even founded Clos de Trias, a vineyard that boasts sixty-three acres of grape vines in the shadow of Mont Ventoux. There Even practices a return-to-nature philosophy based on organic farming with no soil tillage, minimal weed removal and no additives or temperature control. When it’s time to harvest, grapes are picked by friends and family and hand-sorted in the afternoon. Even’s wine is less about chemistry and more about community, family and the natural alchemy of vine, sun and soil. “The vine is about as root-centric a plant as we know,” Even says.
Speaking of roots, Even hasn’t forgotten his. “I loved my time in Stamford!” he says, remembering “Liz Sue Bagels, sailing on the Sound, golfing at [E. Gaynor Brennan], teenage parties at Fort Stamford.” At the time, his father worked for an engineering firm, and his mother ran a catering business before opening her restaurant, Oslo. When she put him in charge of Oslo’s wine list, Even discovered his passion. “All the complexity, nuance and variety in wine fascinated me, so after college I moved to northern California to get into wine production and moved my way up the ladder.” After fourteen years of working for Napa and Sonoma wineries, Even felt the tug to craft his own wine. He moved to France with his French wife Marie-Caroline and their children in 2005. There, they scoped out sixty properties before finding the perfect patch of land to found Clos de Trias.
Need something for the holiday table? You can pick up a bottle (or two) of his Côtes du Ventoux rouge at Fairway Wines & Spirits, and also his Ventoux blanc at Stew Leonard’s Wines in Norwalk.