Pumpkin Carving

Fall is in the air and can you believe Halloween is already next week?! As we continue to enjoy the best of fall activities– hayrides, haunted houses, seasonal drinks– we can’t forget an October must… pumpkin carving! 

 An annual tradition amongst our family revolved around pumpkin carving. However, it was not your typical pumpkin carving. Our family always had a unique way of carving pumpkins. We wouldn’t carve pictures into the pumpkin or make it a Jack O’Lantern, we had a different way of doing it which involved goodies from all around the store! 

Every year, there was one day in October that my grandpa would anxiously await for us to get home from school. He would take us to Caputo’s and let us pick a pumpkin. There were so many to choose from and Nonno Angelo would help us pick the perfect one, then load it into the cart. After we picked out our pumpkins, we would go around and find different foods and props for our pumpkins to make faces! We would get things like chestnuts or olives for the eyes, a gourd or a pepper for the nose, smaller pumpkins or corn husks for the ears, hay for the hair, and no pumpkin was complete without a carrot as a pipe! We could come up with any crazy idea and Nonno Angelo would do it for us. 

When we got home from picking up our pumpkins and all the fixings, my parents and Nonna Romana were waiting for us with the kitchen ready! The first thing we would do is cut open the top and clean the insides of the pumpkins. We would separate all the seeds and give them to Nonna Romana so that she could roast the pumpkin seeds. We would let them soak in some water so that all the pulp would come off. Then Nonna would salt them, put some olive oil, and put them in the oven! While she was doing this, we would direct the carving! The adults would cut the holes and we would put the food where we wanted. After that, we would draw or paint all the finishing touches on our pumpkins!

We have a fun Halloween tradition, what are yours? Stop by Angelo Caputo’s Fresh Markets, pick out your perfect pumpkin and start your creation!

From Our Family To Yours

La Bella Romana

For the third week of Italian Heritage month, we want to highlight another big piece of our company heritage and our Italian heritage– our private label, La Bella Romana.

Our private label was established in 1984 by Angelo. The name is a tribute to the matriarch of our family, Romana Caputo. “La Bella Romana” translates to “the beautiful Romana.” The logo features a picture of Romana feeding pigeons in Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy during Angelo and Romana’s honeymoon. 

The brand started with California grown tomatoes. We canned the tomatoes and it was the start of the brand. When Angelo was ready to add more products to the line, he knew that his expansion should be Italian staples. Angelo and Romana went to Italy and sourced suppliers who could offer the highest quality products and ingredients. The result of this trip was the addition of pasta and olive oil to La Bella Romana!  Pasta and olive oil are traditional components of every Italian meal. These items can be used or prepared in a variety of different ways to satisfy anybody’s hunger. These foundational items of the La Bella Romana line embody simplicity, diversity, and deliciousness. 

Since those beginning items, the La Bella Romana brand has grown exponentially. The private label now includes bakery items, deli meats, catering and prepared foods, grocery products, and more. There are about 400 items that all have the La Bella Romana name on them.

We have a variety of canned tomatoes– sauce, puree, paste. We know that sauce is a staple in any Italian household. Canned tomatoes are the perfect start to sauce on a Sunday, pizza night, and more. We also import many of our items from Italy in order to bring some traditional items and staples here.

We have spent time sourcing the highest quality ingredients for our products. The rich flavor and delightful smell will make your own kitchen feel like Italy.

All of our private label items are made using only the freshest and highest quality ingredients. The core of our products today is the same as 1984 when it started– bringing the freshest and healthiest foods to you and your family.

From Our Family To Yours

Must Try Italian Products

As Italian Heritage Month continues, we take a look at a huge part of our business and our heritage– food!

When Angelo, our founder, started, the store was just a fruit market– selling fresh produce in a tiny little store. Angelo, like so many others, immigrated to America and while the promise of a new life was there, it meant leaving behind pieces of home. Angelo recognized the need to bring pieces of Italy here and began importing specialty items. Soon, our product line and business was able to grow and now even include homemade items!

So in addition to our plethora of imports– taralli, pasta, oil, cookies, drinks, tomatoes (just to name a few,) we also have a lot of products we make in house that are hand crafted to bring out memories and appreciation of Italy! 

Here are 3 Must Try Caputo’s products if you’re looking for a taste of Italy

Italian Cookies

One stop should definitely be to our La Bella Romana Bakery. La Bella Romana is the name of our private label which translates to “The Beautiful Romana.” It was named by Angelo for our matriarch and his wife, Romana Caputo. She was known for her incredible skills in the kitchen and this included baking! Many of our Italian cookie recipes were adapted from her own recipes. The amaretti cookies, lemon cookies, fig cookies, and chocolate spice cookies are a must! They may even remind you of your nonna’s very own traditional cookies. One of our family’s favorites are the horseshoe amaretti cookies

In fact, many of our products in our bakery are made in house daily by our talented bakery team! We make our own cannoli shells and filling, eclairs, cream puffs, breads, and so much more. Take a closer look into our bakery here

Homemade Bocconcini 

Cheese is a significant part of Italian culture and our homemade bocconcini lives up to it. Boconcini is hand stretched, hand tied mozzarella. Made using fresh mozzarella which is watched over slowly, then stretched and tied carefully to ensure easy, not chewy or stringy, bites of delicious! It is great on its own, in a panino, in pasta, and more!

Homemade Sausage

We make our own sausage in house daily. It was a long process to perfectly craft our homemade sausage– making and tweaking our recipes until we reached recipes we are extremely proud of! We use local and fresh ingredients as well as a custom blend of spices. Everything is sourced carefully and created strategically! Some of our varietals include classic italian, hot, barese, sicilian, provolone and giardiniera, and more. It makes for a great dinner or even in a sandwich!

These are just a few of the offerings we have that keep Italian tradition alive. Just like Angelo did, our goal is to help the Italian culture remain steadfast through the generations. 

From Our Family To Yours

Italian Heritage– Norridge Store

October is Italian National Heritage Month. This month is used to honor the achievements of Italian immigrants in the United States. As a company founded by an Italian immigrant, we are proud to celebrate this month!

Throughout the month, our family will be highlighting some parts of our Italian culture that our extended family of customers can see throughout our stores. From products we carry, to photos hanging in our stores, to little details you may not know– we’ll be taking you through bits of our history throughout the month! 

What better place to start than with our newest location whose design was heavily influenced by our past! If you have seen our Norridge store, you may have noticed the unique design. It resembles our recently remodeled Bloomingdale location with its rounded, modern look. Did you know that this look was not just for its unique design, but designed with an ode to our founders and their beginning? These locations were carefully designed after many meetings with an architect who listened to our family’s story and wanted to incorporate. 

The architect of these locations, Peter Theodore, explains the reason for the design of our Norridge store

“From the rolling hills of Italy to the waves kissing the shores of Mola di Bari, inspiration for this unique store design took shape.

Mindful of Angelo and Romana Caputo’s vision of treating their customers like family, the architect builds upon that simple principle. This unique store embraces the founders’ vibrancy and energy with forms creating the shell of the structure that seems to defy gravity… stretching upwards to the sky, forcing us to stop and wonder- how is this even possible?

Just as the waves move across the sea, the flowing forms mimic a similar fluidity. The building pays respect to Angelo and Romana by honoring their vision of creating a great experience before, during, and after your journey into the markets. Buoyed by a love of family and a unique customer experience, nuanced into the design, the canopies stretch towards the heavens welcoming Angelo and Romana back, spiritually, to share in the delight of how their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren have kept the tradition alive.

Angelo Caputo’s Fresh Markets builds upon a legacy started over six decades ago. This building has created a link between the past and the future, and stands as an example that anything is possible if you believe in your dreams.” 

So as we enter Italian heritage month, we always keep in mind where and how we started– by a hard working Italian immigrant who started because he wanted to give his future family a better life. We always keep with us the principles instilled in us by Angelo as we grow and continue his legacy. 

Stay tuned throughout the month for more Caputo’s Italian-American history!

From Our Family To Yours