-phile: a suffix, denoting fondness for a specified thing; one that loves, admires, or is attracted to a specified thing.
Their Story GourmetPhile is the love child of Blair and Zhanna Leavell. Zhanna was formerly a university professor of mathematics in St Petersburg, Russia, and Blair owned a software consulting firm. It must have been love at first sight for the two, who were introduced by one of Blair’s employees, as they were married just a few months after meeting. Zhanna, having difficulty finding work in her own field teaching mathematics here in the US, worked as a distributor of gourmet food items across Florida. Zhanna and Blair ended up becoming quite involved with gourmet food, attending fancy food shows around the country, etc. and decided they wanted to do something fun and entrepreneurial together that reflected their expanding interest in fine food. A little over a year ago they formed GourmetPhile and broke ground on this beautifully appointed new store.
Their Vision to be a one stop shop for everything amazingly delicious from all over the world that you can’t find at Publix, Whole Foods, Cheese Course etc. To also be a gathering place of informal elegance for foodies, chefs and connoisseurs. It is their mission to offer the best of the best, at a surprisingly affordable price point, without compromising on quality.
Their Store The Chocolate Room – It hits you right in the face when you walk in. You may find yourself salivating from the powerful luxuriant richness of the smells alone. Their chocolate room has a separate temperature and humidity regime, and their suppliers ship in refrigerated containers by air. The result is a fresher product that preserves the delicate terroir of the finest chocolates in the world.
Their filled chocolates wear their colors like tropical birds, with exotic flavors like guava/tamarind, pineapple/fennel/caramel and cardamom/rose. Their single origin bars have won the golden bean award many times. GourmetPhile is the only store in Boca that takes such care with chocolate.
The Wine Cellar – Also a separate temperature regime. GourmetPhile’s thoughtfully constructed cellar allows easy label viewing of 250 expertly curated wines you can’t find anywhere else in town. Highly skilled sommeliers with deep connections in the old world and the new have found some great mid range values in wineries located very close to grand cru vineyards, for example.
The Cheese Case – state of the art new display case with over 70 award winning cheeses from around the world. These are fabulous cheeses selected by a master cheese monger, with exotic wraps like spruce cambrium and grape leaves soaked in pear brandy. Come and try them – they are generous with their tastings!
The Caviar Case – Caviar has a special place in the couple’s hearts. Zhanna’s father was a fisherman (he passed away 5 years ago), so she grew up with the best black caviar by the bowlful as a child. Part of the impetus for their store is a celebration of these memories. Disappointed with the quality of most of the caviar that can be obtained in the American market, Zhanna was impressed with Petrossian, particularly due to the fact that it is never frozen, and for the superb flavor and mouth feel evocative of her childhood. Petrossian, the preeminent caviar by which others are measured – literally. They developed the grading methodology for taste, mouth feel, egg size, color, fat content and brine that is used throughout the industry today.
The caviar tasting that was arranged for a select group of Concierge, was conducted by JoAnn Economou, who covers the entire state of FL for Petrossian. The Petrossian family began importing caviar from Russia to Paris during the roaring 1920’s, when caviar became a popular extravaganza. Since the inception of the company, (over 95 years) Petrossian has developed a reputation for quality within the industry and are the largest importer of caviar in the U.S., selling 50 tons of it per year. Each container is labeled with the date, best used by info and detailed codes on the sourced sturgeon.
So what actually is caviar? Caviar is the salted roe (eggs) of sturgeon. Sturgeon are part of an ancient group of large fish with 27 varieties, many of which can be found in the Caspian Sea. Over fishing and pollution of the Caspian Sea has driven sturgeon to near extinction. The most notable sturgeons are Beluga, Ossetra and Sevruga. Wild caviar is no longer available and illegal to be sold in the U.S. since 205. Today, all caviar sold in the US. is farm raised, with many new varieties available in the market today. Caviar is sourced from Israel, Bulgaria China, Italy, Florida, California, North Carolina and the list continues to grow.
Caviar Knowledge: 30g is more than one ounce (28g). All caviar is offered in grams. The lid is crimped to ensure no air has entered from the time of packing it in New York until it reaches the guest.
Malossol means “little salt” in Russian. Other companies add salt to their caviar to give them a plumper look, but JoAnn explained it doesn’t improve the quality, it just makes them saltier. Petrossian does not over salt their caviar.
Proper serving utensils for caviar: Mother of Pearl, Horn or Gold. No silver pieces should be used, as it imparts a metal taste on the caviar and changes the flavor.
Accoutrements such as eggs, onions, creme fraiche which are traditionally served with caviar. Purists tend to enjoy the caviar without all these extras.
Blini is the small thin pancake used to hold the caviar atop. Toast points are also used.
Very cold vodka, as well as French Champagne is the most appropriate beverages to serve with caviar. White wine, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc are also acceptable. To clear the palate, many people drink tea without the sugar.
The Charcuterie Case – the finest European sausages and hams, rich pates and Scottish and Norwegian salmon
The Frozen Section – delightful Jeni’s ice cream and various frozen ready to eat gourmet desserts.
Tea and Coffee – in keeping with our pursuit of the best of the best, GourmetPhile offers two products with a very rich history. Kusmi tea was originally the tea of the Russian Tsars. After the revolution, it moved to Paris to escape the Bolshevics. It was an instant success and has enjoyed a storied history at the top of the gourmet tea market ever since. Lavazza, established in Turin, Italy in 1895, has been owned by the family of the same name for four generations. They are the quintessential Italian espresso.
The Rest – aged balsamics, olive oils, mustards, marmalades, honeys, spreads, chutneys, wine and cheese accoutrements
- small plate menu – choose from cheese, charcuterie or caviar small plates, order a glass of wine from the daily pours, or just buy a bottle from their wine cellar and enjoy it right there with no corkage fee
- food pairing tastings with highly regarded sommeliers and fine wines, champagnes, beers, cheese, charcuterie and other specialty gourmet foods
- gorgeous gift baskets – have one created from anything in the store, with floral accents!
- delivery within Boca Raton area with company delivery van
Hours of Operation: Tues – Sun 11am – 9pm
Located in Royal Palm Place, 501 SE Mizner Blvd. in Downtown Boca (561) 757-6208