Posted By : denise/ 3220

-phile:  a suffix, denoting fondness for a specified thing; one that loves, admires, or is attracted to a specified thing.

Hello Foodie Friends,
Today I am here to share with you my latest Boca Food Find and that is GourmetPhile. As the definition above connotes, I am a GourmetPhile, a lover and admirer with a deep fondness  & passion for food, particularly of the gourmet variety and GourmetPhile, the newest gourmet specialty market to open in Royal Palm Place in Downtown Boca, which satisfies my foodie cravings in every way.
I have been waiting for this store to open for a very long time and was thrilled to be asked to work with them to assemble some of the area’s social media influencers and Concierge for some special tasting events.


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.

Caviar from left to right: Tsar Imperial Ossetra, Alverta President & Tsar Imperail Shassetra Schrencki       Middle pic – Roe: Salmon & Trout, portable 12g glass jars of caviar lined with gold leaf.
Domaine Bousquet, a Brut Sparkling wine from Argentina, goat cheese Brie drizzled with Heather honey, truffle cheese and smashed salami and duck fois gras pate with duck prosciutto topped with Amarena cherries.

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

Smoked salmon (Petrossian) with creme fraiche garnished with organic chives; Salad with mixed organic greens and pickled fennel
Three cheese plate: Double creme Cremont Brie with French Heather honey, Fromager Daffinois Blue sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, Moliterno Tartufo Pecorino with truffles


Cognac Duck liver page with candied Turkish figs and Amarena cherries (not pictured here)

The Frozen Section – delightful Jeni’s ice cream and various frozen ready to eat gourmet desserts.

Assorted macarons and a scoop of Jeni’s famous Salted Caramel ice cream

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


Enjoy date night in their quaint intimate courtyard. Choose a tasting course with a lovely bottle of wine which you can keep nice and chilled right there in the table.


  • 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

www.GourmetPhile.com  Instagram & Twitter: @GourmetPhile

Until we eat again…
   I send you delicious wishes, xo

Mimi’s Ravioli is WAY more than Ravioli!

Posted By : denise/ 1068

Hello Foodie Friends,

I recently was invited to a media & food blogger event at Mimi’s Ravioli in Hollywood, FL. Although Mimi’s was new to me, this family owned and operated gourmet Italian Market and Catering company has been around for 38+ years serving the local community as well as providing many fine restaurants in the area with their wholesale products.

On this night, Mimi’s opened their doors to us after hours and presented us with an amazing menu of many of their delicious homemade dishes served with Mionetto Prosecco.


Mimi’s hand made fresh Mozzarella


Mimi’s fresh Mozzarella is made hourly, stretched and salted to perfection. Their Mozzarella is a quality cow’s milk based cheese. They served us their Mozzarella & Tomato Caprese (pictured above), as well as fresh Salted Mozzarella and their handcrafted smoked Mozzarella.

Mimi’s Artisan Breads, Facaccia’s, Pizzas and Rolls

All of Mimi’s bread, focaccia’s, pizzas and rolls are made daily. Their gluten rolls have been a favorite for over 30 years, while their Ciabatta breads have now become staples to their ever day success. On this evening, they featured a few different homemade ciabatta breads, their own semolina bread, gluten rolls, sea salt focaccia bread, pepper & onion focaccia and their artichoke focaccia (pictured above).

Mimi’s imported cheese’s oils & balsamics

While I don’t have a pic to share with you of the beautiful display of cheeses, suffice it to say that the 24 month aged Parmigiano Reggiano that they presented us was one of the freshest I have ever had. I was certainly in cheese heaven. Mimi’s imports their Parmigiano Reggiano, Grano Padano, Provolone, Extra Virgin Olive Oils and Balsamic’s. Complimenting the cheeses there was an assortment of soppressata and dry sausages.

Side Dishes

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The sides that were featured tonight were the Farro Salad, a refreshing cold salad with boiled farro, chick peas, red kidney beans, butter beans, fresh red & green peppers, EVOO, sea salt and balsamic vinegar.

Chick pea Salad, a cold salad mixed with chick peas, red onions, sundried tomatoes, celery, red & green peppers, EVOO and splashed with golden white balsamic.

The Eggplant Caponatta Bruschetta, a vibrant mixture of fresh eggplant, onion, celery, tomatoes, olives, capers, basil and pine nuts make this a tasty treat and one of my faves of the three sides I tried.

Hot Handmade Pasta Dishes

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Cheese Ravioli – these cheese ravioli are famous and were served smothered in a delicious creamy vodka sauce. I loved this dish so much that I ended up taking the frozen version home with me.

Pasta al Forno – a Sicilian dish of chopped meat, tomato, onions, green peas, mozzarella, Parmigiano, Pecorino Romano & anelletti pasta.

Vegetable Manicotti – covered in Linda’s sauce, handmade egg crepes filled with broccoli, spinach, bell pepper, mushroom and a hint of skim ricotta and baked in mom’s tomato sauce made with their own San Marzano tomatoes.

Eggplant & Zucchini Lasagna – (No meat or pasta). I had brought some of this home to share with my meat and pasta eating hubby and he even loved this one. Layers of eggplant  and zucchini stacked with tomato sauce and mozzarella form a great lasagna.

Meatballs – Mimi’s own classic beef meat balls baked and sauced with their own marinara sauce.

Chicken Marsala – I am not kidding you when I say this was seriously the best chicken marsala that I remember having. Chicken breast floured and fried and topped with the finest marsala wine and mushroom sauce. It is THAT good! This is another dish I just had to take home from the frozen section.

For the Sweet Tooth

Tonight, Mimi showcased their famous mouth-watering cannoli’s, chocolate mousse cake, ricotta cheese cake, New York style cheese cake and assorted biscotti.

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It was a lovely evening spent with some of the most gracious hosts I have had the pleasure of meeting here in South Florida. One cannot help but feel so welcome by the family and staff who work at Mimi’s. When it came time to say farewell, we were each sent off with goodie bags filled with homemade pasta, fresh marina sauce, grated Pecorino Romano cheese, two small Italian baguettes, a split of Mionetto Prosecco, a bag of wine biscuits and a couple cute Italian hats. The following day, we made the fresh pasta and heated up the sauce, broke out the Prosecco and had a delicious Italian dinner in no time at all.


Mimi’s Ravioli is open Tuesday through Saturday from 8am – 6pm and Sunday 8am – 2pm; closed Mondays. They are located at 5714 Johnson St. in Hollywood.  Check out their website for more info.

Until we eat again…

   I send you delicious wishes, xo