A week ago from Sunday I had the privilege to attend a meet and greet style event at Jim Alesci’s Place in their new Solon location with the Ohio Blogging Association gals! I arrived before anyone else because apparently I overestimated how much time it would take to drive to Solon from Akron (PS. only 25 minutes). My early arrival provided ample time for me to do a little exploring of the store on my own beforehand.

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I had not visited the old location so I have little point of reference in that regard, but I can say from the moment I began wandering, I felt like I was home. See, my Italian mother no longer lives nearby, so I’m no longer receiving my daily dose of Italian family stuff. Ha!

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But in all seriousness, this place is incredible. The staff (comprised of mostly family or “extended family”), were the most hospitable group of people (outside of my own family, obvy), that I’ve ever met. They did the very thing I’ve come to expect from my own family — go above and beyond to make sure we were well fed, comfortable and above all, happy.

I loved hearing about how Alesci’s really is a family store. Jim Alesci’s grandfather started baking bread in the states shortly after arriving from Italy. From there, the family opened up a storefront in the 90s. And Alesci’s has grown into a Cleveland tradition.

First things first… let’s talk cheese. Or as we say in Italian, Antipasto. I loved them all. Every last one of them: soft cheeses; hard cheeses; new and old. Every. ONE.

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But one in particular stood out among the crowd — Frank’s Gouda. At least that’s what I think it’s called. Cause I was in a cheese coma. In fact, just thinking about this cheese right now? Makes me delusional. No joke.

Just when I thought my belly couldn’t be more full (PS. you can never have too much of this gouda), we were led on an official tour of the store. I loved meeting the whole family and hearing each of them give their personal spin on the store. Each of them has a unique story that truly gives Alesci’s that family feel that is insanely special.

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[Pictured clockwise from upper left: Italian Beef Slider;
Pancetta Pasta Salad; Eggplant Parmesan; Roasted Beet Salad
]

But let’s get to the food. Gah! All of the family-style food! Fifteen “tasting” courses. I say “tasting” because honestly, it was all family-style. I feel deprived of real Italian food, so I really, really, indulged in the courses. Like, I gave it my all to try and finish each course.

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[Pictured clockwise from top: Sicilian Pizza; Roasted Veggies; Chicken Pot Pie]
 

One of the woman who was helping to serve us is not technically family; but she is definitely Italian. And as she checked on me several times to make sure I was satisfied with the meals. I think she uttered something along the lines of I’m sorry about the portions… to which I replied “are you serious,” and followed it up with a comment about how that is SO typical Italian mother of her. Ha! Italians always, ALWAYS, make way more than they actually need for a crowd of people. In fact, I’ve come to expect it from my own family. Every function. Every party. Every big event.

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Aaaaand then they came out with “dessert.” Really?? This was INSANE. I am definitely particular about my canoli’s (because I make a badass canoli), and the Alesci canoli definitely knocked it out of the park. Plus? The napoleon. Wow. Wow, wow, wow.

I will tell you that I actually walked out with two bottles of montepulciano, pepperoni rolls (made with homemade bread) for dinner, and several, several, desserts. Oh, and a totally full tummy and happy heart. I loved every second of my experience at Alesci’s and I cannot wait to go back. Also? I need more Franks Gouda… already. Ha! #allthecheese

Thanks, OBA and Alesci’s for hosting us!

 

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Ohio Blogging Association meet-up at Jim Alesci’s Place. We received complimentary food and drink, as well as gift cards to Alesci’s and a t-shirt. As always, all opinions are 100% my own

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