The Italian Specialty Food Store Ina Garten Adores

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Beloved home cook Ina Garten got her start in the food industry back in 1978 when she opened a specialty food store called Barefoot Contessa that she owned and operated for 18 years — so she knows a good store when she steps inside it. And there's one specialty store she swears by in Italy: Peck. In her "Cook Like a Pro" cookbook, she notes how she and her husband Jeffrey stumbled across the specialty store while exploring Milan.

With its origins and flagship store located in one of Garten's most adored cities, the Milan-based Peck is somewhat of an institution for gourmands and foodies everywhere. It's a prestigious destination for high-quality meats, cheeses, produce, wines, and Italian gastronomy, and has been for over a century.

The food and wine shop has even inspired some of Barefoot Contessa's own recipes, like the warm marinated olives based on the roasted olives that Peck specializes in (and Ina Garten adores), available over the counter where they sell an assortment of roasted vegetables. So what exactly makes this specialty food store so special? Just about everything, it turns out.

All about Peck specialty food store

At its heart, Peck is a high-quality delicatessen. That's because, all the way back in 1883, the shop began as a salumeria where Prague native Franz Peck sold smoked and cured meats in the German style. It quickly became one of Milan's most successful spots, drawing in the rich, the famous, the elite, and even the royal.

Over the years, the shop continually expanded into the flagship store it is today, featuring more and more products and eventually consisting of three separate shops that merged into one store: a wine shop, a cheese shop, and a rotisserie shop (the "rosticceria" where Ina Garten found those delicious roasted olives).

Today, Peck encompasses not only the famous primary store in Milan that includes a deli shop and wine cellar — but also two other locations in Milan and one in Lucca, three restaurants, a cocktail bar, and, more recently, a slew of international stores throughout Asia, including Japan, Korea, and Singapore.

What foods can you find at Peck?

If you ever find yourself in Milan, Peck is worth a visit — but what specialty foods can you expect to find there? First and foremost, at any location you'll find the meats that started it all: a premium selection of cured, smoked, hanging meats, from filets and T-bones to Parma ham and salumi.

Outside of meat, the cheese selection is also abundant — whether you're looking for fresh mozzarella, burrata, ricotta, or Parmigiano Reggiano. The shop also offers fresh pasta stuffed with seasonal ingredients, ready-to-eat hot meals, gourmet takeaway sandwiches, coffees and teas, and patisseries like cakes, gelato, and chocolate. Peck hand-picks their suppliers, and the plethora of artisanal specialty products mainly comes from small producers.

That's not to mention Peck's wine cellars – two separate locations where you can find 150 Italian and French fine wines. Don't forget its restaurants and bars where you can order traditional Italian and iconic Milanese dishes like cotoletta alla Milanese (veal cutlet), risotto, and patés.