Live well: that's the goal of a new business in Hudson that specializes in gourmet foods and drinks.
Viva Bene Gourmet, located at 219 N. Main St., offers a large variety of gourmet products, ranging from wines to hand-crafted pastas to cocktail accessories. The emphasis is on having high quality food made simple and at a convenient location.
The store opened for business the week before Christmas, but waited to have its grand opening until last month, said the owners Erin Chenault and Dino DeRoia.
"We wanted to bring something unique to the area and show people how easy it is [to cook gourmet]. We're taking the intimidation out of it," said DeRoia. "We're bring the taste of Italy to Hudson."
Chenault said she and DeRoia have a long-time passion for traveling, cooking and wine, which heavily influences Viva Bene Gourmet.
The large focus of Viva Bene Gourmet is the wine, which is housed in an atmospheric wine room in the center of the store. To pick the bottles that are sold at their store, Chenault worked with three sommeliers, who are trained wine professionals, along with using her own extensive knowledge. Their collection is constantly changing but mainly focuses on wines from Italy. However, there are several from California. There is also one local wine: M Cellars.
"Italian wines are meant to be paired with foods. California wines are meals in themselves," Chenault said.
DeRoia said their goal with Viva Bene Gourmet is to appeal to a number of different audiences: those who are longtime cooks and those who might be newer to gourmet cooking or are intimidated by it. While each item sold at the store is high end, the owners say that everything can be prepared into simple and quick meals with ease. The business also makes sure to add a personal touch to everything they sell -- Chenault says she frequently assists customers in helping recommend what to purchase and how to prepare the items.
"Some people are looking for consolation [on what to purchase], said DeRoia. "Erin brings that. People aren't doing that at other stores."
Chenault said they try to carry an array of products that would allow a customer to come in and purchase items to make an entire meal that is easy to prepare. These items include pastas, olive oils, condiments, chocolate, coffee and olives.
There is a small deli counter where freshly sliced meats and cheese can be cut. Chenault said small meat and cheese trays can be prepared in advance for events happening on the Green or at Blossom Music Center.
Along with foods, Viva Bene offers a wide range of gift options. A number of prepared baskets are ideal for giving, but Chenault can also customize them to match specific needs and price points.
The store utilizes a unique space, with a three-story area that is in the shape of an octagon. On the center of the main floor is a wine cellar, and customers are able to walk all around the outside for the other things Viva Bene sells. An office space is on the top floor and the basement is utilized for extra storage space and a small prep kitchen.
The business offers a number of different events. Every Friday from 4 to 6:30 p.m., "Wine Before You Dine" allows anyone to stop by and sample a few wines before heading out to dinner. The cost is $10. Chenault also said that each month they bring in a sommelier to host a tasting and provide attendees with information on the region the wine is from, point out tasting notes and offer food pairing suggestions. The business is also open to hosting private events.
Viva Bene Gourmet can be found at www.facebook.com/vivabenegourmet or by calling 330-653-9800.