At newly opened GourmetPhile Specialty Market & Caviar Bar in Boca Raton, you can buy teas once reserved for Russian czars, find a curated selection of the world's best caviar, design your own box of handcrafted artisan chocolates, sample gourmet cheeses from around the globe, and pair all of it with a bottle of boutique wine.
While you can find fine foods such as these at a few select upscale markets across Broward and Palm Beach Counties, there's something — or rather, someone — you'll only find at GourmetPhile: general manager Christine Militello, wife of famed South Florida chef Mark Militello.
Whether it was running the front of house at any one of her husband's successful South Florida establishments or acting as his sous chef during overseas kitchen stages, Christine has acquired a boatload of culinary talent that she's unleashed at GourmetPhile.
After 35 years of marriage to one of the area's most popular chefs and restaurateurs, Christine has acquired a unique set of hospitality skills over the years, each of which she says primed her for her current role assisting GourmetPhile owners Blaire and Zhanna Leavell in launching their three-week-old specialty market.
Across the store, you'll find an assortment of custom-designed gift baskets packed full of specialty cheeses, condiments, charcuterie, and truffles. Christine can help arrange the perfect pairing and package for any occasion or customer and then wrap it all up like a pro. Various sizes let you mix and match products for a set affordable price.
Located down a quiet alley on the south end of the Royal Palm plaza in Boca Raton, GourmetPhile peddles a number of unique items at reasonable prices, making it a one-stop-shop for high-end foodstuffs. The 1,600-square-foot shop offers a number of specialty brands and products you won't find at your average market and grocer.
These include a special selection of Petrossian caviar; jars of shaved truffles and morel mushrooms; Pommery brand French mustard; and Kusmi tea. In the back, a glass-walled, temperature-controlled room is where you'll find a small rotating selection of boutique wines or a number of colorful chocolates from Texas-based Cacoa & Cardamom.
Of course, the best part might be the tiny tasting room where Christine lets her culinary prowess shine. Here, an auxiliary 60-square-foot space can be customized to host a variety of special occasions where customers can enjoy customizable food and wine pairings featuring small plates curated with the shop's specialty offerings.
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Desire a relaxing wine pairing with any of the store's specialty inventory matched with a selection of boutique fine wines? She'll design a custom tasting menu — and host it too.
"This has been a lifetime of prep work," says Christine. "It's a casual place where I'm allowed to be creative. After all this time, it feels like the perfect fit."
GourmetPhile. 501 SE Mizner Blvd. #80, Boca Raton; 561-757-6208; gourmetphile.com.
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram