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Di Bruno Brothers: Like You've Died and Gone to Heaven

This week food writer Clara Park reviews Di Bruno Brothers in Ardmore.

In the old days, if you wanted roasted peppers, herb roasted turkey or a selection of cured Italian meats, you would have to spend hours slaving away in the kitchen.

A whole turkey, even a small one, takes hours to roast and there's no guarantee it'll come out juicy and flavorful. Turkey notoriously dries out in the oven (the breast meat cooks much faster than the legs). And curing meat at home is not the safest DIY activity. There are airborne pathogens and precise measurements and chemical reactions that need to be carefully monitored when working with meat. Most of us are not equipped with the facilities, the patience or the know how to worry about these things.

Lucky for us, then, that we have Di Bruno Brothers—a one-stop shop for all things delicious. When this location in the Ardmore Farmers' Market first opened up, people were talking about it like Elvis was coming back. has a wonderful selection of home made, local and imported goods. We are fortunate to have one in our neighborhood.

From the prepared foods case I chose some meatballs, broccoli rabe, roasted peppers, mozzarella and tomato salad and chicken salad. The meatballs fully delivered. Fully flavored and heavily laced with cheese and tomato, these were addictive and good enough to be enjoyed cold (though much tastier when hot). The gentleman behind the counter was kind enough to provide a small container of tomato sauce without my asking. 

The broccoli rabe was a bright green color and I could see chunks of garlic spotted throughout. The tender but not overcooked stalks of green were glistening with high quality olive oil and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. This vegetable is a perfect side for any protein from seared steak to roast chicken.

The roasted peppers were perfection. Cooked just so, they were tender but not mushy, and they still had some bite to them. Slightly sweet with a subtle charred taste, each bite was a myriad of flavors. These too, are good enough to be enjoyed on their own but would perk up any sandwich, pasta salad or vegetable side (try them over green beans). 

The mozzarella and tomato salad was marinated in olive oil, some vinegar, herbs, salt and pepper. There was a balance between the oil and acid and the herbs accented rather than overpowered the dish. The high quality mozzarella was creamy and rich with a firmness of texture. The plump grape tomatoes provided a nice compliment to the cheese. This is the type of salad I could eat every day.

The chicken salad had large chunks of white meat bathed in a rich mayonnaise dressing with cubes of celery, red onion and plenty of black pepper. While it's probably not the most heart healthy, this salad was indeed delicious. Eaten alone, in a sandwich or on top of a bed of mixed greens, this is a no-brainer for a quick protein-packed lunch.

I grabbed a big baguette and sauntered over to the meat counter. The gentleman who helped me with the prepared foods moved over with me and made suggestions on what to order. I took his advice and got some of the herb roasted turkey and roast beef. Both meats are roasted in-house and were lean but still tender and tasty. The roast beef was especially tender. I made a delightful sandwich with it, some broccoli rabe, roasted pepper and dijon mustard.

The herb roasted turkey was bursting with flavor—in a class of its own. The herbs were pronounced but only added to the flavor profile. I bought some Jarlsberg and it was sliced thin, just like I asked for, and I made some sandwiches with the cheese, the turkey and some maple champagne mustard I had on hand. A simple but satisfying sandwich was born.

I couldn't leave Di Bruno Brothers without picking up some fresh mozzarella and prosciutto di Parma. I mentioned the smaller version of the fresh mozzarella earlier and the larger balls were just as delicious. The prosciutto di Parma was wonderfully savory with a hint of nuttiness. Sliced razor thin and beautifully laid out on the waxy deli paper, the ribbons of bright white fat amidst the spectrum of rich reds and earth tones that is a lone slice of prosciutto were picture perfect. (I would eat prosciutto every day if I could afford to.)

Di Bruno Brothers is not cheap, but you know that you are getting top quality goods. Not only are the products and food high quality, but the service is stellar. The gentleman that helped me was patient, knowledgeable, ridiculously friendly and offered so much great advice. He spoke to me with sincerity and compassion and I could tell he was passionate about food.

The woman who rang me up was also affable and welcoming. There is an ease to the staff members of Di Bruno Brothers. I don't know how they are trained but everyone treats you like a friend—just like they would in heaven, and that's exactly how I felt when I was at Di Bruno Brothers.

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