Kings Supermarket has always been dedicated to authentic and high-quality products. Their dedication to the Italian culinary culture was revealed when they unveiled their Piazza Italia showcase on March 31 at their Short Hills location. The culinary celebration attracted food personalities, artists and even Francesco Genuardi, the General Consul of Italy in New York.

“At Kings, we’re always looking to delight our customers with new and authentic options,” said Judy Spires, chairman and CEO of Kings Food Markets. “Our passion for food is what drives us, and programs like Piazza Italia are what inspire us. We can’t wait to share this inspiration with our customers and give them the opportunity to taste the highest-quality products and engage with these skilled Italian artisans.”

The festivities kicked off with an Italian food tasting by Chef Fabio Auguadro.

“Good Italian food is about quality,” he explained. “These products are the best in Italy.”

Rossella Rago, host of “Cooking with Nonna,” and her Nonna.

The exclusive showcase will recreate a traditional Italian market, or “piazza” across 12 Kings stores. The collection features a collection of hand-curated products that customers can sample during an eight-day celebration. They are a labor of love for 25 artisans from 12 regions across Italy. The Piazza Italia collection brings more than 75 products for customers to explore, including traditional products spanning centuries of history.

Rossella Rago, host of the popular web cooking show Cooking With Nonna and the author of Cooking with Nonna: Celebrate Food and Family with Over 100 Classic Recipes from Italian Grandmothers used the collection in a cooking demo for Kings customers.

In addition to the culinary offerings, Alessandra Belloni, singer and interpretive dancer, entertained the crowd, as did an operatic flash mob.

Jeff Binder, VP of Center Store for Kings Food Market, said he worked closely with Italian Products Inc. to develop a portfolio of Italian offerings that reaches the regions and also creates a complete Italian kitchen. “We’ve got pasta, oils, sweets, even artisan ceramics.”

The Piazza Italia collection does embrace all of Italy. There’s pesto from Liguria, which Chef Fabio paired with artisan pasta from Campania. He also shared some family recipes — a lentil stew, recipe below — and paired it with local seafood to showcase just how well Italy and Jersey go together.

The eight-day tasting event will continue until Sunday April 9 at various Kings supermarkets across the state. One lucky shopper will also win a $250 gift card. To see the full schedule of events, click here.

Piazza Italia at Kings Food Market
Piazza Italia items available at Kings in Short Hills, NJ.

In summation of the event, Francesco Genuardi said it best: “We’re bringing Italy to New Jersey. Viva Italia and Viva New Jersey!”


Chef Fabio’s Lentil Stew with Mussels

Cook Time: 60 minutes
Prep Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4 people

20 fresh mussels, in the shell
¼ cup dry white wine
½ cup Umbrian lentils (brown or green)
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
¼ cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
2 Kings fresh organic sage leaves
2 fresh garlic cloves, crushed
1 can Kings tomato sauce
½ white onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 sprigs Kings fresh organic rosemary

  1. In a large sauce pot, cook the lentils with salted water and bay leaves for 1520 minutes, until most of the water has absorbed. Set aside.
  2. In a large sauté pan, combine onion, carrot and celery with olive oil, until softened, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato sauce and rosemary, and cook at a low simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a wide, large sauté pan with a lid, combine the wine, peppercorns, salt, garlic cloves and parsley.
  4. Add in the mussels and combine, then cover and bring the mixture to a boil, cooking for several minutes. Remove the lid, and begin to remove the mussels as they begin to open.
  5. Combine the cooked lentils with the tomato sauce, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  6. To serve, plate the lentil stew and top with cooked mussels.

Tomato Bruschetta

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Kings fresh tomatoes
Kings extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Kings organic fresh basil
Fresh bread

  1. Wash and dice the tomatoes. Season with plenty of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
  2. Add the basil leaves that have been washed and hand-torn.
  3. Cut the fresh bread in slices and toast on both sides on the grill.
  4. Pour the extra virgin olive oil on the slices of bread and then place the tomatoes on them (a tip is to soften the bread slices with a little of the juice from the tomatoes before placing them on the bread).