Probably the biggest food news in Portland this week, reported online Monday, was the passing of Ten Ten Pié, a well-loved neighborhood bakery and market on Cumberland Avenue that specialized in European pastries with an international – often Japanese – flair.

Markos Miller, who owned the nearly five-year-old business with baker Atsuko Fujimoto, wrote a message to their customers on their Instagram page announcing the bakery’s permanent closure. He called their time at Ten Ten Pié “such a wonderful and rewarding experience.”

“Keep doing what you’re doing to help local food, local business, and local community flourish,” the post said.

Miller, a former Deering High School teacher, and Fujimoto, who previously worked in the kitchens at Miyake, Standard Baking Co. and Fore Street, opened the bakery and lunch spot in 2014 at 171 Cumberland Ave., once home to DiPietro’s Italian sandwich shop.

Fujimoto’s food was beloved by the bakery’s loyal customers, who shopped there for everything from French macarons to savory hand pies and take-out lunches with a Japanese accent that were served bento box-style. The Double Chocolate-Sake Cake, just two to three small bites, was devastating, and the onigiri (rice ball) a healthful, perfect late-afternoon snack. The market sold a small and eclectic selection of groceries and snacks.

PIZZA VILLA

Pizza Villa, the 54-year-old Congress Street pizza parlor near Maine Medical Center, could be open again as early as March 19, according to one of its new owners. The restaurant, a West End institution, has been closed since Feb. 25 for repairs and renovations, including upgrades to plumbing and electrical.

Sam Minervino, who bought the business with his brother, Rob, said Monday they are scheduled to go before the Portland City Council March 18 to get their restaurant/liquor license.

“If they approve our license on the 18th, there’s no reason we can’t open on the 19th,” he said. “On our side we should have everything done by then.”

The old-fashioned family pizzeria is known for its one-size pies (10 inches), sandwiches, pinball and video games, and cash-only bar. Minervino is changing that last item, and will take credit cards at the bar.

WINE WEEK

Portland Wine Week launched last summer with more than 50 events packed into seven days – some sold out within days of being announced.

This year, the event returns June 17-23 and will include programming around the theme of “Women in Wine.” Dozens of female wine makers, sommeliers and wine industry leaders will be featured, according to Erica Archer, founder of Portland Wine Week and a sommelier herself.

“The female talent in this industry is rich, diverse and growing,” she said, “and we’re going to spotlight that with the best of the best from around the country and in Portland, Maine, this June.”

Fifteen events are already scheduled, including how to make pasta and pair it with wine at Solo Italiano; a rosé and tapas dinner at Sur Lie with Executive Chef Emil Rivera; and a sail on Casco Bay that includes brunch made by Ilma Lopez of Chaval and Piccolo, and wine pairing from Archer. Weeklong specials are to include a “Women Winemakers” wine list (by the glass and bottles) at Central Provisions, and “Bivalves & Bubbles,” pairing oysters and sparkling wine at The Shop on Washington Avenue.

Watch for updates and sign up for a newsletter at portlandwineweek.me

EXPANDED SWEETS

Dean’s Sweets, makers of hand-dipped truffles, caramels and butter creams in Portland, plans to open a second location in the city’s East Bayside neighborhood this spring to provide more production space and a second retail shop.

There are no plans to close the existing 475 Fore St. location, said Dean Bingham, co-owner of the business with his wife, Kristin Bingham. Dean Bingham said the new space, at 54 Cove St. and owned by a friend, suddenly became available “and we moved a little bit quicker than we were anticipating.”

Chocolate bunnies by Deans Sweets Photo courtesy of Deans Sweets

“… We did it because we’ve been thinking about adding space for quite a long time,” he said. “We feel cramped where we are.”

Bingham said he needs one or two more employees in the short term, and his part-time employees will be adding more hours. The new space will allow him to increase production “I would like to think by 50 percent, in part because we will be adding some things that we don’t currently do here.”

One product he plans to add is a sweet he developed for the Crave event for Maine Restaurant Week, held Sunday at Coffee By Design on India Street: Caramel corn with bittersweet chocolate and a dusting of Coffee By Design Italian roast.

TEMPTING SPECIALS

Is Bob’s Clam Hut in Portland struggling this winter? The restaurant announced last week that it will close on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the remainder of the winter. It had been open seven days a week.

The restaurant also launched some great-sounding seafood specials to get customers in the door. Sunday, for example, the Fisherman’s Platter, normally $30, will be available for half price. The platter includes fried whole clams, scallops, haddock, fried lobster tail, cole slaw, fries and onion rings.

Monday is Industry Day, when workers in the food industry get 50 percent off their bill.

On Monday and Thursday, a lobster roll or a clam roll with chowder goes for $10.

And on Friday and Saturday, children under 16 can eat free off the kid’s menu.

ROSEMONT HONORS

Rosemont Market & Bakery has been selected by Winsight Grocery Business as one of the 2019 most remarkable independent grocers in the country.

Winsight is a Chicago-based information services company focused on the food and beverage industry that provides business information to grocery executives and industry decision makers. The organization noted that Rosemont bought $2.5 million in local produce from 55 independent farms in 2018 using Forager, a new Maine-based app that helps businesses like Rosemont procure local foods.

Rosemont was an early adapter of Forager, which connects stores directly with local farmers and other food producers.

“Our use of Forager has been a real game-changer in our ability to provide our customers with local food, in a manner that best supports our business,” John Naylor, co-founder of Rosemont, said in a press release.

The first Rosemont Market opened in 2005 and has since expanded to six locations and a warehouse, all in Maine.

EXPO WEST

At least two Maine companies are showing off their new products this week at Expo West natural foods convention in Anaheim, California.

Ocean’s Balance, a Biddeford-based producer of edible seaweed, is unveiling nine new products at the expo, including Spicy Seaweed Sprinkles, Kombu Flakes and three seaweed whole-leaf products. The seaweed sprinkles are inspired by Japanese furikake, which means “sprinkle over,” according to Lisa Scali, director of sales and marketing for Ocean’s Balance.

“Unlike traditional furikake, which uses a lot of sugar, salt and oil, ours contain much less sugar and salt and no oil,” Scali said.

Ocean’s Balance was also just named one of three finalists in season 4 of the Greenlight Maine competition, and is in the running for a $100,000 prize.

Gelato Fiasco, based in Brunswick, is introducing three new flavors at Expo West: Deep Maine Woods Brownie Gelato (cherry-swirled black forest cake gelato with whipped cream, brownies, and chocolate shavings); Mint Brookie, Brownie Cookie (mint gelato twisted with chunks of brownie cookies and a fudgy cookie swirl); and Nutterfluffer Gelato (peanut butter, marshmallow swirl and pound cake).

DOSE OF SUNSHINE

Got a case of cabin fever? Vena’s Fizz House, 345 Fore St. in Portland, is joining forces with New England Distilling Co. for a “Cabin Fever Reliever” from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Vena’s will be offering a $5 “Sunshine Sipper” cocktail “because we all need a dose of sunshine to get through winter’s hump.” Vena’s co-owner, Steve Corman, will be taking over the tasting room at New England Distilling, 26 Evergreen Drive, and mixing up Vena’s infusions with New England Distilling spirits. Sample pours will be available for $1.

Vena’s Fizz House will be closed from March 18-23 to renovate the bar.

BLUE HILL BLUES

Black Dinah Chocolatiers has permanently closed its tasting room in Blue Hill, which opened in 2012.

The company’s headquarters, store and factory in Westbrook, which moved from Isle au Haut in 2015, will remain open.

Chocolatier Kate Shaffer, who founded the business with her husband and business partner Steve Shaffer, wrote in a letter on the Black Dinah Facebook page last Thursday that “this decision did not come with ease. There is both great sadness in saying goodbye to the Tasting Room, as well as an incredible sense of gratitude for the opportunity – however long – to have served the Blue Hill community.”

The Blue Hill tasting room sold the company’s full line of chocolate confections and had an espresso bar. It also sold locally made ice cream and cookies.

WEST COAST STONEWALL

Stonewall Kitchen has opened a cooking school and cafe inside the Macy’s Home Store in Costa Mesa, California. The school and cafe, which opened in November, are Stonewall Kitchen’s first retail locations on the West Coast.

The cafe is serving the same classic New England food that’s sold at Stonewall Kitchen’s flagship store in York. The menu includes Lobster BLTs, New England clam chowder, and haddock sandwiches. The cooking classes also have a Yankee flair, featuring a New England Indoor Clam Bake, for example.

Stonewall Kitchen has been working with Macy’s since 2002, and today Stonewall Kitchen products are sold in more than 500 Macy’s locations.

Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

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