Just hearing the term “specialty food” usually conjures up images of luxury items like rare cheeses, caviar, paté and smoked salmon…things that are nice to have as once-in-awhile treats. In truth, the world of specialty food consists of 1000s of products, many of them staples, ranging from fresh fruit preserves, aromatic teas and coffees, to handmade pastas and sauces. Igourmet.com brings these treats to you to round out your weekly shopping list no matter where you live.
It all started with grandfather Charles Chesman’s cheese importing company back in the early 20th century shipping cheeses back from Europe in passenger liners. He recalls, “They didn’t have refrigerated container vessels or any kind of specialized ships back then for importing perishable foods. To keep goods cool, you had to stow them down below the waterline, as far as possible from the boilers.”
Despite these technological challenges, Chesman’s importing company grew to become one of the largest cheese importers in the United States. Son Fred took over and in the early sixties his wife Marsha established International Gourmet as a catalog-based retailer. Fast-forward to 1997 when the Internet really took off and grandson Spencer launched igourmet.com bringing specialty foods only a mouse-click or later, an i-phone tap away.
One thing however hasn’t changed throughout the years…ongoing direct partnerships with Europe’s best small-scale gourmet cheese and fine food producers. Spencer and his team…lucky folks…spend much of their time touring Europe, developing and maintaining supplier relationships and discovering new products. Believe it or not, even with 800 specialty cheeses, thousands of fine foods, and a complete line of exquisite gift baskets, igourmet still doesn’t consider themselves to have the largest selection on the web but they do pride themselves on the most genuine supply line. Not only do they bring you the best from across the globe like Calvestrano olives, cases of Italian Olio Carli extra virgin olive oil, organic agave nectar, and cheese wheels like English Mature Blue Stilton, they serve as a premiere resource for gourmet food education. Their online store includes detailed product descriptions, recipes and helpful serving suggestions. With large, mouth-watering photographs, paragraph-length product descriptions, and linked recipes, they feel that enlightening is just as important as selling in order to cultivate customer interest.
Most importantly, all igourmet products are guaranteed super fresh when they arrive at your door using a FreshWave system. FreshWave incorporates a styrofoam-lined shipping chest that is chilled by refrigerant gel packs. In ambient conditions of up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, FreshWave keeps perishables cool for up to 48 hours while in transit.
Photo courtesy of igourmet.com