Living Well in Litchfield County, Connecticut

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Antoine Bootz

Bleu on Bank

By Pamela Brown

The food world may be abuzz about charcuterie, but Paige DeFeo has always known the simplistic beauty and satisfying flavors of this French culinary creation. “It’s an easier way to entertain and it’s an elegant way to do it. People love to gather and graze,” says Paige, owner of Bleu on Bank, a specialty gourmet shop in New Milford. “I’m an artist and I love the aesthetic side of cooking—the food, the plating.”   

Opened in March, Bleu on Bank has a dual purpose design featuring an elegant living room and retail space. “I wanted it to be nice and comfortable. In the front area I showcase beautiful housewares that customers can purchase,” says Paige, a former wardrobe stylist for TV shows, commercials, and print catalogs who taps into that creativity in all aspects of her business. The inviting space is also used for special events. Customers can browse a selection of platters, plates, cutting boards, napkins, glasses, and more, then venture into the shop to peruse ingredients ranging from high-quality cooked, smoked, and cured meats; high-end patés and caviar; and dried fruits and vegetables; to jams, jellies, honey, olives, fresh bread, and everything in between. A glass display case features at least 50 varieties of cheeses from local artisans and around the world. “I geared it toward foodies. Being a chef, I’m familiar with the entertaining aspect of food and I wanted to create a space where people could buy luxury items they normally can’t get at the grocery store. Plus I know what city folks want,” adds Paige, a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education who has worked as a private chef for over 25 years and caterer for high-profile clients. 

Antoine Bootz

Additional accoutrements include chocolate, quiches, soups, and unique items such as Harissa and preserved lemons. Customers can purchase ingredients to create their own board or order a specialty one. International platters, including Indian, Spanish, Italian, and French, are available in addition to vegan. For ease of entertaining customers can purchase house-made dips, salads, macaroni and cheese, garlic bread, and gourmet grilled cheeses and tomato soup to-go. Hors d’oeuvres are sold by the dozen.  

 “I love being a chef. It’s never felt like work. My dad always told me, ‘You’re only as good as your last job.’ I feel I’m super nice and easygoing and I always try to leave on a high note,” says Paige who was born and raised in New York City and now resides in New Milford. “Growing up in a food city, I was exposed to a lot. I came from a big Italian family so food was always at the center of life.” Paige admits New Milford is far from the city but she instantly fell in love with the town. “The people are great. I love these stores on Bank Street. A lot of them are women-owned and we’re supporting each other. I really like the vibe and I’m happy to provide customers with something nice.”  

50 Bank Street, New Milford, bleuonbank.com, 860-799-7696

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