Sunday, September 1, 2019 || By Shanel Romain || @maywoodnews
We spent a few hours on Saturday seeking out the people and stories behind some of the most popular dishes at this year’s Taste of Melrose Park, held from Friday to Sunday in Melrose Park.
Below are just some of the many $3 items that were a hit (some are staples of the annual festival and others are rather new).
Louie Ariola’s Artichoke casserole
“I made 33 trays today and I may have to make more,” said Corinne Ariola Principe, the owner of Louie Ariola’s, creator of the popular artichoke casserole. The popular dish is made “with a lot of stuff — garlic and all my good seasonings,” and baked in Principe’s prized pizza oven.
Artichoke dip, created by Corinne Aroila Principe, right, is served up at the Taste of Melrose Park. | Shanel Romain
Stuffed Melrose peppers
“This is very unique,” said David Scatchell, 37, and owner of Scatchell’s Stuffed Melrose Peppers. “We started this about 20 years ago. My mom passed away a couple of years ago. I was her helper. She owned it, but I helped her out.
A customer shows off his stuffed Melrose pepper before taking a bite. | Shanel Romain
“I took it over after she passed and we’ve seemed to be pretty successful. It’s all in the family. It’s a lot of work. This is by far the hardest and most expensive stand to own and run in the entire Taste. There are about 10,000 peppers. They’re all very tiny. You have to clean each one. You have to cut each one. You have to stuff each one. Not to mention you have to cook all the gravy. I call it gravy. I know there’s an argument between sauce and gravy. I call it gravy, because it’s cooked with neck bones, which is meat, so I call it gravy because of that.
David Scatchell, the owner of Scatchell’s, replenishing his supply of stuffed Melrose peppers. | Shanel Romain
“The preparation starts in July,” Scatchell said. “I take a break every summer from my real job. It’s hard work — stuffing, cutting, cleaning, family. That’s what it’s all about.”
Panzerottis being sealed after getting stuffed. | Shanel Romain
“Penzerotti is pizza dough,” said Carmin Iannelli, the owner of Iannelli’s Panzerotti. “We roll it out, cut it up, roll it flat, put mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce on it, seal it up and deep fry it.”
Stephanie Sisco, 38, waited in line on the dish for almost 10 minutes. While in line, she struck up a conversation with Cindy McClernon.
Skyy Campos, 12, eating a Panzerotti at this year’s Taste of Melrose Park. | Shanel Romain
“We just met and realized we know each other,” Sisco said, laughing. “My sister was just at her baby shower today!”
Anthony Dames, owner of Sweet Apples, said that his popup food vendor has only been in business for three years, but the sweet apples are already a hit.
Anthony Dames, owner and operator of Sweet Apples, with his sweet creation. | Shanel Romain
“They’re apples topped with caramel, fudge, nuts, sprinkles and marshmallows,” Dames said. “We do a couple of food festivals each year. This is our first year at the Taste, but we’ll be back next year.”
There were trays for people to carry multiple dishes at one time. Here pictured is Carlotta’s Linguini. | Shanel Romain
“This is my mother’s stand,” said Carlotta Mazzone, of Carlotta’s Sweet Aroma Linguine. “She’s had it for 30 years here. Her name is Carlotta, so we’re Carlota’s Sweet Aroma. We make fresh linguini with garlic and oil.”
Captain D’s Seeds & Nuts Homemade Lupinis
“This is what I come here for,” said Patty Tragarz, referencing the Dominic DiFazio’s lupini beans.
“It’s a really salty nut that you take out of the shell,” Tragarz said. “You can make them at home, but it’s hard to do. They’re comparable to navy beans, but you can’t eat the shell.”
Seeds and nuts at DiFazio’s lupini stand. | Shanel Romain
“I’ve been here for 20 years,” said DiFazio. “We have seeds and nuts. We’re big sellers of beanie beans — an Italian bean. They’re good with beer and nature’s aphrodisiac.” VFP
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