People travel from near and far for the true “Cape Cod experience”. Enjoying classic clam or lobster anything adds to their idea of authenticity. However, for a taste of authentic Italy, Cape Codders now have Lynne Hamlyn and her daughter, Hilary, to thank for opening a portal to the Tuscan region with the traditional Italian market Sapori d’Italia in Dennis Village.
“I opened Sapori as a way to stay connected with my daughter,” Lynne says. Hilary fell in love with Italy while spending a semester abroad in college. After graduation, she relocated to Tuscany and has been happily living there for four years. For Lynne, there was an added motivation for opening the market. An environmental consultant by trade but artist at heart, Lynne longed for an outlet for her creative side. That this outlet came in the form of an Italian market may seem a bit different, but one look inside and you’ll see the vision and love that went into her endeavor.
“I’ve had my eye on it for a while,” Lynne shares. “We gutted the space, and it’s exactly as it looked in my head.” Tucked in behind Goodfella’s Gelateria and in front of Harvest Gallery Wine Bar along Route 6A, Sapori d’Italia is just off a pebbled piazza. And as Hilary scours the countryside for the true Italian experience, Lynne continues to share the finest imported products she comes across, right here on Cape Cod.
As you enter, the refrigerated glass case front and center is filled with wheels of cheese that run the gamut of texture and flavor—from a mild goat to a proper Fontina, with an aroma and flavor those faithful to the strong cheese seek out and embrace. The Italian meats provide a number of interesting choices in addition to more familiar offerings. The prosciutto cotto is a very light-colored, full-flavored ham, and the more identifiable prosciutto di Parma jumps off the tongue. Then there is the full-flavored speck (one of my favorites) as well as three types of salami offering a range of spice for individual tastes. Add in a selection of olives as well as roasted red peppers and, with one stop at the chilled case at Sapori d’Italia, your charcuterie plate will abound and astound your guests.
In Lynne’s voice you can hear her love of all she has to offer as she describes her products while slicing off tastes for customers. And this conversation is no one-way street. She enjoys engaging her patrons by asking their feedback on products: What do they taste? How is the texture? It’s intriguing how that can get the customer even more excited about what they’re sampling.
Once the difficult choices have been made, Lynne and her staff package the goods in another nod to the style of an authentic Italian market. After the meats are shaved in the slicer, they’re wrapped up with brown paper and masking tape. The cheese is sliced through a wire cutter and wrapped in waxed cheese paper to help keep them as fresh as they were in the store.
Your Sapori d’Italia experience doesn’t stop at the cold case, however. The pastas, the first cold-pressed olive oil, the Modena Balsamic vinegar are all directly imported from Italy to your table…by way of Dennis Village. Looking for genuine D.O.P. (English translation: Protected Designation of Origin) San Marzano tomatoes? Sapori d’Italia has cans of the ruby jewels straight from the Agro Nocerino Sarnese region of Salerno. Step down into the wine room and you’ll find Italian reds, whites and roses to choose from that will perfectly complement any meal. Hilary’s touch is evident throughout the shop, right down to the kitchen accessories, decorative tableware, even the music that wafts down from the speakers. She sends back only items authentic to today’s Italian kitchens.
Some concessions do have to be made in the name of freshness. The burrata and ricotta cheeses need to be locally sourced due to their delicately small window of freshness. The same goes for the bread, which is baked at Pain D’Avignon in Hyannis. A local baker supplies Sapori with tasty breadsticks on Fridays and Saturdays and turns the unsold loaves of bread into croutons.
A refreshing aspect of Sapori d’Italia is their willingness to find that particular ingredient you’ve been seeking. Need a certain type of saffron powder? How about guanciale or Italian tuna? Talk to Lynne or leave your e-mail address with your requests at the register, and chances are good she’ll find that special something. You can also sign up to receive the email newsletter that follows Hilary’s life in Italy, and she can help plan your Tuscan vacation with personalized consultations.
766 Route 6A,
Open Monday-Thursday, 10:00 am-6:00 pm
Friday & Saturday, 10:00 am-7:00 pm
Sunday, 12:00-5:00 pm