Many globetrotting lovers of gastronomy are enamoured with delicious delicacies that they discover on their travels around the world, and dream of recreating these dishes when they return home. During one of my many visits to New York City’s Union Square GreenMarket, I came across one such individual who took this process one step further and turned her foodie discovery into a life-changing, thriving food business.
Hudson County, New Jersey-based, Buon Pane and Focaccia was founded by Barbara Olson in 1988. After having a successful career in publishing, and inspired by the culture of eating focaccia that she discovered on holiday in the idyllic Italian resort of Portofino, Barbara re-invented herself as a baker of fine quality Italian breads and Buon Pane was born. Having visited Genoa and Portofino last year myself, Barbara’s story stuck a chord with me as I also fell in love with the idea of savouring freshly baked, succulent squares of focaccia bought from local bakeries that is prevalent across the picturesque region of Liguria.
Barbara’s unique focaccias and breads (ciabattas and paninis) really resonate with the spirit and culture of New York’s network of GreenMarkets as they are produced using the finest quality locally sourced ingredients (including the flour, which is grown and milled in New York state). The focaccias are topped with appetising combinations of cheeses and seasonal farm fresh vegetables. My favourite varieties are broccoli rabe, tomato and goats cheese (seen in the picture below); and red onion, sage, goats cheese and mozzarella.
I spoke to Barbara at her stall in Union Square GreenMarket and she told me the story of Buon Pane and Focaccia. You can hear the interview in full by clicking on the play button below.