Victoria’s Fancy Foods – Gourmet grocery shop fashioned after the shops of Paris.

Morning Y’all!

A lot of folks think that this blog is about restaurants, WRONG! it is about good food in general, whether it is in stores, my friends kitchens or my own, bakeries, or restaurants.

I moved in the Severna Park/Pasadena area a year ago. My husband and I used to live in Essex, MD.

One of the main reasons why we decided to move was because there is close to -nothing- in Essex when it comes to food. There are not a lot of choices of good restaurants, grocery stores, etc..

I love cooking, and I have been blessed to have been surrounded by friends that enjoy it as much as I do.

While grocery shopping is a burden for some, I personally LOVE grocery shopping because I see it as an adventure. I prefer grocery shopping than any other type of shopping, any day of the week. When I used to live in Essex, my choices in grocery store were: Mars, Shoppers, Geresbeck’s, and Aldi, and that was it. Guess what the closest store to my house was?? Aldi ! I went to that store -once- because I had to make an emergency run as I needed something for my dinner that night.  After I parked the car, I was on my way in and there was a bodyguard at the entrance that fiercely looked at me and made it clear that I needed to turn around. Yep, a giant disgusting cockroach was right in front of the entrance, staring at me, daring me to make a move. I have a phobia of bugs. Needless to say that I can’t tell you what the store look like inside. Off to Mars I went that day (could have been literal since I flew back to my car after the sight of that disgusting thing).

My friend Yvette who has been living in Severna Park for years had told me numerous times about this place she goes to called Victoria’s Fancy foods and that I needed to check it out at some point. Never really made it there since I wasn’t living close to that area.. Until I moved here…….

I checked Victoria’s website ( and the front page  caught my attention immediately:


“Local clean foods and fine crafted wine”…..then it says “Our gourmet grocery shop is fashioned after the shops of Paris with wooden floors and chalkboard signs.”


!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (this was me jumping up and down, cartwheel and all..).

Then it says this: “We take pride in every item we offer to you.” I had to check it out and let me tell you that everything in that description does check out. Why didn’t I move in this area years ago???????????? Between all the restaurants I am discovering, Hawthorne Bakery and Victoria’s, I am not home sick anymore!

Please allow me to introduce you to this lovely lady, Victoria Stagmer, proud owner of this gourmet store:


Victoria is another hard working, dedicated and passionate woman I have the honor to know. She takes customer service to an entire new level and she knows her stuff (and top of it all, she is a certified wine specialist 🙂 ). She told me once that there is nothing in her store that she hasn’t tried. Remember this on her website:  “We take pride in every item we offer to you.”?

So let me recap, she offers gourmet food (from fresh pasta to olive oil, from crackers to jams, teas, coffee, spices, cheeses, bread….) and Wine from all over.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (yep, I did it again).

Let me take a second and talk about the bread. She gets frozen bread from a bakery in New Jersey (except for the sourdough which is authentic sourdough from LaBrea bakery in San Fransisco): olive bread, rosemary bread, whole grain (my personal favorite because it honestly taste like candy and it’s good for you!) regular bread (and I may be forgetting some). You take it home, you let it thaw for a bit, and stick it in the oven for 15 min at 380 degrees. Voila! fresh awesome bread coming straight out of the oven like you baked it (well you did). Slice it, add to that this wonderful Saint Angel Cheese she carries (that thing can’t just be triple creme, because triple means 3, I would guess a 100!) and top it with nice bottle of wine. That’s dinner for me right there.

She would also give me stuff to sample at home so that she can make a decision on whether she should carry it in her store or not. First of all, I feel very special that she values my opinion, second, I love trying new food! (Victoria: the truffle couscous is amazing!!!!! I tried it last night and it is phenomenal!! carry carry carry!).

I can’t tell you how many times I would call her up and ask her if she could bake a loaf of bread for me and that I would pick it up on my way home from work.  I double dog dare you to tell me that you can do that at any other store! She would also give me suggestions for wine pairing depending on what I am having for dinner. Talk about customer service!

Did I mention that I love that store? (and Victoria of course!).

Also, Victoria’s Fancy Foods has an opportunity to relocate into a larger space. She is obligated to her lease in the current location until February 2015 and actively looking for a business that would be interested in sub-letting this space. If you know of anyone, please have them get contact her!!!

Listen people! Go to her store, Follow her on Facebook, on Twitter, sign up for her newsletter, I am personally following this woman everywhere she goes! (sounds like stalking I know..).

So Get Fancy, Get local! and I can guarantee you that you would love that store as much as I do!

Stay hungry friends!





Hawthorne Fine Breakfast Pastry – A taste of France in Severna Park, MD



Question of the day: Do you know what I use to miss the most from where I grew up??

The picture probably gave it away, yes, The pastry!   Aaah, the croissants (plain, chocolate, almonds..), the fruit tarts…

See, I was raised on buttery croissants. That’s is what we had for breakfast (either that or some awesome bread with -real- butter and jam, I emphasize of real butter, not that white crap they serve you in restaurants or what you find in regular grocery stores).

Back in 2001, I was working for an IT company in Pikesville, MD. My supervisor Phyllis (who became a really good friend afterwards) had a birthday coming up. I wanted to do something special for her so I asked one of my co-worker where to find a really good birthday cake. Without hesitation, she told me that Miss Dessert was the best in town and that I wouldn’t be disappointed (I think that was the name, I tried to look them up but couldn’t find them so maybe that place doesn’t exist anymore, it was near Liberty road if I recall).

Anyway, during our lunch break, I asked her if we could go to that bakery and check out what they had. She agreed and off we went.The bakery wasn’t too far from the office so it didn’t take us long to get there. We entered the bakery and there was a display room, with   -very- colorful cakes everywhere: Orange, yellow, blue and all in between. They all looked the same to me, just a different color.

Silly French me, I was convinced that every color was associated with a flavor. For example, yellow would be lemon, blue would be blueberry or some other berry, orange would be orange, you get the picture. I called a salesperson over and pointed to the yellow one ( I happen to like lemon), and I asked  “What is this one?”, he replied: “It’s a yellow cake Ma’am”.

Here is how the conversation went:

Me: “I can see it’s yellow, but what is it?”

Salesperson: “It’s a yellow cake Ma’am”

Me (getting frustrated): “I understand, but what flavor?”

Salesperson: “I don’t know what to tell you Ma’am, it’s a yellow cake”

Me (done with the yellow one, pointing now to the blue one): “So what’s this one?”

Salesperson: “It’s a yellow cake Ma’am”

Me (now looking at my co-worker with the WTF look, and now pointing to the orange one): “and this one?”

Salesperson: “It’s a yellow cake Ma’am”.

Now I am pissed off, either Americans are color blind, or everything is yellow in this country. I was so confused. My co-worker proceeds to explain to me that icing makes the color, but they all taste the same, and that I had to trust her and just pick a color, and that everyone would like it. Not knowing any better, I did pick a yellow, yellow cake, had them write “Happy Birthday Phyllis” on it and off we went. Back to the office, we sneaked in the kitchen, displayed the yellow, yellow cake, lit some candles, brought everyone in, then someone else brought Phyllis afterwards, we sang Happy Birthday, she was touched, we cut the cake, and everyone had a piece, including me. It was horrible. The end. (everyone else seemed to enjoy it though so I guess my co-worker was right by saying that it would be a hit).

And this was the beginning of my disappointment about bakeries in general in the US. I had croissants here and there but couldn’t get satisfied as nothing came close to what I was used to.

My quest began. Throughout the years, I did find some good places, Bonjour French Bakery Cafe on Falls road (, very cute place with good espresso and croissants), Patisserie Poupon downtown Baltimore on East Baltimore Street (, I even ordered my wedding cake from there and they speak french! they have fruit tarts to die for).

I thought that Patisserie Poupon was probably as close as I was going to get..Until I had the privilege to meet Jessica Knudsen, Executive Pastry Chef/Owner of Hawthorne Fine Breakfast Pastry in Severna Park, MD. I met Jessica a couple of years ago, she was convinced that I had a cheese business (because I always brought Cheese and bread to a party). Her first question to me when we finally had a conversation was where did I import all my cheeses from. My answer was Victoria’s Fancy Foods (, I will be blogging about this place too!), Whole Foods or Wegmans. She thought I was joking, I was actually dead serious. I told her I actually owned an IT Company, she thought that was boring, and that was the beginning of an awesome friendship.

She told me about her job, actually not her job, her passion and started to describe what she does. Jessica is probably one of the most passionate person I have ever met, and it shows,  in every single pieces of arts she makes in that little heaven of hers.

I am happy to report that my quest is over. I found France in Severna Park.  I couldn’t believe it. I had to sample. and I did. Over, and over again. I fell in love!

Check out her website: and the Facebook page:, and look at all the pictures, especially the last one she posted yesterday:

526390_614532525243678_555129757_nNew Danish, house-made lemon curd filled pastry, baked with a caramelized lemon sugar crust. Topped with fresh strawberries and glazed with hot strawberry jam. Damn you Jessica! I feel like I am getting fat just looking at the pictures! ( I haven’t sampled this one yet, I hope she will get the hint!).

Please know that Hawthorne Fine Breakfast Pastry is STRICTLY wholesale, which means that you can’t just go there and pick up what you want. You can however visit any of the places she sells to :

I personally wished she had one little retail store front, I’d be there every single morning!

So here is my advice for the day:  if any restaurants, caterers or any specialty coffee houses are reading this blog, HIRE HAWTHORNE FINE BREAKFAST PASTRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Probably the best business decision you will ever make!

Stay hungry my friends!

(Man, I am dying for a croissant and a cappuccino just about now….)