Tag Archives: Manolo Blahnik

Ice Cream And A Ride, Perfect Summer’s End

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MaryEllen Fillo/Hartford Courant

There are two things that are part of my personal summer tradition, a ride out to “the country” (from my part of the state that means Litchfield County) and a stop for ice cream.

It all usually happens spontaneously, on a sunny summer Saturday or Sunday when I have had enough of yard work or writing or household chores and I decide it is time for me to treat me.

This year the perfect summer drive was a getaway along Litchfield’s rural back roads to a new ice cream place, Arethusa Farm Dairy in Bantam.

Let me describe my “ice cream like it used to be” treat in four mouthwatering words: sour cherry chocolate chunk.

This was the flavor I stumbled upon, and oh how lucky am I. This was artisanal ice cream at its best, creamy and naturally sweet, all the way down to those diced, just-picked-from-the-tree sour cherries that were mashed up with the dark chocolate chips in the decadent 18 percent fat, vanilla from Madagascar-flavored ice cream.

But I regress.

The Arethusa Dairy store features dairy products from its nearby Arethusa Farm owned by George Malkemus and Tony Yurgaitis, who, when they aren’t farming at their Litchfield dairy farm or running their restaurant, Arethusa al tavolo in Bantam, are CEO and vice president, respectively, of the chic designer shoe company Manolo Blahnik.

The two are a bit obsessive (in a good way) about their businesses, and that includes the dairy products they serve. Everything has to be fresh and real.


MaryEllen Fillo/Hartford Courant

“We want good ice cream but we want it to be a complete experience,” Yurgaitis said. “We love seeing people sitting outside on the benches and on the stone wall eating ice cream, families doing something together.”

But back to the ice cream. It is made with natural ingredients — sugar, eggs and milk from Arethusa’s award-winning cows — all carefully mixed in its processing plant located in the dairy store in a renovated firehouse on Bantam’s main Route 202 thoroughfare. Six “old-fashioned” classic flavors are available all year: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, coffee, mint chocolate chip and coconut chocolate chip. Seasonal flavors besides the cherry chunk include peach, cranberry chocolate chip, pumpkin, butter pecan and maple walnut.

“The coconut chip is probably the most popular regular flavor. But seasonally, the peach ice cream is the most one people love,” store manager Louise Arnold said about the summer flavor made with Connecticut farm peaches. “And we just made the peach this week.”

And while ice cream was part of my self-indulgent reason for the ride, the two-year-old pristine dairy store offers so much more when it comes to quality dairy products. There’s milk (whole, 2 percent, 1 percent, skim, chocolate, half-and-half and heavy cream,) fresh cultured butter (sea salt and unsalted), yogurt (whole milk plain, 1 percent, plain, maple and vanilla) and Arethusa’s brand of sour cream that recently won third place in the 2013 American Cheese Society’s annual competition in Wisconsin. There is also a glass display case full of Arethusa cheeses that is attracting nearly as many customers as the ice cream. Featured cheeses include Europa, Bella Anta, Al Tavolo, Al Tavolo Reserve, Crybaby, Tapping Reeve and Camembert, which, by the way, won second place at the national cheese society event.

But back to the ice cream. My summer spree (my makeshift dinner that night) was a $4.25 double scoop of that cherry ice cream in a store-made waffle cone. For those who prefer their ice cream in liquid form, the store also makes shakes, $6 for a regular, $7 for extra thick.

A stroll through the store reminded me that woman cannot live by ice cream alone, summer or not. I found I could not resist buying the freshly rolled summer mozzarella, and, OK, I admit it, I also bought a pint of the cherry chunk ice cream for home. On the drive home, I also stopped at one of the “Connecticut Grown” farm stands and bought three beautiful heirloom tomatoes and a bunch of fresh basil in anticipation of a proper dinner the next night.

Summer is fading but I’m thinking a scoop of cranberry and chocolate chunk ice cream will taste just as good when those autumn breezes blow and I need another excuse for a leisurely ride along Litchfield County back roads bursting with that spectacular foliage.





Manolo Blahnik Execs Open CT Restaurant/Wine Bar

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tavoloIf your idea of dining includes a little celebrity vibe, you might want to head out to Bantam and its new Arethusa al tavolo.

It’s the newest business venture of Manolo Blahnik execs, George Malkemus and Tony Yurgaitis, Connecticut residents who are not only known for fine shoes, but also their fine dairy venture in Litchfield, Arethusa Farm.

The two have been working for many months to open the restaurant/wine bar that shares space with its retail dairy store in an old firehouse on Bantam Road. While the unofficial “Sex and the City” Manolo Blahnik shoe hound, Sarah Jessica Parker, has yet to visit, the laid-back eatery with quality beers, an impressive wine list and five-star food featuring cheese, butter, ice cream and more from their farm, has already attracted celebs who have second homes in the tony Northwestern corner of the state. Among them, actress Polly Bergin, who, according to Manolo Blahnik’s CEO Malkemus, once designed her own line of shoes.

“We tavolo2are excited and happy to finally open,” said Malkemus. “And we want it to be a place for everyone. Come and enjoy.”

Admitting shoes will always be their first business passion, there is one other venture brewing.

Malkemus and Yurgaitis have teamed up with the shoe-savvy Ms. Parker and will launch a new line of shoes, bags and a signature ‘Manhattan Trench Coat” later this year. The “SJP” line will be sold exclusively at Nordstrom’s.

“Power of the Purse” Benefits United Way

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purse5 (2)Everyone who counted was there at the Connecticut Convention Center Monday, Michael Kors, Mary Frances, Judith Leiber, Manolo Blahnik…you get the idea.

Because when it came to purses, clutches, bags, pockets books and totes, it was a who’s who that was up for grabs at the United Way’s second annual “Power of the Purse” luncheon.

“It’s like your breath gets taken away when you walk into this,” said Marcy Sarino, a West Hartford resident who didn’t seem to know where to go first when it came to bidding on the hundreds of high-end handbags and other silent auction items that were part of the event organized by the United Way’s Women’s Leadership council to benefit its programs.

Chaired by Janet Flagg-Rawlins and Susan Christensen Stoner, the event is held to provide purse5financial education services to those in need.

More than 500 people attended the fundraiser that included something extra, some qualityadvice on how to get money into those purses.

Personal finance expert, author and tv personality Farnoosh Torabi was the guest speaker, and had plenty to say when it comes to keeping those pocketbooks flush.

purse15 “Pay yourself first,” advised Torabi, explaining that automatically depositing money into your own account and then paying bills assures some financial peace of mind. “Ask yourself what you are worth and then demand that,” she continued, urging the group to know their value in the workplace and not settle for something less.

“And set your goals,” said the Louis Vuitton-toting money guru. “If it’s a Louis Vuitton purse you want to own, make it a goal and work toward that goal.”

Do You Love Manolo Blahnik Shoes? Try Its Other Products!

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For me,  Manolo Blahnik shoes are a desire of the heart, a dream that just doesn’t match up to the checkbook. But there are other Manolo-related products I can indulge in once in a while. And how great is it that I love milk as much as shoes!

A tease please….

“It’s the Fifth Avenue of farms, the Barney’s of barns, the Saks of cow stalls.

Welcome to Arethusa Farm, Litchfield’s flourishing dairy dynasty with designer pedigree and stiletto style.

The pristine dairy farm may seem an unlikely business initiative for fashion gurus George Malkemus and Tony Yurgaitis. The Manhattanites are best known as the top execs of the high-end shoe brand Manolo Blahnik, the finely crafted, Italian women’s stilettos and such made famous by Carrie Bradshaw in the HBO series “Sex and the City.”

But don’t let these city guys fool you. With the same commitment and attention to quality they put into their pricey shoes-of–desire, the longtime partners have crafted the crème de la crème of dairy products while gaining international attention for their cattle.”  For more:  http://cour.at/QKhvkZ