Steppin’ Out – Zachary Jack Specialty Foods and C. G. Di Arie Tasting Room, Part 1

The tasting room isn’t quite ready yet, but Zachary Jack Specialty Foods is and has been open and doing a good business for the past several months.

Both these businesses are in the old Zachary Jacques Restaurant, which is located about three miles east of Diamond Springs at 1821 Pleasant Valley Road.

“We thought about saying we had gourmet foods, which we do” said Lynette Evans, who with her husband and chef, John Evans, own this business along with ZacJack Bistro in Cameron park. “But, we thought the word gourmet might make people think things are expensive. We wanted to let people know that we have a lot of specialty foods that are not expensive and very affordable, so we used that word instead.”

As I walked along the neatly stacked shelves I noticed quite a number of pastas, pasta sauces, chutneys, curries, oils (including some very exotic ones like avocado oil), pickled items, and Harvest Song preserves.

There were also nuts for cooking and/or eating, trail mixes, dried fruit, crackers and more, things perfect to take along on a visit to the local wineries, many of which are just a few miles down the road.

“We get our nuts from Napa Nut Co.,” added Lynette, “And we put labels on them that you can understand. In fact, we do that wherever we can.

In addition to the canned and packaged goodies, there are freshly baked breads, and in the cooler section cheeses and patés, along with what I think is really great, gourmet meals you can take home and easily prepare.

Chef John Evans, who is famous for his “Everyday Gourmet Cuisine,” has come up with vacuum packed, precooked items like marinated short ribs with Bordelaise sauce, lamb shanks and buttered poached white prawns. He cooks them sous-vide (sealed and in a hot water bath) and then you simply take them home, warm them for a few minutes in hot water, open the package and serve (yes, he includes directions). I’ve done it, it is simple and they are very delicious (love the short ribs).

To go with these meals, or as a separate meal, they have a number of salad kits that come with their own house-made dressings (tried those too, delicious). And, as a treat some very decadent desserts, also made by Chef John, that you can purchase whole or by the slice, along with several flavors of gelato they get from the Italian Ice Cream Co. in Folsom.

Recently they have added locally sourced free range eggs and fresh vegetables. The eggs come from “just down the street” and vegetables from Humble Bee Hill Farms in Shingle Springs.

“We try to get everything we can locally,” added Lynette. “Freshness is very important to us, and it helps the local economy.”

They also sell quite a selection of interesting and reasonably priced wines, beers and sodas, along with coffee from America’s Best in San Francisco.

“We are looking forward to the opening of the C. G. Di Arie tasting room in the east end of the building, “ said Lynette, “which should be on Saturday, July 20. They are such nice people and their wine is outstanding.”

If you are not familiar with C. G. Di Arie, the winery is in the Mt. Aukum area of El Dorado County with a tasting room in Amador County.

Chaim and Elishiva Gur-Arieh are the owners. Chaim, who has a PhD in food science and a palate to match, is the winemaker, producing some of the finest and very best balanced wines around. Elishiva is a world class artist who manages a lot of the day to day winery business and also knows great wine. They are two of the most delightful people I have ever met.

Presently the hours at Zachary Jack Specialty Foods is from 11 a.m. until 6:30, Tuesday through Sunday. However, those hours are likely to change once the tasting room is opened.

The next time you are thinking about a picnic, something for a wine tasting trip or a great gourmet dinner, drop by Zachary Jacks Specialty Foods. They can help you select exactly what you need and can even help you with party and event planning.

For more information call 530-626-8045.

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