All the pastabilities: Pastamore’s family-and-friends business model builds warmth at the Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show
Special to the Daily
There is almost no food more welcoming and warm than pasta. From linguine and spaghetti to fettuccine and every fun name in between, it is a member of an elite squad of ultimate comfort food. Combine quality pasta and sauces with a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and you get Pastamore, the family-and-friends-run Vail Farmers’ Market and Art Show stand that feels like home.
Owner Marvin Lopez is a familiar face at the market, even though he’s not a local. He lives in Denver and commutes many Sundays to Vail, which he described as his “second home.” Lopez has worked with Pastamore since his friends, who own the Denver-based business, introduced him seven years ago. Pastamore products have been available at markets since 2001.
“I’ve always liked cooking,’’ he said.
Like many other chefs, Lopez has a deep-rooted and enduring relationship with food, which sparked his passion for experimenting with flavors and products for the business.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always made my own meals. My mom would get mad,” he said.
His mother, uncle, aunt, brother, sister, girlfriend and best friend are all among the Pastamore team as well, helping with a plethora of jobs, from cooking to packaging to marketing. The tightknit team brings a warm atmosphere and sense of familial trust for guests coming to the stand for samples and full-size products. Lopez hopes that each customer leaves feeling like a friend.
In fact, Lopez is also known for being a canine aficionado. Market neighbor Courtney Mace noted that it is not uncommon to see him playing with the vast array of dogs that come by — whether big, small, short, tall, purebred or mixed.
As is true to the testimony of quality, all ingredients for the pasta, oils and sauces are either sourced locally or from only the very best places around the world. Many of the oils travel all the way from Italy to Colorado, and the white truffle oil comes from France.
At the market, Pastamore offers a broad range of samples with small cubes of soft bread. It’s not difficult to taste distinct the care and regional flavors in each and every unique sauce, of which Lopez’s personal favorite is rosemary and roasted garlic olive oil.
“You can use it on everything,” he said.
The rosemary is a strong, herbal flavor that takes prominence over the sweeping garlic notes trailing along the aftertaste. Both flavors are subtle enough to complement almost any dish. The Carribean rum barbecue sauce is partly inspired by time Lopez spent living in Jamaica. Blends of island spices pair effortlessly with the sweet, brown-sugar taste of this mild sauce. The eye-catching dark chocolate balsamic vinegar boasts a prominent dark chocolate flavor in addition to a base balsamic that has been barrel-aged for 18 years.