By: Melanie Lloyd
For well over a decade, Jacobsons Gourmet Concept has been my favourite specialty food shop in Ottawa. Located in New Edinburgh, this store offers lots of charm and brightness. It has friendly and knowledgeable staff and offers a great selection of delectable goodies and delicacies, not to forget their outstanding cheese bar.
Their selection and presentation of food product is absolutely tantalizing. You can find rows of colourful boxes and jars that make it such a pleasure to browse through the store.
Several times over the years, I discovered wonderful products that were unknown to me. I experienced my first Art-Is-In bread, Irish Dubliner cheese, and more recently Bellavitano Espresso cheese thanks to Jacobsons.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Dominique Jacobson about the store. When I asked Dominique about how the concept for Jacobsons started, she told me that her mom, Susan Jacobson, had always been an entrepreneur and had interest in opening a business with Dominique’s godmother. This opportunity came when a local merchant called about the available space.
Through another side of the business, they had already developed strong relationships with the ambient producers. They knew them well and had been selling their products for a long time. By opening the store, they thought it would be a good opportunity to showcase these products themselves.
Dominique’s mom is of British and European descent. Dominique mentioned that years ago, they started working with products that reminded them of this heritage. She also told me that growing up, they always had big family dinners and parties at their house.
The store creates a space that encourages people to come back to the table with family and friends; A place where you can get great food to create special moments.
Regarding the cheese bar, Dominique explained their long and special relationship with a company in the UK called The Fine Cheese Co. Their owner flew over when they first opened to help them set up their cheese counter and to train them regarding cheese. This led to a European style of service where the staff cuts cheeses for the clientele by hand. Dominique mentioned that it’s a nice part of what they do and has a personal connection for them.
I asked Dominique to look back to when the store first opened. Compared to then, are there any big changes? If so what makes her most proud?
Dominique told me she is most proud of the things that haven’t changed. Many of the faces of their staff, for example, are the same faces that were with them in the early days of the store. As a family business, it is something they hold dear. Another example is their continued commitment to quality food and making sure they share food knowledge with their customers.
In regard to what has changed, Dominique told me that the store is now more complete in terms of offering food for anytime of the day, whether it be for cocktail, dinner, lunch, tea, or a special occasion. Whether you are looking for a baguette, premium chocolates, or fine olive oils, the store is now very complete and no matter the budget, the customers can always find something special.
WHAT’S IN MY BAG?
In terms of cheese, I picked up Challerhocker from Switzerland, Grey Owl goat cheese in ash from Canada, Louis d’Or which is also from Canada, and my favourite Bellavitano Espresso from the United States.
In terms of sausage, I picked up a Chorizo sausage and a saucisson sec. I also bought a treat from CXBO Chocolates. This colourful bar is made of milk chocolate with pistachio, orange, and bergamot. Delicious!
Jacobsons will always remain a special place where I can find food that stands out from the average to either enjoy on my own, or better yet to share with my family and friends. Food at the table from Jacobsons is always sure to impress any of my guests.
Jacobsons is located at 141 Beechwood Ave, Ottawa, ON K1M 1L4