A trip to Asia during the summer led Celeste Governanti to consider new ideas for her downtown Jersey City bakery and café, Made With Love on Jersey Avenue.
“During my trip, I observed Buddhists, whom I admire because they are willing to embrace change and new ideas,” Governanti said.
When she came back from her trip, Governanti put some of her new ideas into motion, including starting a monthly “communal dinner.” The first dinner occurred on Sept. 24.
“And at the end of the dinner, you leave with 15 new friends.” -- Celeste Governanti
“Basically, it’s like giving a party for 15 people in the community,” Governanti said. “I like my customers very much, and I have grown fond of them.”
Four course appeal
Governanti, who opened the bakery in December of 2008 after attending bread-making classes at the French Culinary Institute, has regaled her clientele with a variety of organic, homemade crowd-pleasers such as an apple cheddar scone, granola topped with honey butter sauce, organic lemonades, and herbal teas made with passion fruit.
And she looks to impress again with the communal dinner, a four-course meal including a main culinary course of meat, fish or vegetable.
Her last dinner had a French flavor, consisting of Julia Child’s famed Beef Bourguignon, Jersey Fresh raw vegetables with dip, baguette l’apprenti with pea soup, and plum tart and gateau chocolat. A rich supper that would fill more than one stomach, a kind of banquet that takes some time and doing.
Governanti usually prepares her meal the same day as the dinner with the help of her small staff, as she shops for the ingredients hours before, sometimes the day before, to ensure the freshest local and farm fresh ingredients.
After spending most of the first dinner serving the guests, Governanti was able to spend a few minutes with the guests and experience their enjoyment.
“They were passing around the breadbasket and had conversation with people they may have seen in the neighborhood,” Governanti said. “And at the end of the dinner, you leave with 15 new friends.”
At the first dinner, most of the participants were customers from Jersey City.
She has some repeat customers who will be coming back for the next communal dinner on Oct. 22 at 8 p.m.
For more information on Made With Love, 530 Jersey Ave. in Jersey City, visit www.madewithloveorganics.com.
Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.