Home for the Holidays, From Carlino’s Family to Yours
Skip the work, and enjoy holiday catering with decades of Italian tradition.
“I can’t imagine being anywhere else or doing anything else,especially at the holidays. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s rewarding at the same time.”
Nick Carlino has been involved in the family business for as long as he can remember. His grandparents started Carlino’s Market 36 years ago, and then his parents got involved. He and his sister are the next generation, and work closely with the business as well. For the Carlinos, holidays are especially evocative of the flavors and memories of family tradition.
“My grandmother would make her Holiday Soup in the morning, and it would be boiling in the kitchen, and we’d all wake up to the aroma of this soup being made and it would remind us of the holidays. My mom continues to do it today,” Carlino describes.
Carlino’s makes it easy to enjoy the holidays with your family, while not sacrificing quality, variety, or that homecooked feel. Their extensive menu has you covered from soups and antipasti all the way to desserts. In between, choose from a variety of entrees including Italian classics, pastas, and more, sure to please every palate. For entertaining, Carlino’s also offers cheese trays, hor d’oeuvres, and of course their very popular tomato pie.
Now in its third generation of family ownership, tradition continues to inform Carlino’s menus—for example, it is one of the few places you can get catering for a classic Italian Christmas Eve “Feast of the Seven Fishes.” The Carlinos always have this special meal as a family, so it has always been a mainstay of the market’s holiday catering menu as well.
Food is more than a business to the Carlino’s; it is a way to connect with and celebrate the past, sharing it with the community.
Carlino’s grandmother, the founder of the company, learned from her own grandmother and mother in Italy, watching as they cooked. “She was a fantastic chef. She never went to culinary school, but she had this ability to create dishes just out of the blue. She would experiment at home, and we would try the dishes, and if we approved, you’d find them in the prepared food cases the next day. I’d say 99 percent of the dishes made it into the case—she just had this ability, it was amazing.”
Baking was also her passion, and before she passed, she would train Carlino’s Market’s executive pastry chef, ensuring her methods would continue. The result is a unique offering of sweets not easily found elsewhere. One example are Carlino’s calginetti, a traditional Italian dessert that Carlino tells us people order from all over because they are so rare. Carlino describes them as ravioli-like pillows of sweet wine dough, filled with chestnuts, jams, and chocolate, then fried and topped with sugar. The ingredients are costly, and the methods labor intensive, but they are well worth it.
Longtime customer Lori Robbins tells us, “What I love about going to their store is that I can find something for every part of a meal, or find the perfect item to bring to someone’s home.” Even if you are not ordering catering in advance, you can still pop into the store for prepared foods and hostess gifts like gourmet baskets, oil and vinegar sets, and treats like a special Christmas panettone made exclusively for Carlino’s.
The deadline to order holiday catering for December 23—24 is December 17, so be sure to call 610-649-4046 or order online to make sure your holidays are as easy and delicious as possible.
Story by Laura Swartz. Photographs provided by Carlino’s Market. Carlino’s supports the Main Line Parent community.