From Lancaster County cheddar cheeses, smoked hams, scrapple, sauerkraut, shoofly pie and sand tarts to English Wensleydale cheese dotted with cranberries, Spanish Serrano ham, Hawaiian Red Alaea sea salt, Swiss raclette cheese and French foie gras, S. Clyde Weaver has come a long way.
Once a local cheese and smoked-meat business started in the East Petersburg home of S. Clyde and Emma Weaver in 1920, the mom-and-pop business has taken on an international flair.
Part market stand and part gourmet shop, S. Clyde Weaver still has its presence at local farmers' markets such as Central Market in Lancaster and Roots Market in Manheim. It has a smaller shop at 1509-B Lititz Pike in Lancaster, but the flagship shop, at 5233 Main Street in East Petersburg, is the foodies' paradise.
The East Petersburg Store and Cafe is a fusion of gourmet coffee shop, soup and sandwich cafe, international deli, bakery, gourmet olive oil, sea salt, balsamic vinegar and jarred goods shop, butcher and farm market. Oh yes, and holiday mail order business.
This time of the year, the emphasis at S. Clyde Weaver is on the gift baskets, gift certificates and holiday foods. Whether you need a pork loin and fresh locally-made sauerkraut for New Year's Day, an array of fancy cheeses and meats for your holiday cocktail party or a last-minute hostess gift for Aunt Edna and Uncle Bill, you'll find it, and then some.
"A lot of people are very surprised to see all the things we have," says Tim Godshall, manager of the East Petersburg store and cafe. "It really is an international market, not just Lancaster County."
That means that you will find a display case filled with meats and cheeses from all over the world, with a local goat cheese and southern Lancaster County cheddar cheese, side by side with an elegant English White Stilton laced with dried apricots and mangos, a seven-year aged Canadian cheddar, Italian and Spanish olives, Middle Eastern hummus, Parma ham from Italy, Spanish marinated Boquerones and exotic caviar.
There are red beet eggs and mousse truffle keeping company, while fresh Italian style ricotta cheese is not far from clotted cream for your British-style scones. The selection of olives alone is staggering -- hundreds of different types in black, green, deep red, pitted and unpitted. You can find homestyle chicken pot pie and Italian lasagna, whoopie pies and German strudel, southwestern pepperjack cheese and French Roquefort cheese.
One of the newest additions for S. Clyde Weaver is the oil, salt, pepper and balsamic bar, where you can select gourmet items and place them in customized bottles for your at-home cooking or gift-giving. The extra virgin olive oils include Greek Koroneiki, Italian Leccino, Chilean Arbequina and Californian Mission, with flavors such as blood orange, Persian lime, chipotle pepper, white truffle and basil. Balsamic vinegars include an 18-year-old Italian vinegar, Spanish sherry and French champagne, with flavors such as wild blueberry, peach and honey ginger.
If you thought sea salt was white, S. Clyde Weaver's salt lineup proves that salts come in the shades of the rainbow, with just as many flavors. There are red and black sea salts from Hawaii, pink salt from the Himalyans and grey salt from France. The peppercorn varieties include rose pink peppercorns from Brazil and white peppercorns from Ceylon. There are also salts and peppercorns with smoked flavors, like smoked bacon chipotle and smoked garlic.
"People are just amazed at how many different kinds of oils and salts we have. It adds a whole new element to cooking," Godshall says.
This time of the year, S. Clyde Weaver is winding down from a busy holiday shipping season. The last mail order gifts went out earlier this week, shipping baskets of smoked meats, cheeses, pretzels, cookies and other goodies as far as California and Maine to nearby destinations like Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
There are still plenty of gift baskets prepared and ready to go for last-minute holiday gift-giving. As Godshall notes, older people who have everything can always enjoy a food gift. The gift baskets are also a great starting point for holiday parties, with baskets filled with sweet treats such as sand tarts and cookies or snack gifts with pretzels, dips and cheeses.
Some of the most popular gift baskets include the Taste of Lancaster basket with Lebanon bologna, smoked Gouda, sharp Cheddar and shoofly pie, and the Pa. Dutch Pack with Lebanon and sweet bologna, Gouda, Cheddar, chow chow, Martin's hard pretzels, peanut butter-filled pretzels, Wilbur Buds, apple butter and Weaver's cookies. Gifts range from $17.50 to $200 or more. They can also be customized.
"We will have people running in at the last minute for gifts Friday and Saturday. We will be open until 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve," Godshall says. "And if all else fails, a gift certificate is always the perfect last-minute gift."
S. Clyde and Emma Weaver might be surprised to see how their local meat and cheese business has grown, from the time when they cooled things off with 300-pound blocks of ice in their cellar. Now, the business might be just as likely to provide duck pate, French brie and Spanish olives for a dinner party as to offer up a plate of cinnamon-y sand tarts, pork barbecue and sweet and sour pickles.
NAME: S. Clyde Weaver Store and Cafe
LOCATION: 5233 Main Street (Route 72), East Petersburg
HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 6 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat. 6 a.m.-5 p.m.; Christmas Eve 6 a.m.-3 p.m.
PRICE RANGE: Cafe menu with made-to-order subs, $5.09-$6.89; homemade soups $4.25-$5.75; paninis $4.69-$6.59; chicken pot pie $3.50-$4.75; quiche of the day $4.59; Greek salad $6.29; pear and bleu cheese salad $6.29
CONTACT: 569-0812, www.SClydeWeaver.com