Established in June 2004, Mercato was born from an idea to provide South Island chefs and home gourmets with access to specialist imported and quality local ingredients. Owners Ngaire and Marty Baker have travelled and worked extensively overseas in the food and hospitality industry. They believe the best meals are created using simple combinations of the highest quality ingredients. With quality comes exceptional depth of flavour, no artificial preservatives and in many cases products that are handmade and estate produced rather than mass produced.
As well as having a retail showroom open to the public Mercato supplies lodges, hotels, restaurants and selected retailers around the South Island. Centrally located in Christchurch, customers can indulge in the on site cafe, sample many of the products and receive detailed information on all the products in store. Saturday morning cooking classes and 'meet the maker' sessions provide ideas and tips on how to prepare and cook the ingredients.
Mercato specialises in imported artisan products that come from Italy, Spain, France and Persia. These include hand made pasta from Umbria, stone milled risotto rice, Michel Cluizel chocolate, Foie Gras & truffles, olives and estate pressed extra virgin olive oils, aged balsamic vinegar, hand filleted anchovies and a large selection of cured meats and cheeses. From New Zealand producers Mercato offers verjuice, apple syrup, chutneys, walnut products, Freeze dried fruits and herbs and hand made bread and crackers.