Forward Foods, an OKC Gourmet Treasure
Oklahoma City Location:
5123 N. Western Ave
Oklahoma City, OK
123 E. Main Street
Norman, OK 73069
Open Mon-Sat 10a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m.-6 p.m
(Parking in front and until 7 behind store in Speakeasy parking lot (off 51st)
Today’s show is all about one of my favorite places – Forward Foods. I am enrolling in their next Cheese Class 101, because I really want to learn about different cheeses and also because you get to sample them! The video will be up on the Rise & Shine tab of the blog later in the day if you missed the show! Here we go!
Ever dream about winning the lottery and wonder what you’d do with the money?
How about going on one of those game shows where you could walk away with a cash haul? It’s crossed my mind on more than one occasion that I could take the money and do with it what I truly loved in a career.
And that’s just what happened with a couple of married cheese lovers named Suzy Thompson and Steve Reynolds. After Steve won 4 straight games on Jeapordy, Steve and Suzy took the winnings and began selling what they truly loved – cheese.
And thus, began the start of a little Norman gem – Forward Foods, a local gourmet market that has now expanded to Oklahoma City.
In the old Coco Flow location, across from Bishop McGuiness school on Western, you’ll be met on the lower floor area with shopping carts and numerous bags of chips. You’ll need to take your cart around to your right to get to the upper level but first you’ll pass some interesting things on the way up. Like this little cafe area. They are now serving sandwiches and coffees that you can enjoy in this cute little area.
I also passed these and immediately added one to my cart. Gray sea salt – a moist, unrefined sea salt being touted as the best finishing salt around by many culinary professionals. Wandering up the ramp to the 2nd level, I passed gourmet coffee and teas and then was met with a series of racks. These held everything from pastry flour to polenta, jams and jellies to cannoli shells and locally made organic peanut butter. I did grab some peanut butter here and it was locally-made, which I love. I also saw locally harvested honey.
There were also many oils like Grapeseed oil, high-end olive oils and organic dressings and aged balsamics. Continuing on, there was a rack facing me that had packaged spices in a beautiful array of colors for $1.00. Now I turned to my left side to see what I’d been missing over there. Delight! Italian pastas. I’m always a sucker for unique pastas. And right next to these was pasta you could buy in bulk. As I worked my way towards the back of the store, I saw some giant silver urns that appeared to be gourmet coffee. However, as I moved closer, I saw bottles instead of cups. For you see, these were urns of oils and also Masdascar vanilla! A few of these were Divina, a Crete based mellow oil, Nunez de Prado, an award winning Spanish based organic olive oil, Alafia, and also a giant urn of Grapeseed oil, an oil preferred by many for its high smoking point and health benefits in cooking. Next I rounded the corner to the freezer section where I saw many intriguing items including fresh pastas, sprouted hot dog buns and many other items. Remember the part about me being a sucker for pasta? These practically jumped by themselves into my cart. Porcini Mushroom Agnolotti and Lobster and Crab Ravioli. These are going to make a delicious quick meal some night tossed simply with a pesto sauce or maybe an olive oil/ garlic sauce with crushed red peppers.
But now once again, I was distracted by something over to my left. As I turn, a magnificent vision came into focus..
Olives, and other wonderful things. If you adore things like gourmet olives, roasted red peppers, and preserved lemons, you will be forced to stop dead-in-your-tracks at this Mediterranean bar of wonders. I walked away with some Mediterranean spiced olives and a preserved lemon. And yes, those are figs you see! (and local ones at that.) I have plans for these little babies. I found them in the small, but interesting refrigerated section of produce and other items on the next wall. WHERE in the world do you get fresh figs in Oklahoma? Are fig trees liveable here? Someone please tell me. (On my next Google thing to look for). Anyway, the figs were picked up in the refrigerated section of produce. One end of this refrigerated section housed produce. While the other end had wonderful things like goat cheeses and creme fraiche. Hmph – remember my desire for creme fraiche awhile back? I ended up making my own due to not being able to find it!
Oh yes, I also bought a package of Walnut Creek Farms free-range eggs. With the salmonella scare of late, this was a sound and much-needed purchase, and I love that they are based in Waynoka, Oklahoma as well. There were also things like pâtés and wonderful meats like Salamis, Sopresseta and Chorizo (not the ground kind we’re accustomed to but the hard Spanish kind that you slice.)
Yum. There is also a deli counter at Forward Foods where you can order things like aged prosciutto. And… I saved the best for last. The cheese counter. This is the gleaming trophy case of Forward Foods and the original passion of the owners. Over 200 cheeses from all over the world beckon you with their double and triple creams and aged saltiness. I could happily camp out here for days and sample them. And speaking of sampling, if you’re interested in one of these cheeses, they slice you off a little bite and let you try it. Mostly because they know you’ll be hooked. For a list of their cheeses you can click here. However, this is not a complete list, due to them adding new varieties at all times.
Of notable mention that I forgot to add. Forward Foods also has a rack filled with heirloom beans and grains with everything from purple rice to legumes to various sorts of raw nuts. They also carry some sodas made with pure sugar cane.
Please be warned, if you’re not a gourmet foodie, the prices at Forward Foods may come as a shock to you, especially the artisan cheeses and meats. Consider what you’re paying for.
If you are a foodie, you completely understand. If you’re not, well you make want to breathe deeply as you walk in and prepare yourself. This ain’t Velveeta for sure.
Check out Forward Foods Oklahoma! I love to support our local places, especially those with local-grown products, and when you do check out with your final purchase….
I hope you’re as excited as I am to take your goodies home and make something wonderful with them.
If you missed the show, you can watch it below!