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2017-12-20 / Taste

From Europe, with gusto

Midlothian’s little store of great imports
BY RICH GRISET STAFF WRITER

At Europa Food Market on Hull Street Road, Sergey and Simona Fayvusovich, right, sell imports from Europe and northern U.S. cities to customers missing the foods of home, be that cured meats, above, or pastries. JENNY McQUEEN At Europa Food Market on Hull Street Road, Sergey and Simona Fayvusovich, right, sell imports from Europe and northern U.S. cities to customers missing the foods of home, be that cured meats, above, or pastries. JENNY McQUEEN For some, it’s a way to reconnect with beloved foods they first encountered overseas.

For others, it’s a reminder of home. And for many, it’s simply a way to get an authentic New York bagel in Midlothian.

Whatever the reason, customers come to Europa Food Market to get provisions they have trouble finding elsewhere. Smoked fish imported from Brooklyn. Beer from Russia. Preserves from Austria. Haribo brand sweets from Germany. Fresh Polish pierogis – European dumplings made with a variety of fillings – from New York City. Though small, the shop is nonetheless a gastronomical wonderland for those missing or curious for a taste of Europe.


JENNY McQUEEN JENNY McQUEEN Like nearly everything in their Hull Street Road store, owners Simona and Sergey Fayvusovich are imports to Chesterfield. Simona grew up in Baltimore after her parents emigrated from Ukraine in the 1970s to avoid persecution for being Jewish. Sergey came with his family to Baltimore from Ukraine in 1991 for similar reasons.

“Both of our families basically came to the U.S. with nothing and worked like dogs, two or three jobs at a time,” says Sergey, who became an American citizen in 2000.

With so much in common, the couple immediately hit it off after meeting through a mutual friend.

“It was just love at first sight,” Simona recalls.

Eleven years after they married, the couple moved to Chesterfield in 2011 to raise a family. As much as the Fayvusoviches enjoyed living in the county, they missed Baltimore’s European food markets and the cuisine they’d eaten their entire lives.

To remedy this dearth of European food options, they opened Europa Food Market a year ago in the Winterpock Crossing shopping center. Situated just east of Woodlake, the Fayvusoviches have carved out their own niche in the county as purveyors of European delicacies.

“We feel on this side of Richmond in particular, there’s no food diversity,” Sergey says. “It’s a different name on the same box.”

The shelves and display cases of Europa are a smorgasbord of Europe’s edible offerings. German breads are baked on premises with imported dough. The well-stocked deli case is filled with dozens of meats from second- and third-generation butcher shops in New York, New Jersey and Chicago. Seven types of liverwurst – German liver sausage – share refrigerator space with frozen knodel (boiled dumplings) and blintzes (thin Russian pancakes). Jewish potato knishes (savory, single-serving pies) are supplied by Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery, one of the oldest bakeries in Manhattan.

Europa imports 18 varieties of bagels from New York City, which pair perfectly with artisanal cream cheeses made in house. Bialy, a round Polish roll that’s hard to find in the Richmond area, is also sold here. The dessert case carries sweet treats like baklava (a dessert of phyllo dough, honey and nuts) and French macarons (meringue-based French cookies).

“If someone wants a real New York whitefish,” Simona says, “they can get it here.”

Sergey says that many of their customers formerly lived in northern areas of the country where these foods are more common. They also see a healthy stream of military and former military personnel who encountered European foods while stationed overseas.

“A lot of people haven’t seen these brands since [they were stationed in] Germany,” Sergey says.

While many come strictly for the bagels and pierogis, others seem drawn by a desire to connect, to find community and a reminder of home.

“You kind of have this natural cultural diversity where food is the common denominator,” says Sergey of his store. “At any given time, you can have an American from Michigan, an ex-pat from Germany, and then maybe someone from California, all talking together while they’re waiting on their food orders.

“We learn a lot from these people. We see where they come from.” ¦

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