Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.

Norwell’s hip spot for food

I can’t believe Steven Tyler found Bo’-Tes Imports before I did.
Which is a (name-dropping) understatement, since evidently he’s been hip to the place for years and I only discovered it last week.
Anyhow, now that I’ve found it, I figure I’m on an equal footing with our South Shore rock star in the Norwell food world anyway. And although I know owners Tom and Mary Campanelli won’t be hanging up my photo or letting me sign one of the tables like Tyler has, I’ll still know where to eat when I’m on Route 123 and hungry – just like he does.
What I’d (blindly) assumed for years to be a little clothing store turns out to be an emporium packed with foods from near and far — for eating now or later. This is an old-world specialty foods store with bottle after can after box of gorgeous little foodstuffs from all over the world. But that’s not all it is.
Bo’-Tes is also part corner grocery store. Its cold case has a decent enough selection of basic provisions — vegetables, Stonyfield organic whole and lowfat milk, soy milk, OJ, eggs, butter, onions – to make a good dinner when the cupboard is bare. And it’s also nice for people to be able to get fresh bread (from Pain D’Avignon) if they don’t feel like hiking about five miles to the closest grocery store.
And then there’s the deli – which is a two-part affair. First it offers all types of sandwiches and salads for eating in — at the tables and counter up front — or taking out. But it also has several dozen prepared foods that can be purchased in small containers. Dishes like feta cheese spread (very good), bruschetta topping, grilled artichoke hearts, tapenade, chicken salad, house-made lasagna, and many more.
But that’s not all: this Swiss army knife of provisioners also stocks about 500 wines – most from small vintners — and many varieties of select beer.
Oh, and they have fine cigars in an old-world wooden case and a smattering of kitchen utensils and crockery. And a few greeting cards – two from local artists, candy bars from Ireland, fine chocolates from various places, and the option to order food baskets or platters for special events.
I especially like that Bo’-Tes carries bulk extra virgin olive oil in a large stainless steel vat and very good balsamic vinegar (really sweet and fine) in a small oak barrel.
I found many favorite items among the shop’s collection of specialty foods and lost myself pouring over many more I’ve never seen before. I loved the cannelloni beans in glass from Italy; the sardine fillets with extra virgin olive oil from France; the gallon-sized cans of La Regina tomatoes; the tiny packs of dried herbs; the veal and beef Demi-Glaze Gold; and the Valdigrano whole wheat organic pasta.
Another great thing about Bo’-Tes is that it carries at least a dozen super-local items along with its worldly offerings. Among them are Norwell’s Dirty Dick’s Hot Sauce and North River Honey; a large line of frozen Yankee Trader Seafood dishes from Pembroke; Nona’s ice cream from Hingham; frozen turkey entrees from Duxbury’s turkey farm, Bongi’s; and baked goods from Hull’s L. Sweets Bakery and Marshfield’s Roberts’ Roost.
Bo’-Tes is an all-around food-lover’s oasis in Norwell’s tiny center: I’m so glad to have found it.
Bo’-Tes Imports & Marketplace, 714 Main St. (Route 123) 781-659-9888