Family of Bakers

  • We are Not Collectors—but we’ve Collected Every Di Camillo Bakery Jar!
  • Kevin DiCamillo

We are Not Collectors—but we’ve Collected Every Di Camillo Bakery Jar!

We are Not Collectors—but we’ve Collected Every Di Camillo Bakery Jar!

Dr. And Mrs. Marc Martel

ORONO, MINNESOTA: Marc and Jaime Martel are perhaps the most unique of collectors in that they have collected every single Di Camillo Bakery jar—but have no interest in collecting anything else. “I have some sports memorabilia,” says Dr. Martel “but my—our—passion is collecting Di Camillo jars.”

At present The Martel family has “at least sixty—maybe sixty-five” Di Camillo Bakery jars in their new home in Minnesota.

Dr. Martel, who is originally from Niagara Falls, claims that it is “still the family’s home-base” and whose family lived here until November 2006, remembers “When I was a teenager, seeing the Jars in the big windows of Di Camillo’s”. Then, “Once I was a young adult I saw the jars again, and it reminded me of my late grandfather (Philip Paonessa) who always had Di Camillo coupons and notes to himself to buy Di Camillo’s Bread”.

“So these childhood memories of Niagara Falls—my parents grew up on 30th Street, and my great-grandfather was a city councilman—were combined with those of Di Camillo Bakery and I just wanted to take and keep a part of both with me. The jars seem to do that!”

However it was several years before Marc and Jaime started collecting in earnest. Per Jaime: “So fast forward to 2013, Marc’s grandma’s (Florence Paonessa) 90th birthday party in Niagara Falls. If there is one thing you should know it is that I LOVE my husband, there isn't much that I wouldn't do for him.  We all rented a house to stay at while we were out there in Niagara Falls and there were a whole lot of loud Italians under one roof.  It was brought to my husband’s attention (again!) at how ‘cheap’ he was-- and that he did not have a biscotti jar.  He decided that this was the time, the time we were finally getting a jar.  I have one question I ask before someone purchases something- do you love it?”

“As we sat at grams and gramps table eating our DiCamillo doughnuts discussing how we were going to get our hands on a jar before flying back to Minnesota Marc just kept telling me how much he loved the blue and white ones.”

“But earlier when we were picking up doughnuts and inquiring about purchasing a jar the woman at the Bakery who was helping us told us there weren't any for sale and we would have to speak with Michael. Once we talked to Michael Di Camillo, we were on our way!”  Admittedly, Jaime says she did have to stalk Michael a little bit.  There were only two of the jars Marc was interested in, left in the collection.

 “So in short, we bought our first jar in August 2013,” they recall. “Jaime hunted it down for my grandmother’s 90th birthday party in Niagara Falls, and that’s how the collection started.”

As for their favorite Di Camillo jar, for Jaime, it is the original, mostly because of the journey and the memory.  For Marc, “it’s a three-way tie between The Jug with the Cork—I love the idea of cross-pollination of olive oil with biscotti--, Il Tropheo (The Trophy), and the four-legged soup-tureen.”

The Martel’s have three daughters, Asha, Olivia, and Adelin who “all think that we, their parents, are a little nuts,” but “at the same time they all enjoy the Di Camillo bread we have delivered every month!” Marc’s brother in Chicago is “a fanatic when it comes to your [Di Camillo’s] Peanut stick donuts”. In addition to their Biscotti Jar collection and monthly deliveries of Di Camillo Bread, the Martel’s also have a hands-down favorite donut: “The maple-iced apple-filled donut is the best!” they agreed.

The Martel’s recently moved into a new home where “up to nine jars are displayed at a time in the kitchen—the rest of them are in the master-bedroom.”

Now the Martel’s are to the point where “we buy the jars sight unseen! Mike [Di Camillo] knows that as soon as he’s going to launch a new jar we need to be the very first to know!”

As our discussion progressed we were interrupted by the ring of the Martel doorbell: “You’ll never believe this,” Jaime said, “four large loaves of Di Camillo bread just arrived!”

  • Kevin DiCamillo

Comments on this post (6)

  • Jan 25, 2019

    I really miss Dicamillo Bakery. I now live in Scotland so I am unable to have any items shipped here. My friends in Niagara often mention the bread and of course the peanut sticks. They have doughnuts here but not like the ones I miss. 😪🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

    — Carolyn Slessor

  • Jan 23, 2019

    Wonderful loyalty, albeit rather easy with the great pots. ( A virtue somewhat in absence in our society right now.) Love to see them archived on line so we can all SEE them all.

    — Charles Hamlin

  • Jan 23, 2019

    Great story! I love the jars as well but have only collected 4 and a few of the tins. I need a new jar full of the wine biscuits…my favorite “cookie.” Keep up the good baking!

    — Toni Bellissimo

  • Jan 23, 2019

    This was such a heartwarming story. I have some of the tins also but none of the actual jars. The tins I display in my kitchen window. My mother, Rose Lombardi grew up on 20th St. and lived right next door to the bakery!! Oh my I would be in big trouble for sure. They have the best of everything especially the bread and of course my favorite peanut donuts. I live in Maryland now with my family and so miss the falls!! I have awesome childhood memories. My dad Edward Fiicetti just loved his hometown. I order the bread when I can and when visiting I just pile it up and take it home. There is nothing here like it!! When a new donut shop opens up here, I always ask if they have peanut donuts and of course they look at me like I have six heads!! it is like they have never heard of them. Well I certainly enjoyed chatting with all and really love the story!! Take care and never forget where you came from. God Bless.

    — Barbara Filicetti Slacum

  • Jan 23, 2019

    I also have quite a collection of jars. I love them and also gave many away to my Italian. Cousins.

    — MARGHERITA Capifoni

  • Jan 23, 2019

    DiCamillo Bakery has always been a part of our lives…in an Italian home, it all happens in the kitchen…all the memories start there and so it was with Phil and Florence Paonessa. My dad ALWAYS had bread coupons ready for us when he knew we would be visiting and there was always a fresh large loaf on the table ready to be devoured. We never left town without bags of bread, cookies, donuts and, of course, pizza in the car for the trip back. When we are back there, our kids give us very long lists of their favorites and we apologize for the people unlucky to be behind us in line at the counter. Our house has DiCamillo reminders as well with tins all over the kitchen! Oh how I wish we could get you to open up a store in CT!

    — Phil Paonessa

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