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Neighborhood deli butters up the locals

CoffeeAndCookiesBlacksheep

(Courtesy blacksheepdeli.com)

As you first walk up to The Black Sheep Deli, you feel invited by its little hole-in-the-wall nature and its charming atmosphere. With shelves of bakery items displayed neatly in the windows and a crowd of customers waiting to indulge in one, or a few of the many delicious items on the menu, the place exudes Amherst.

Black Sheep bakes all their own breads and pastries, using all natural ingredients and real butter; they also offer a variety of side dishes made fresh daily. The Caramelized Cauliflower with garlic, olive oil and parmesan is a great and healthy alternative to some of the heavier, yet equally delicious sides like Potatoes Dauphinoise, a potato dish layered with garlic, nutmeg, asiago cheese and cream.  Deep dish quiches and macaroni and cheese are just two of the heartier entrees offered there.

From the specialty sandwiches (3.95/half, 7.95/full) to the incredible selection of bakery items (as well as many other things) there is guaranteed to be something on the menu for everyone at Black Sheep. The establishment also offers catering services with a wide selection of choices fit to please every palate.

When you go, be sure to try the ”European,” a specialty sandwich which is chock full of black forest ham, brie, tomatoes, lettuce and red onions, all on pumpernickel bread. For a vegetarian option, the “Great Garlic” is to die for. Take a French baguette, spread it with a layer of incredibly creamy local goat cheese, then spread on whole caramelized garlic cloves, grilled portobellos, roasted red peppers and lettuce.

Black Sheep also offers patrons the opportunity to design their own sandwiches, choosing from an array of freshly-baked breads and fillings at half sandwich and whole sandwich prices. And don’t worry – if there’s an ingredient on a specialty sandwich that you don’t like, or if you want it all just on a different type of bread, the folks at Black Sheep are happy and willing to make any and all alterations to ensure you enjoy each savory bite.

If you’re in the mood for something a little dangerous, opt for the Bittersweet Chocolate Espresso Torte, a melt-in-your-mouth, flourless chocolate treat with a hint of espresso flavor that is covered in seasonal fruit (raspberries are the best) and home-made whipped cream. The great part about the cakes and pastries is that they can be bought as whole cakes for events like parties, or individually by the slice.

A variety of iced teas and natural juices and soft drinks are on hand at Black Sheep to wash it all down and, if in the winter months you’re looking for something to warm you up, they also carry a wide selection of freshly roasted coffees, various teas, as well as Chai and mulled cider.

Black Sheep can get very busy around lunch time, being nestled right in the heart of downtown Amherst between two colleges, so plan ahead if you only have a certain amount of time for a lunch break. If this is the case, you can call in your order ahead of time, and they will make it for you and have it ready as soon as you set foot in the door.

If you’re looking for a great place to eat, with an eclectic environment and a sprawling menu filled with only the best in homemade and local ingredients, the Black Sheep Deli is a local must.

Alex Tillotson can be reached at atillots@student.umass.edu.

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