Stella’s Table is a tribute to cherished grandmothers at Petaluma Gap Marketplace

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Amy Schwappach, Emily Carvajal and Natale Dougherty are the proprietors of Stella's Table, a tribute to their grandmothers and the many happy times growing up in Petaluma. Photo Courtesy of Stella's Table.



Even before the Coronavirus hit, local artisans and vendors were having difficulty finding a venue to display and sell their wares. This coming weekend dozens of artisans, vendors and craftspeople will gather at the ballroom of the historic Petaluma Hotel in the heart of downtown for another Petaluma Gap event. 
 
“The Petaluma Gap Marketplace has been wonderful, especially with the move to the Ballroom at the Petaluma Hotel,” said Amy Schwappach of Stella’s Table.
Stella’s Table specializes in authentic Italian-Inspired foods and handcrafted items. Along with Emily Carvajal and Natale Dougherty, the three purveyors of Stella’s Table want to bring the traditions of Stella Rosa Carassali and Gilda Stella Barberis, their grandmothers to life.
 
While the grandmothers didn’t know one another, the three saw a connection. Both Carassali and Barberis were from Northern Italy and brought their food and speciality skills with them. And most of all they were grandmothers that meant a lot to everyone in their families. 
 
There was a time, not too long ago when families were the center of life. There was no computer or high tech devices, and not much TV. In places like our northern California, especially wine country, a strong family life was Sunday dinners, picnics and gathering for holidays. This is something that all three of them wanted to share as Stella’s Table. Having the Petaluma Gap Marketplace in the ballroom of the hotel brings back happy memories for Schwappach. 
 
“It holds a special place for us since our grandmother (Nonna) Stella Rosa Carassali worked there when we were children.” 
“After school, said Schwappach, our Nonna Stella Carassali would bring us back to the hotel while she cleaned rooms.”
 
Applauding the restoration work done on the Petaluma Hotel, Schwappach added. “They have done a wonderful job bringing the hotel back to its best and making it a hub in downtown.”
 
Caryl Brandes agrees with Schwappach as her Caryl B line of personal care products will be among the more than 20 vendors and artisans at the ballroom on Saturday Aug. 7. “Having the market indoors in a spacious area like the ballroom makes summertime events more comfortable, avoiding the heat,” she said. 
 
Foot traffic last month was good and vendors like Brandes, Schwappach and others are pleased, eager to participate in future marketplace events. 
 
“We have enjoyed getting to know the other great vendors and love sharing our passion with local Petalumans and those visiting from all over,” said Schwappach. 
 
Grateful that things have been going well, so far despite the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, she said. 
“My parents are both still living and healthy at 89 and live on the same property my grandparents (Nonne Stella Carassali) lived on and my sisters have both built houses on it.”
 
“Our ‘headquarters’ for Stella’s Table is actually in the old garage where my both my grandparents cooked, played cards etc.,” she exclaimed. Schwappach emphasized that Petaluma Gap Marketplace is all about shopping local. And is really about community and enjoying something local, original and authentic. 
 
Petaluma Gap Marketplace will be Saturday August 7 in the grand ballroom at the Petaluma Hotel. Located at 205 Kentucky Street on the corner of East Washington Street and Kentucky.