Pierogies, pasta sauce, cabbage and noodles, wedding soup, Brier Hill pizza- do any (or all) of these appear on your dinner table during the week? Then you are probably from the Youngstown area. With a unique location and history, Youngstown’s food scene is certainly eclectic to say the least. Let’s take a look at some of the most time-honored food traditions and recipes from Youngstown!


Influx of Immigrants

Beginning with the dawn of the steel age in the late 1800s, immigrants from all over the world flooded into the Youngstown area. Most notably scores of Poles, Italians, Slovaks, and Hungarians carved out communities due to the job opportunities from the iron and steel industries. Youngstown and the surrounding area quickly became a hub of international activity that forever changed the culture, demographics, and food of the Mahoning Valley.


Tasty Traditions

No large family event in the Youngstown area would be complete without a cookie table. Tell this to someone outside of Northeast Ohio or Western Pennsylvania and you’ll get some strange looks. This tradition was brought to the US from Italy and when the Great Depression hit Youngstown especially hard, wedding cakes were too expensive. Instead, family and friends of the bride would make cookies to be eaten at the wedding. This tradition is alive and well today and can be found at weddings, graduation parties, baby showers- you name it! Here are a few of our favorite cookie recipes that will be sure to disappear quickly from any cookie table: Salted Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies, Gia Russa Italian Ricotta Cookies, Clothespin Cookies.



These other tasty foods are staples of the Valley:

  • You would be hard pressed to find a non-ethnic restaurant in Youngstown that doesn’t serve pasta of some kind. This is also due to the large population of Italian Americans. Our recipe for Slow Roasted Tomato Pasta is reminiscent of old world Italy.



  • Any Italian-American worth their salt has fond memories of Grandma making Italian wedding soup. If you don’t have access to Grandma’s secret recipe, try this one!



  • Pierogies, or potato and cabbage filled little pockets of happiness, as some call them are another popular dish. Polish and Ukrainian immigrants brought these to the US and they have taken hold as a classic. Try making them from scratch for your next dinner party!



  • More Eastern European food that is no stranger to our area is stuffed cabbage. Fragrant ground beef stuffed into cabbage with homemade tomato sauce? Yes, please!



These recipes are just the tip of the iceberg, as far as Youngstown cuisine is concerned. Whatever traditions you serve up, you can find all the ingredients at your local Sparkle Market. Happy cooking!

people holding the Flag of USA

The Fourth of July is much more than fireworks and home-town parades. It is a day to celebrate our independence and those who were brave enough to stand up for their belief in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Of course, this calls for some major festivities to take place! And no party is complete without the perfect food. We’ve got you covered!


Haute Dogs

Trivia time: Can you guess how many hot dogs are eaten on the Fourth of July? 10 million? Higher. 50 million? You’re getting warmer. Try 155 million! Independence Day is the biggest hot dog holiday of the year. With all those dogs to throw on the grill, creativity tends to get lost in the shuffle. But fear not! Check out some of these unique hot dog recipes to spice things up this Fourth of July.

There will always be room at the table for a classic hot dog with ketchup and mustard, but try something new for a cookout to remember. A really spicy twist on the original dog is our Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Hot Dogs. While the onions and butter are cooking to a golden brown, wrap the hotdogs in bacon and place on a wire rack. After they’re done baking for 15 minutes, serve on toasted buns with the onions and cheese. Another non-grill recipe is our Oven Baked Chili Cheese Dogs. This one-pan meal goes easily from oven to table. Simply place the buns in the pan, the dogs in the buns, then ladle a healthy amount of chili on top. Cheese and onions go on next, then bake for 30 minutes. Serve these up warm! Nothing sounds quite so American as Cowboy Hot Dogs. While you’re grilling up the dog of your choice (bison, anyone?), sauté onions until they’re golden brown. Toast the buns until slightly charred then spread some mayo and BBQ sauce on the inside. Add in the hot dog and onions and you’re all set. These BLT Hot Dogs combine two classics—a BLT and hot dogs! Fire up the grill to cook the hot dogs and bacon, then when they’re good and browned, place them in toasted buns with mayo, lettuce, and tomato on top. Yum!



Sensational Sides

A meal is only as good as its sides! Try out these great recipes to make your Fourth of July celebration a success. Nothing says summer quite like corn on the cob. Try adding herbs and garlic with our Garlic-Herb Corn on the Cob recipe to put a tasty twist on this classic. Simply brush the corn with an herb-garlic-butter mixture, wrap in a foil sheet, and grill for 15 minutes. Our Bacon Ranch Potato Salad is sure to be a crowd pleaser. After baking the potatoes and vegetables, mix dry Ranch mix, sour cream, and mayonnaise then add everything together. Easy! Our simple Strawberry Caprese Salad will have your guests seeing red- in a good way! Creating your own simple dressing is a breeze, and mixing the strawberries and cubed mozzarella together is even easier. Garnish with basil and serve with baguette slices for a side of elegance.



Delicious Desserts

No cookout or party is complete without a well-stoked dessert table. Try any of our sweet treats to end the day on a high note. Fresh berries, cool whip, and Jell-o: yes please! Our Berry Dessert will cool you down after a day in the hot sun. With a little bit of prep, our Chocolate Truffle Stuffed Strawberries will be the star of the dessert table. Instead of milk chocolate drizzle, use white and blue frosting or dyed white chocolate for a patriotic edition!

Whether you’re spending the day lake-side, at a cookout, or at a parade any of these recipes will brighten the day. To create any of these delicious dishes be sure to visit your local Sparkle Market to pick up all your ingredients. Happy cooking!

Eureka! A great recipe pops into your head.




When you rummage around your kitchen and miraculously have all the ingredients you need!




How it feels when everything is coming together.




Oh, wait…you don’t have enough (insert very essential ingredient here) to finish the recipe!




You remember that Sparkle Market is conveniently close by for your emergency grocery run.




Gracefully pulling into the parking lot, definitely not in a hurry










Finding exactly what you need!





When everyone compliments your cooking and you act like it’s no big deal




There’s no need to fly through our parking lots, we’ll always be well-stocked and conveniently located for all your cooking emergencies! Visit your local Sparkle Market for all your grocery needs.


<source of gifs.>

happy father day in wood type

Clear your schedule for June 18! The third Sunday of June every year is reserved for celebrating dads and all they do. Originally celebrated on March 19 in honor of St. Joseph, this Catholic European tradition migrated to the Americas via Spanish explorers and experienced a change of date in North America. Now a civic holiday in the US, it’s a day to honor fatherhood and let Dad put up his feet! Whether you have a huge celebration or a quiet day planned, these recipes for the whole day are sure to please.




Restaurants are nice, but nothing compares to food cooked with love! Start the day off right with our Spinach Scrambled Eggs with Home Fries. Easy to make, this hearty breakfast is full of sautéed onions and mushrooms. Does Dad have a sweet tooth? Our Stuffed French Toast recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser with cream cheese, jam, and powdered sugar goodness! Served with his favorite coffee, Dad’s day will be off to a great start.




Looking for something lighter lunch? Serve up a several small plates for a tapas-style meal that is full of flavor and variety. Try some of our Gouda Mushroom Quesadillas for an easy crowd pleaser. Pair it with our Homemade Garden Salsa for a kick of spice to start off lunchtime. A classic appetizer, our recipe for Roast Beef and Brie Sliders is perfect for carnivorous dads. Thin sliced brie and roast beef are paired with sautéed onions and savory brown butter glaze. Have a vegetarian in the family or simply trying to eat lighter? Our filling Zucchini Corn Salsa isn’t just a side dish. With diced zucchini, onion, and plenty of corn, this fresh salad alternative has the flavor (and colors!) of summer.




It’s officially grilling season! When you break out the propane or charcoal grill, the possibilities are endless. These 7 Simple Grilling Recipes will please even the pickiest of dads. If you’re looking for even more variety, try our Grilled Honey Chicken. Sweet, tangy, and savory, this easy recipe goes great with broccoli or corn on the cob. For a splash of color and summer flavors, try our Black Bean Salad as a side. Another option is a classic- Potato Salad! Our twist on the usual recipe calls for French onion dip and a healthy handful of bacon. Yum!


Kid Friendly Desserts


We know the kids always mean well, but sometimes their ‘help’ in the kitchen does more harm than good. But given a simple recipe, you might be surprised! Our Gia Russa Wild Berry Icebox Cake with Chocolate is a great way to involve the kids. They can help by layering ingredients in the springform pan and put the finishing touches on top with fresh berries and chocolate sauce. You’ll be feeling peachy after this dessert! Our recipe for Little Peach Pies is so simple, the kids might be able to do this one all on their own. After fresh peaches are halved, drizzle honey on each side, place back together then wrap pre-made pie crust dough around each peach and bake. Easy as pie!


Enjoy this special time with friends, family, and especially Dad! Make your Father’s Day a success by stocking up on your favorite fresh ingredients at your local Sparkle Market.

Warm weather, longer days, and plenty of sunshine- it’s festival season! Check out our list of the best Ohio food festivals for the month of June. Not able to make it to your favorite festival below? Not to worry! Now you can try out some of our festival-inspired recipes to bring a taste of the event right into your kitchen.

Festival Event Party with Hipster People Blurred Background

But, if your weekend schedule is looking for some filling, grab your road map and hop in the car to visit any of these awesome foodie fests. Oh, and make sure you go with an empty stomach!


June 2-4, 2017Newark Strawberry Festival – Newark, Ohio

Featuring food and craft vendors, Miss Strawberry Pageant, and “world famous” Kiwanis Strawberry Shortcake, this weekend festival is sure to please!

Recipe: Mix up dessert time with our Strawberry Frozen Yogurt recipe. A cool substitute for shortbread, this treat can be made up to a month in advance.




June 3, 2017Bacon & Cheese Festival – Fairfield, Ohio

Go whole hog at this celebration of all things bacon and cheese! With unlimited food samples, this is a bacon lover’s dream.

Recipe: To make a bacon and cheese sampling of your own, try out some of our favorite savory recipes. Always a crowd pleaser, our Bacon Cheese Dip in a Bread Bowl combines the best of both worlds- cheesy and bacon-y! If you close your eyes and take a big bite of our Creamy Bacon Mac and Cheese you’ll feel like you’re actually at the festival.




June 7-11, 2017Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish Festival – Austintown, Ohio

A fair food lover’s paradise, this annual church festival has something for everyone. Lemon shakes, cake booth, and chicken dinners- oh my!

Recipe: Not your typical fried chicken! Try our Homemade Chicken Tenders for a healthy taste of the Festival’s classic chicken dinner.




June 9-10, 2017  23rd Annual Banana Split Festival – Wilmington, Ohio
A world-famous dessert first created practically in our backyard! Celebrate Wilmington’s claim as the birthplace of the Banana Split with two days of fun.

Recipe: Anyone can whip up a Banana Split, but our Banana Split Cupcakes will steal the show. Sweet cream cheese and fresh bananas are the stars of this dessert.




June 11, 2017  7th Annual Jewish Cultural Festival – Dayton, Ohio

Sample Jewish foods from the Southwest US, Latin America, the Middle East, and the iconic New York deli scene. Vendors such as Graeters, Shmaltz, and The Temple bakery will sell traditional Jewish foods.

Recipe: If you’re craving something sweet, try making traditional Passover cookies- macaroons! Not to be confused with the fancy French sandwich cookie, this dense drop cookie is full of coconut goodness.




June 16-17, 2017International Beer Festival – Fairfield, Ohio

Quench your thirst at the International Beer Festival! Featuring 400 beers from more than 100 different breweries, you’ll have the chance to try imported & craft beers. Beer foods and pub grub is also on hand to fill you up.

Recipe: Infuse the flavors of the festival into our Beef Bean and Beer Chili. Keep a can (or two!) of beer on hand to add to this flavorful dish.


June 17, 2017  Wine, Jazz & Art Fest – Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio
Ohio’s largest Free Admission Wine Festival! Browse local artists, listen to live jazz, and taste wine from 7 local wineries.

Recipe: A twist on the classic drink, our Roasted Cherry Sangria is the perfect balance of tart and sweet. Serve over ice, top with rosé wine and garnish with mint.




June 17, 2017 Simply Slavic Heritage Festival – Downtown Youngstown, Ohio

A celebration of all things Slavic! Featuring an ethnic marketplace and plenty of Central and Eastern European food vendors, you’re sure to enjoy this festival whether you can claim Slavic heritage or not.

Recipe: Not your grandmother’s pierogis! Our Baked Pierogi Cheese Casserole is a one-dish meal that will give you the essence of Simply Slavic.




June 24-25, 2017  Mulberry Creek Herbfair – Huron, Ohio

Oh la la! The food, wine, & culture of France will the focus of this year’s annual fair. Workshops, lectures, and over 50 vendors make this a great weekend destination.

Recipe: Our Apple French Onion Soup has all the flavors of the fair in one bowl. The thyme and apple give this classic soup a modern twist!


For the complete list of many June food festivals in Ohio, check out this calendar. Happy traveling!

Happy Memorial Day card. National american holiday. Festive poster or banner with hand lettering. Vector illustration

Dig out your red, white and blue clothes, pull the grill out from the shed and get grocery shopping- Memorial Day is only days away! Amidst honoring those who have died in service and the annual parades, it’s also time to plan that family cookout. Take a look at some of these great recipes for delicious summer dishes.




Simple Sides

To get your cookout started, check out some of these recipes that put a twist on classic summer side dishes! Try our recipe for Lemon Mustard Potato Salad. With seasoned red potatoes atop a bed of flavorful arugula, this recipe lightens up the typical potato salad. For another side, make our Chicken Ranch Pasta Salad, complete with fresh cilantro, corn chips and a creamy dressing. You can also take a look at this recipe for Boston Baked Beans, another cook out favorite with a mix of salty bacon, hearty beans and a sweet molasses sauce.


Grilled Goods

Clean the grill, refill the propane tank and then check out some of these great recipes for grilling! Stray away from the usual hotdogs and instead, try our recipe for Honey Dijion Drumsticks– crispy grilled chicken basted in a sweet and tangy homemade mustard sauce. While the drumsticks will be a great addition to your cookout, it isn’t truly Memorial Day until you grill some burgers! Use our recipe for Jalapeño Cheese Stuffed Burgers to spice it up or try our recipe for Feta and Spinach Turkey Burgers for a healthier option that is light in calories, yet still full of flavor. Have vegetarian friends or family members? Grill them up some of our Chipotle Black Bean Burgers, packed with nutrients and lots of legumes! If you’re still looking for another main dish to complete your Memorial Day spread, try this recipe for Sirloin Kabobs. Marinate thick chunks of steak (or chicken) overnight, then thread the meat onto skewers with pieces of green pepper, onion, mushroom, tomatoes, etc. While the kabobs might take a little bit longer to prepare, they offer a variety of small bites to guests that aren’t up for a big burger.


Patriotic Pastries

Whether you’re attending a cookout or hosting your own, show off your patriotic spirit with some of these yummy and creative dessert recipes! Try our recipe for Red, White & Blueberry Pie, full of fresh berries and topped with cut-out pie crust stars. Continue the fruit desserts with this recipe for All American Trifle. Layer cubes of pound cake, berries and homemade lemon whipped cream for an easy, yet heavenly dessert. But, if fruit just isn’t going to cut it when it comes to satisfying your sweet tooth, then check out this recipe for Ice Cream Sandwich Cake that combines ice cream sandwiches, whipped cream, hot fudge and caramel to make one very sweet and very satisfying summer dessert.


Delicious Drinks

Although it’s only May, we all know that the weather can turn incredibly hot in no time. Try some of these drink recipes that will quench your thirst and keep you cool at the same time! Stay with the Memorial Day theme and make The Rocket, a red, white and blue icy drink that mimics the look and flavors of a classic bomb Popsicle. For a less patriotic, yet equally tasty alcoholic beverage, try this recipe for Vodka Raspberry Lemonade! And if you’re looking for a unique drink for the kiddos, try this Lemon Berry Slushy recipe.


Enjoy your Memorial Day, but first head to your local Sparkle Market to find all of the fresh ingredients that you need to make your cookout a success!

Cinco de Mayo lettering. Vector color vintage engraving illustration.Bienvenidos y feliz Cinco de Mayo! Celebrate Mexican history and culture with us on this beautiful fifth day of May with some delicious authentic recipes. For all of you last-minute shoppers, we have plenty of amazing Mexican-inspired dishes for your Cinco de Mayo festivities!

How It Began  

While it is true that Cinco de Mayo means the fifth of May and discounted margaritas, most people probably don’t know what they are actually celebrating on this important day. In 1861, France began to overtake Mexico and claim several territories as their own. However, when 6,ooo well-armed French troops stormed the city of Puebla on May 5, 1862, they were surprisingly defeated by less than 2,000 poorly supplied Mexicans. After this battle, the French were forced to retreat- something that had not happened to the French in over 50 years! Even though the Battle of Puebla didn’t mark the end of the war, May 5 still represents a great symbolic win that encouraged the Mexican people to persevere.

How It Is Celebrated Today  

With such a huge holiday, you’d think that the entire country of Mexico is buzzing with preparation for parties and traditional food right? Well, not exactly. In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is mostly only celebrated in the city of Puebla, where the famous battle had taken place. Natives of Puebla organize large parades that include people dressed as Mexican and French soldiers with vendors selling food and clothing alongside the street. Sometimes, reenactments even take place of the Battle of Puebla! Back in the United States, Cinco de Mayo is widely celebrated- even more so than in Mexico. On Cinco de Mayo, parties are hosted, local Mexican restaurants celebrate and lots of delicious Mexican dishes are made. If you’re one of the many hosting, or attending, a Cinco de Mayo party this year, check out our suggestions below for some great Mexican dishes!

IMG_5677-768x1024La Comida (Food)

I think we can all agree that one of the most important parts of any holiday party is definitely the food. This Cinco de Mayo, try some of our great Mexican-inspired recipes!

Start your Cinco de Mayo off right with this recipe for Mexican Rice. With this recipe in your cooking arsenal you won’t ever need to go back to your local Mexican restaurant again! After your guests are almost filled the brim with flavorful rice, serve our Mexican-inspired, party-friendly Wonton Taco Cups. With all of the best Mexican flavors packed into bite sized cups, this recipe makes cooking and clean-up a breeze. You can even apply this concept to our recipes for Coconut Fish Tacos and Shrimp Tacos! Create the different taco fillings and make a variety of wonton cups, suited to everyone’s Cinco de Mayo pallets. For a heartier dish, try our recipe for One Pot Enchiladas. Complete with black beans, sweet corn and zucchini, this recipe eliminates the hassle of assembling enchiladas without sacrificing the flavor!

Put in charge of the dessert this year? Try this recipe for Coconut Cheese Flan– with a sweet tropical twist added to the classic flan, this dessert will not let your family and friends down! If you’re not much of a technical baker but still looking for a great Mexican dessert, then try this recipe for Fruit Salsa & Cinnamon Chips. With plenty of fresh juicy fruit and crispy homemade cinnamon tortillas, this simple dessert will make you the dessert person for all Cinco de Mayo parties to come!

As your Cinco de Mayo kicks off, use any or all of our recipes for inspiration and head to your local Sparkle Market to get all of the fresh ingredients that you need to make your fiesta a success!