On July 27, 2009, Daniel Pereira danced his way into Jeffery Albanesi’s heart without even knowing it. Albanesi, born and raised in Ridgefield, was pursuing a career in the jewelry business in New York City but had moved back to his childhood home to spend more time with his father who was ailing. Albanesi didn’t embrace the online dating scene and certainly wasn’t looking for a long-term relationship, but he did want to connect with the local gay community. One night, he decided to check out Triangles, a gay bar in Danbury. When Albanesi arrived at the club, he noticed Pereira right away.
“What drew me to Daniel was how he carried himself. He was smiling and confident. He was out on the dance floor—all by himself—and was an amazing dancer. I was captivated.”
Albanesi tried in vain to get Pereira’s attention by smiling at him from the sidelines but gained no traction. Finally, he positioned his drink next to Pereira’s on the bar and waited for the opportunity to strike up a conversation.
His game plan worked. The two ended up talking for over three hours and discovered they had a lot in common. “Jeffery was so sweet and handsome, and I really enjoyed our conversation,” recalls Pereira.
They also shared a spontaneous kiss. “There was definitely chemistry,” affirms Albanesi with a smile. So much so that the next day, Albanesi dropped by Nature’s Temptation, where Pereira was working, and asked him out on an official date. Over dinner that evening, Albanesi learned more about Pereira’s background.
“I grew up in a small town in Brazil—only 3,000 people,” says Pereira. “When I was 18, I came to the U.S. to visit my uncle in Boston and realized this is where I wanted to live. Back in Brazil, my family had never accepted the fact that I was gay.”
After immigrating to America, Pereira worked at his uncle’s restaurant and taught himself English by reading books, watching movies, and asking a lot of questions. Remarkably, by the time he met his future husband, Pereira’s English was almost flawless.
The couple dated exclusively for four years and after same-sex marriage became legal in the state of Connecticut, they tied the knot in an intimate ceremony for ten at Ballard Park. A celebratory dinner followed at Sarah’s Wine Bar, and the newlyweds honeymooned that night at the West Lane Inn.
Today, the couple still live in Albanesi’s childhood home and are now co-owners of The Market at Union Hall, an upscale market located in a circa 1848 building in North Salem. The charming 900-square-foot store offers healthy, organic produce; deliciously prepared meals; and sumptuous desserts and baked goods made by local purveyors. There’s also a hip coffee bar and bistro seating inside as well as room for 20 on the outside patio.
The market’s motto perfectly sums up this couple’s relationship and life philosophy: “Nothing but love comes through these doors.”