This week, my friend Emma and I spent a day visiting some of our old favorites and checking out new spots down in Chinatown-Little Italy area. After chatting over matcha lattes and getting our auras photographed, we went cheese shopping at Di Palo’s. We returned home with two bags full of cheeses, bread, olives, jams and meats.
I asked Emma to tell us more about the deliciousness of Di Palo’s, so here’s her guide!:
Di Palo’s Fine Foods in Little Italy is my favorite go-to deli for the best imported Italian produce. A family-run institution which has been around for over 100 years, Di Palo’s manages to consistently stock some of the best cheeses, meats, olives, pasta and other seasonal fare, all of which would otherwise be extremely difficult for an Italian food lover to source and procure in the city. The space itself has strong character and service is always welcoming and informative, with patrons more than happy to answer foodie questions or offer tastes of whichever cheese or meat takes your fancy!
Here are some of my favorite staples to pick up at Di Palo’s:
My all-time favorite cheese, Pecorino Romano is a hard, salty, sheep’s milk cheese native to Rome and the Roman Empire. This cheese is perfect for grating over various pasta dishes, and also appears in the springtime antipasto dish of ‘fave e pecorino’ — fresh fava beans and pecorino.
This cheese is another salty, hard and aged sheep’s milk cheese, milder than Pecorino Romano. Used for grating too, I will often grate Ricotta Salata over tomato sauces, as in the dish ‘Pasta alla Norma‘ — pasta with an eggplant and tomato sauce.
Fresh Sheep’s Milk Ricotta
This one is a favorite young, soft, sheep’s milk cheese which is not as consistently in rotation at Di Palo’s, but whenever it is, I make sure to pick up a tub. I have this cheese swirled into freshly made tomato sauce adding a sweetness to the sauce, but I also love to eat it spread on some toast, topped with fresh figs and a drizzle of honey.
Other honorable mentions include:
- Young Pecorino
- Asiago (another sheep’s cheese)
- Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella
- Tuna-stuffed Peppers
- Mustard Jams (for serving with various pecorino cheeses)
- Focaccia Bread
- and, the most recent star find — Truffle Pecorino!