I’ve told you how my neighborhood in New York City is teeming with Greeks and Italians unlike any other neighborhood in the city. For you to better understand just how authentic these populations are, let me take you on a trip to Rosario’s, the neighborhood Italian grocery.
Tucked beneath the train station I use on a daily basis, one would think stepping into the well-lit store would be a great respite from the noisy throngs of business people coming and going, the ear-piercing pop of the trains’ brakes as they pull into the station, and the garbage trucks that seem to perpetually be making a clamor on the same street.
But things only get louder inside Rosario’s. Each of the three dark-haired men behind the deli and checkout counters speak animatedly–with mouths and hands–to customers, directing them to products in Italian or heavily-accented English. The 80-year-old Rosario sits at the end of the counter, greeting customers, talking about the mozzarella he pulled freshly that morning, or catching up on gossip in the Italian neighborhood. As I wander through the narrow aisles, I move aside for a woman with her arms full who belts a “grazie” back to me as she passes. How did she know that’s one of five Italian words I speak?
You know you’re in luck food-wise when you find a store with such an authentic atmosphere. Which is why I prefer to by my fresh mozzarella from Rosario and Rosario only, even if my visits to his store cause me to feel a complete outcast with my quiet voice, lack of Italian language or hand gesturing skills, and lack of Italian blood flowing through my veins. The sacrifices I make for my mozzarella…
Week 10: Mozzarella di Bufala from Astoria, NYC
Cost per pound: $10ish. Forgot to look
Aging time: None
Milk type: Water Buffalo
Rating (of 10): 9.5
Dear sweet goodness. What can’t I say about this cheese? Seriously, just go buy some and eat it. You can usually find large balls or small ones (bocconcini). I prefer buying bocconicini because it’s easier to control the amount you buy–this cheese is really only edible for a day, after all. Eat them plain–the counter worker asked me if I wanted a fork with mine, so clearly this is an accepted practice by Italian standards. (All my built up shame has been swept away, finally. Yes.) Make a caprese sandwich or perhaps a tortizza, like I did with this batch.
So you’ll go buy some now? NOW. Grazie.