10) Ricotta - Calandra's Cheese Shop is known to long-time Little Italy regulars as "the ricotta shop." While Diego has an extensive line of imported Italian specialty cheeses, ricotta is still what brings most people to the shop, so much so that he uses 8,000 gallons of milk every two days! Use it for lasagna, cheese cake or just drizzle some good balsamic vinegar over the top and eat it with a spoon.
9) Prima Donna - A blend of parmigiano reggiano and gouda, this snacking cheese is always a favorite tasting on our signature Shopping & Tasting Tour. Buy half a pound of this nutty, rich cheese to enjoy with an arugula salad, a hunk of bread and a glass of wine. Get it at Calandra's, Joe's Italian Deli or Calabria Pork Store.
8) Mozzarella - you can find freshly made mozzarella at Calandra's, Calabria Pork Store, Mike's Deli, Casa della Mozzarella and Tino's, but the mozzarella our tour guests always prefer is made at Joe's Italian Deli.
7) Parmigiano Reggiano - the real deal comes directly from Parma, Italy in giant wheels and can be found and all the delis and cheese shops in Little Italy. If you're price shopping, get it at Teitel Brothers. If you're at Joe's Italian Deli and they happen to be opening a wheel, they'll gladly let you have the first taste. Biancardi's butcher shop sells the Rocca brand which many people favor.
6) Feta - while it's not an Italian cheese, the large Albanian community in Little Italy seeks out the freshest feta imported from the Balkans. Get the freshest and least expensive feta cheese at Teitel Brothers.
5) Locatelli - A simple, salty pecorino romano cheese, Locatelli is a legend among Italian grandmothers who insist that it's the only grated cheese allowed on their Sunday table. Get it at any shop in Little Italy that sells cheese.
4) Gorgonzola - Look in the refrigerator at Vincent's Meat Market for the best, gooey, delicious gorgonzola (blue cheese) to pair with a good steak or burger.
3) Caciocavallo - You know that mozzarella you get in the grocery store that is shrink wrapped and fairly dry? Technically speaking that's not mozzarella but caciocavallo, also called dried mozzarella. Eschew the chemical-laden shrink wrap and get real caciocavallo for your grilled cheese sandwiches, lasagna or chicken parm. It's that cheese you see hanging with a waxy casing.
2) Calabrese Pecorino - This simple pecorino (sheep's mlk) cheese is covered in hot dried chili flakes from Calabria, the toe of the boot, and the one region in Italy that really likes spicy food. Cube it up and mix it into a salad. When you add olive oil, it will naturally mix with the chili flake and create a wonderful dressing. Get it at Calabria Pork Store.
1) Moliterno di Tartufo - a simple pecorino cheese from Sardinia is infused with black truffles for absolute magic. Get a half pound of this at Calandra's (for half the price of anywhere in Manhattan) and grate it over fresh egg noodles from Borgatti's. Heaven!