Sunday, May 17, 2009
Say cheese! Or in this instance…formaggio. Il meraviglioso mondo dei formaggi (the wonderful world of cheese). Could there be any better way to welcome Mellow Yellow Monday than with a big hunk of parmigiana reggiano?
I think four of the saddest words are: “I don’t do dairy.”
This abundanza display of cheese is from the legendary Volpi market. In St. Louis there is a venerable Italian district known as “The Hill”. Charming, parochial, historic, this neat-as-a-pin neighborhood of shotgun houses and adorned Madonna statues thrives as a throw-back in time that’s steeped in heritage.
Let’s take a walking tour.
The reigning merchant triumvirate consists of Volpi’s, the salumeria, Viviano’s, the general market, and Missouri Bakery, the celebrated shop for sweets. Mixed among them are sandwich shops, elegant restaurants, sidewalk cafes, bocce courts, the local catholic parish, bars, ball parks and the best coffee roaster in St. Louis.
Volpi is America’s oldest manufacturer of authentic Italian meat products that have been hand-crafted for three generations by accomplished salumieri. Exclusive family recipes, spice combinations and curing methods have brought Volpi global success. Mmmm, I love their pancetta.
Viviano’s food and wine market is always a beehive of activity. On any given Saturday it’s not unusual to stand in line at the meat/cheese counter for over an hour waiting to place your order. Here is their bill of fare.
This aisle in Viviano’s is fully stocked with imported tomato products, and fancy pastes like anchovy and black olive. They have amazingly affordable prices on olive oil and vino!
The sugared almonds provide a spot of color. These bring back such great memories from my childhood when I felt so grown up eating them. I loved sucking off the sugar and biting into the crunchy nuts.
The Missouri Bakery draws people from miles away. Their Italian bread flies off the shelves and their famous cookies are sold by the pound. My favorite treats are the custard filled cream puffs and the old fashioned peanut roll.
One of the many, many Madonna statues that are found in almost every yard on The Hill. This one is a wee bit more glitzy than most. At Christmas they have a neighborhood display of nativity scenes along with some really sparkly holiday decorations.
If you’re parched after this tour, you can head over to Rigazzi’s for a frosted fish bowl of beer, or maybe to Milo’s to “drink the wall” and play some bocce. Ciao. Enjoy your week.