My friend John T. Edge was in town last weekend, and after a walking brunch in Chinatown (less than stellar dim sum at Jin Fong, great ribs at Big Wong and exceptional soup dumplings at Goodie's) we wandered into DiPalo Diary to see if Louis DiPalo was around. We walked into the store, and there was Louis behind the counter. Amazingly, there wasn't the usual sea of people crowded into the small space waiting to buy the wonderful array of cheese, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salumi that Louis and his family have been selling for almost a hundred years.
Louis said he was right in the middle of making a batch of mozzarella, and would soon return to take care of John T., who was looking for some Italian cheeses that would travel well enough for him to serve them to his wife for her birthday party in Mississippi. Five minutes later Louis came over to see us, washed his hands, and proceeded to give us a half-hour class on Pecorino Romano cheeses he had on-hand.
I am always transfixed by Louis' mastery of his subjects. His passion is infectious, and his knowledge and experience are equally impressive. Louis' prices are incredibly reasonable. He sells real balsamic vinegar for way less than other shops and on-line sources. He has about ten kinds of Italian canned and jarred tuna on-hand, and he can tell you more than you might want to know about every one of them. Louis is a national treasure, and I urge all of you who can to go down to the store. Call first to make sure Louis is there, and also make sure you are not in a hurry.
When you go to DiPalo's you aren't just shopping for food. You're taking a master class in artisanal Italian food products. DiPalo Dairy is at 200 Grand Street in NYC, ph: 212-226-1033. They will ship and take phone orders. They just don't have an on-line catalogue.