Need Holiday Gifting Inspiration? Check our Video Tour of DiPalo’s Fine Foods

In the current issue of Edible Manhattan, Amy Zavatto takes a hard look at the history one of our favorite meals, the Italian seafood smorgasbord known as The Feast of the Seven Fishes, traditionally served on Christmas Eve. As part of her piece she spoke with Lou DiPalo, whose family-run Italian market has held court on the corner of Grand and Mott streets in Little Italy since 1925.

In addition to incredible jarred tuna and other fishy treats, DiPalo’s stocks a rarely seen type of bottarga, or dried roe, from Sicilian tuna. It’s a whole slab of air-dried eggs from the massive fish, sold by the ounce and shaved over pasta or other dishes for some serious added umami. (Lou calls it “Italian caviar.”) You can get a glimpse of his bottarga di tonno on our most recent NY1 Let’s Eat segment, which airs Fridays and Sundays (and is also captured right here online in perpetuity).

In the segment, Lou explains the history of the shop, which is one of our favorites not just for its incredible fresh mozzarella (taste it warm; you’ll be stunned by it’s creamy goodness), or Italian imported cheeses, meats, pastas and other products, but also for the way the shop continues to improve and adapt to New York City food culture with each of its five generations. Those begin with the very first incarnation, a store that made fresh cheeses for the Italian immigrants living in the neighborhood:

“For my great-grandfather, he started with the latteria,” Lou told us, “for my grandparents, they started to carry some hard cheeses from Italy. My father and my uncle, they included products such as salumi, proscuitto, salami and mortadella. When we continued the business, we brought in products such as fine olive oils and unique vinegars from the different areas of Italy. Pastas that are specialties, for instance, pici from Tuscany and trofie from Liguria… And we tried to give the essence of a true, authentic Italian gastronomia.”

Now there’s also prepared foods in a new kitchen (including meatballs made his grandmother’s recipe) and all-Italian wineshop run by his son Sam. Both are open on Christmas Eve, if you’re doing any last minute shopping. For inspiration, take a peek at our NY1 piece right here.


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