For four generations, the Di Palo family has kept New Yorkers stocked with Italian cheeses, cured meats, and a pantry’s worth of other fine Italian products from its Little Italy location. Founded as a latteria (dairy store) in 1910 by Savino Di Palo, after he’d immigrated to the United States from the Basilicata region of Italy, with a more full-service shop opened by his daughter Concetta in 1925, Di Palo’s Fine Foods is now in the hands of siblings Luigi (everybody calls him “Lou”), Marie, and Salvatore, and fifth-generation member, Sam.
On Lou’s frequent trips to Italy, he’s always discovering something new. He has formed bonds with farmers and producers in all 20 regions of the country and brings back cheeses and meats that are hard to fine anywhere else. Stroll the shop and you’ll see Lagrein (a wine-flavored cheese), Pecorino Toscano Stagionato, Caciocavallo from Basilicata, and homemade Burrata; meats like speck from Alto Adige and salame Abruzzese, as well as Italian pastas, rice, olive oil from Sicily, and acacia honey from Prunotto, in the Piedmont.
The artisans that supply Di Palo’s may often use old-school methods, and Di Palo’s itself is a shop that is built on tradition, but you can use high-tech methods to get their products if you don’t happen to live in New York. Their website, dipaloselects.com, offers a selection of what they do best.
And if you want to get advice from the horse’s mouth, read Di Palo’s Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy: 100 Years of Wisdom and Stories from Behind the Counter, published in September.