Long-time readers will know of my love of Romeo & Cesare’s in New Haven: not only does it contain the delights any Italophile dreams of, it’s literally across the street from our old apartment. We’d usually find ourselves there a few times a week–often Michael would go to pick up a few items for a specific dinner he had in mind, and I’d visit on weekends to get breakfast items or the stuff we needed for dinner. When you’re hooked on prosciutto di Parma like I am, it’s nice to have a place so closeby to give you a cured porcine fix whenever you needed it.
The last morning I was in our apartment, I went there to get myself some breakfast and lunch, and my eyes may have been a little wet when I went to the register. And like I mentioned in my faux-Amatriciana post, I may have still been in denial that I no longer had a reliable pancetta and prosciutto connection so convenient to home.
Enter the Milano Market.
Located a few blocks north of the Westside Market, it’s a surprisingly large store, perhaps in part to the high ceilings and the likewise towering shelves stuffed with imported goodies (something I always loved about Romeo’s) including meal kits from France and sodas from Italy. One thing I have yet to find, however, is tipo 00 flour for our pizza and pasta-making sessions, but I’m sure I haven’t looked hard enough–the breadth of products alone necessitates hours of perusal that cannot be done when you’re already on the way home with bags of groceries.
The cheese selection is equally diverse, featuring both the expected Italian imports (parmigiano-reggiano, pecorino romano, mozzarella) as well as many of the esoteric choices that true Italian gourmet shop aficionados hope to find. I searched in vain for Sicilian table cheese (a staple a R&C’s), though that can likely be remedied by asking them to order some, but I walked away with a tiny wedge of a Brie-like French cheese that went well with our light meal later that evening.
No matter. I’ll give you one hint as to what will bring me back to Milano more weekend days than is probably healthy:
This is only one small portion of the deli that stretches over an entire wall, packed full of prepared foods, a salad bar, a soup bar, an olive bar, and an improbably large meat case featuring several varieties of prosciutto (both di Parma and di San Daniele), a whole shelf stuffed with too many salamis to count, plus all of the classic deli staples. It’s the busiest part of the store by far, but the fleet of men behind the counter means you’ll get your order quickly, regardless if there are a few requests for prosciutto being filled at the same time.
While the prices are higher than what I paid in New Haven, the quality more than makes up for it–the Negroni prosciutto was delicate and not as fatty as I’m used to, making it far worth the extra two dollars/lb in cost, and the pancetta also seemed a bit leaner yet still flavorful, and elevated a humble pot of pasta e fagioli Michael whipped up to help him get over his cold a few weeks ago. This stuff is now a must-have for our freezer.
What Milano lacks in super-lazy convenience it more than makes up for in product selection, and more than worth the time it takes to traipse across College Walk to get there. At the very least it will keep my visits in moderation.