NY Times Review

Deliciousness From Italy
By KELLY FEENEY
Published: December 18, 2009 – The New York Times

At Piccolo’s Gastronomia Italiana, prosciutto hangs from the ceiling and shelves are stocked with a dizzying array of biscotti, artisanal pastas and espresso. Deli cases are filled with marinated artichokes, fresh mozzarella and entrees like chicken francese.

“I have people come in from Italy and they don’t have a quarter of the stuff in their shops that we have,” said Franco Piccolo, who opened this 4,000-square-foot specialty store in 1993; he runs it with his wife, Filomena, and other members of the family. “We have over 100 types of olive oil and about 45 to 50 kinds of balsamic vinegar.”

During the holidays, Piccolo’s imports are even more impressive: dried figs; numerous types of torrone, the nougat and nut confection; dozens of panettone (some made with chocolate or limoncello, for example); and chestnuts to roast. Any of these items — along with other treats like preserved cherries, mostaccioli cookies and jams — can be bundled in a basket as an elegant gift (assembly and wrapping costs $15 to $20).

If you’re giving a party, Piccolo’s has a menu of Italian-American classics including chicken parmigiana and lasagna (both $35 for a medium tray, serving about 12). Baccala is a holiday staple, and here you’ll find the dried codfish in many variations, including Piccolo’s popular house-made baccala salad with olives, peppers, parsley and lemon ($13.99 a pound).

There’s ricotta pie ($5 a pound) and a seasonal treat, ciambellone cake — like a sticky raisin ring cake ($8.99 a pound). And if you need a quick gift, Piccolo’s even sells Italian movies on DVD.

Piccolo’s Gastronomia Italiana, 484 Bergen Boulevard, Ridgefield, NJ, (201) 313-0200; Open Tuesday to Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 8:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. Normally closed Monday.
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