New York City is teeming with immigrants from around the world, many of who bring the tastes and cultures of their homelands to their new country. In one immigrant neighborhood, along Mulberry Street, the sights, sounds and smells of Italy overwhelm the senses. Elaine Lu narrates this report of New York's Little Italy.
Food connoisseur Susan Rosenbaum guides food tours of Chinatown, Little Italy and the Lower East Side in New York City. "We are in Little Italy. In Little Italy you will find that there are many food shops here and a lot of them got started in the very early days. Little Italy has been here since about the 1860s and 1870s and it was primarily your southern Italians who were coming to the United States in order to have a better life," she tells those in search of culinary insights.
"So now we are in DiPalo Dairy," she continues. "DiPalo has been here since 1925, same family, three generations. This is your Italian gourmet market. This is a place where they take special pride in the products they have here. You will find that the large majority of the products have been imported from Italy."
Sal DiPalo is the fourth generation owner of DiPalo Dairy. He says he goes back to Italy to select fine food to share with his customers in New York. He also educates them on Italian culture. Prosciutto, cheese, olive oil, balsamic vinegar -- nearly everything can be found here.
One loyal customer is a 90-year-old lady. She says, "I have been here most of my life. My grandparents, all of us. I am here for 66 years."
Cheese is a big part of Italian cuisine. So Rosenbaum's food tour includes another diary. "We are now in the Alleva Dairy. Alleva has been here since 1892. It's the same family, five generations. It was started by the matriarch of the family who started by making fresh mozzarella and fresh ricotta cheeses, which they are still doing today. This is your Old World, Italian-American dairy and deli. It's also the oldest Italian cheese store in the United States."
George Morra is the chef at Amici 2, an Italian restaurant that specializes in seafood. "The special pasta is: I got to make it with jumbo shrimps, Portobello mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, Moroccan rub."
Morra's special pasta is made with such enthusiasm; it is no wonder families often take trips to Little Italy for food alone.
Another customer explains why she attends. "We want to show them (the children) all the different restaurants, the area, the Farrara -- we are going to take them up to the pastry shop, to show them the famous pastry shop."
The next stop on the tour is that pastry shop to try a cannoli. Frank Angelary is the owner of Farrara Pastries, a 100-year-old bakery. "Our success is our cannoli. The traditional cannolli is the regular cannolli, which is Sicilian. It has the Italian shell, it's fried dough with ricotta cheese and chocolate inside. "
For many visitors, there is perhaps no better way to spend a day in Little Italy than to sit down and savor a cup of coffee and enjoy a taste of Italy.