Nothing better for a picnic than a thick slice of porchetta.
Along with other fans of the city’s greatest Italian cheese store, I sat on the edge of my seat awaiting the outcome of Di Palo Dairy’s historic expansion. A second storefront was to be incorporated into the cheese store, while a third storefront was annexed as an Italian wine store. More about the wine store later. As part of the scheme, the cheese store was to begin vending prepared foods, not for consumption on the premises, but to be carried out and eaten at home, though some of the stuff could clearly be served room temp at a picnic — along with a selection of cheeses, of course.
The Tuscan white bean salad, supercharged with garlic, is totally on the money.
In the newly constituted store, the counters seem to swim in the big space, which remains a work in progress. A line snakes between counters, with the first counter partly devoted to the delicatessen items. The porchetta — a skin-on pork roast rolled around a filling of fennel, garlic, and salt — beckoned. Once laid out on the picnic table and sliced with a pocket knife into chunks, its excellence is apparent. The white bean salad looked good, too, so I ordered a tub. Both porchetta and bean salad are priced at $4.99 per pound, which is way reasonable.
The shepherd’s bread (a cracker, really) of Sardinia never goes stale — perfect for a picnic.
To go with the porchetta and the bean salad, I picked an aged Tuscan pecorino, and, rather than bread, chose a Sardinian flatbread known in the local dialect as pane carasatu, but in Italian as carte di musica (“sheets of music”), because of its thin and crumbly quality. Laid out on a picnic table in the community garden at Avenue B and East 6th Street, with late-summer flowers blooming all around, and a bottle of rose to tie everything together, Di Palo’s carryout made a superb picnic, though the participants went home with lips burning from the garlic.
200 Grand Street
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 11, 2009