The Hill has the feel of a Italian village. A statue of an immigrant couple outside St. Ambrose church looks out onto the neighborhood of pristine homes and lawns. There’s food available on nearly every corner and in many shops. Restaurants bear the names of such families as Cunetto, Gitto, Campisi, Rigazzi, Amighetti, Viviano, and Favaza.
Among the many cultural icons on The Hill is DiGregorio’s Italian Grocery at the corner of Marconi and Daggett. When I dropped by last weekend the place was a-buzz with local and area shoppers. Having a wine and cheese tasting in progress only added to the charm of the lively, well-stocked grocery started 45 years ago by Sicilian immigrants Salvatore “Sam” and Dora DiGregorio.
Today’s generation maintains the traditional commitment to quality and service. Despite the hustle and bustle of a Saturday morning, owner Toni DiGregorio Ribaudo has time for a big smile and pleasant visit. She personally runs down the special cheese I’m searching for. Meanwhile I find just the size noodles I like for my minestrone recipe. (I use tubetti.)
I eye the vast array of vinegar and determine that I don’t have space in my small condo kitchen for yet another variety. Even so, I make note of what’s available. Next, I survey the assortment of cheeses, whole and grated. They range from soft cheeses like Taleggio and Robiola Bosina to those used for grating such as Parmesan, Romano, and Grana Padano. I pick up a Fontina for a recipe that has been languishing in the test stack of my kitchen. And because I use San Marzano tomatoes so frequently, I add a few cans to my cart.
I intended to buy some salsiccia (Sal-SEET-tcha) sausage to mix with the beef that I put in my stuffed green peppers. (I like the DiGregorio’s family recipe.) But I became distracted—enthralled by the spice rack and the funky aprons. I photographed the butcher displaying newly made sausage and overlooked the purchase. I’m creating a list for my return trip.More posts on The Hill see: A Trip to the Hill