Looking for fine semolina to make pasta? Fresh mozzarella? Imported olive oil? Then look further than D. Coluccio & Sons in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.
There is no shortage of blogs and articles on Coluccio’s, but I feel compelled to spread the word about this extensive, no frills, warehouse-style establishment. D. Coluccio & Sons is a third generation Italian importer, distributor and supermarket. A remnant of the fading Italian-American population. A piece of a vanishing old Brooklyn neighborhood – like Villabate-Alba Bakery, Queen Ann Ravioli and Italian pork stores.
This place is the real deal – not a swanky, sleek specialty shop. The staff speaks Italian. The imported products’ weight is in grams. It is surrounded by auto shops.
Walking through the aisles brings me back to my Italian grandmother’s pantry. Pickled eggplant, San Marzano tomatoes, DeCecco pastas, and Italian sweets alongside basil and tomatoes picked from the yard… I’m already salivating. It also lets me relive my most recent trip to Italy where my husband and I rented a house in Tuscany and we did a lot of cooking. It was a great way to explore Italy’s supermarkets and outdoor markets.
Coluccio’s is an importer and wholesaler, so prices are reasonable as there is no middle man. They also lack fancy food displays and checkout scanners, yet they are a foundation in the old school Italian-American community.
Nowhere else can you find this selection of pasta – including whole wheat and spelt (faro), olives (many I’ve never even heard of), or varieties of polenta. They also have an expansive selection of fresh Italian cheeses and meats which, for many people, is the reason that they travel back to the old neighborhood. Parmgiano Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, Grana Padano, Provolone, Piave Vecchio, fresh and Buffalo Mozzarella. I’ve read that you can even get real burrata from Italy there (which is apparently hard to find in the U.S.)
As for the meats, Coluccio’s does not sell them sliced, but in hunks. Go and get yourself a nice cut of prosciutto di Parma, pancetta or salami.
Here are some additional products they carry:
- La Bella San Marzano brand nectar drinks
- Sheep’s milk cheese
- Café Mauro brand expresso
- Olives: Calabrese, Bella Cerignola, Mother Madionna brand
- Torrone, Nutella (from Italy) and candies
- Frozen sfogliatelle
- Cannoli cream
- Italian chestnuts
- A wide variety of dried beans
- Several kinds of dry salted fish (especially for Christmas eve)
And for those of you in Bay Ridge, homesick for grandma’s lasagna or some taralli (Italian boiled pretzels), you won’t have to venture too far. A new generation of Coluccios (Louis Coluccio) is opening an Italian grocery store and solumeria at 8613 Third Avenue. Michael Kogan, the consulting chef at Owl’s Head wine bar in Bay Ridge, will oversee the prepared foods. They will also serve coffee and espressos.
I peeked into the shop one day during the summer. Construction was ongoing and Louis Coluccio was there, gladly answering my questions about his new store. He proudly told me how excited he is for this new venture and to meet the residents of Bay Ridge.
Not only has Coluccio’s brought me and many others numerous good meals, but it has taken me on a nostalgic trip to a time when these mom and pop shops were plentiful and I ate meals prepared by family members long gone. Oh, come mi mancano quei giorni!
Visit D. Coluccio & Sons at 1214 60th Street Brooklyn, NY 11219 and on the web at http://dcoluccioandsons.com/.
Theresa Gentile MS, RD, CDN is a dietitian at Maimonides Medical Center, adjunct faculty at CUNY Brooklyn College and counsels adults and children using sound science and holistic approaches to eating. Check out her website at www.theresagentilenutrition.com.
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