Okay, so I'm a little late talking about this, but recently, in New York City, a giant gourmet market opened up that offers city dwellers a taste of Italy. Eataly is a beautiful mega-store with marble everywhere (so it's really like Italy). You can pick up cured meats, cheeses, fresh pastas, high-quality olive oils... The list goes on. There is even a vegetable butcher, I kid you not. He'll trim your artichokes and peel your baby carrots.
Although the space is beautiful, the actual store planning was poorly done. It's not an easy store to navigate around and you need to pay for your groceries and exit the store in order to get to the wine shop (the two are not connected).
Despite all this, I was excited to visit. I had been waiting months for the opening, passing the building and staring longingly at the "Open Summer 2010" signs. I went on the second day it was open and surprisingly it was not packed. Bad for business, good for me.
I knew what I wanted and headed straight for the cheese and cured meats section. I wanted to keep my selections classic. No over-the-top cheeses infused with truffle oil. I ordered half a pound of prosciutto di Parma. The kind gentleman asked "Would you prefer the 14-month or 18-month old prosciutto?" I was already expecting to pay an arm and a leg for my groceries so I went with the 18-month old.
There wasn't a huge variety of cheese. Not that it mattered, I am not a connoisseur. I had fallen madly in love with burratta ever since I ate an antipasto of burratta and octopus at Marea. I placed one ball of burratta next to the prosciutto in my basket.
After picking up a couple other items (more on that later) I headed home to prepare a light dinner feast. Unfortunately that evening my husband was playing hockey and wouldn't arrive till 11:00 p.m. I spent hours suffering as I dreamed of taking a bite of thinly sliced, salty, fatty prosciutto. As I counted down the minutes to my husband's arrival, I decided to whip up a quick tuna and spinach salad to round off the light dinner.
Finally, my husband came home and I nearly fell over with excitement telling him about everything I bought (and trying hard to justify why I had spent so much money on so little product).
I had set us up at our coffee table so we could be comfortable sitting on our couch to eat for the next hour or so. I am such a fan of antipasti and small plates in general. Spending hours taking bites of small portions of food, drinking copious amounts of wine and chattering the night away... I can't think of anything better.
Since I had cheese and prosciutto, I thought a fresh bread was needed. Luckily, the baker had just taken a batch of Tuscan-style bread out of the oven. I love a good crusty bread.
Here is the divine and delicious prosciutto. Don't you wish you could reach into the screen and steal a slice? "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."
No Italian feast is complete without a solid red wine. When I visited the wine shop, I came across two of my/our favorite wines, a Tignanello and a Pian delle Vigne (the latter was a wonderful discovery made in a small restaurant in Florence with my husband last summer). Now the two wines cost more than I wanted to spend, $100 and $80 respectively. The sommelier recommended another (more affordable) super Tuscan.
So there you go. A great night of great Italian fare. I haven't been back to Eataly yet, maybe this weekend. Who knows?