Last week we sang the praises of Arthur Avenue, that bastion of authentic Italian food in the Bronx. Today, an option for those of us living a little farther south. Buon Italia is just one small store, but it can fill quite a few Italian culinary needs, starting with these huge cans of San Marzano tomatoes. You can see the normal, 14-ounce cans to the left...
Buon Italia is located in Chelsea Market and has a wholesale business, which explains things like $250 boulders of parmesan near the kitchen in the back of the store.
For the home cook, the store offers several types of imported olive oil and balsamic vinegar, including one little squeeze bottle we noticed, labeled Balsamic Cream, that was filled with something the consistency of maple syrup. It looked decadent.
Above are bags of lentils, nuts, and almond flour. Refrigerated cases are full of fresh pastas and cheeses, and there are more little fish preserved in oil than we knew existed (our favorite: the bianchetti, which look like bean sprouts with eyes).
We came home with a wedge of Strachitunt, a meaty cow's milk cheese, some fresh-sliced speck, and spinach gnocchi. All in all, these aren't terribly rare ingredients you couldn't find in other stores, but it's nice when the man slicing the speck is actually speaking Italian. If you're shopping in Chelsea Market, Buon Italia is a worthwhile stop. They also sell a few non-Italian things like Himalayan pink salt and French cheeses.
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
• And if you don't live in New York, you can shop online at www.buonitalia.com.
(All images: Elizabeth Passarella)