It’s no secret: I like to eat. When I say something is “the best I’ve ever had,” it means a lot. In other words, superlative categorization is a pretty big meatball to hang out there. That said, I have no reservations going on record with this statement: The fresh mozzarella at Belgiovine’s Italian Delicatessen is by far the best I’ve ever had. Period.
I’m not sure what drew me into Belgiovine’s this past Tuesday morning around 10 a.m., but when I entered, I knew I wasn’t leaving empty handed. I looked around at all the prepared antipasto-type foods—stuffed artichokes, roasted peppers, stuffed peppers, and broccoli rabe. I eyed the case of cured meats, checked out the cheese, and perused the unique, Italian dry goods—like those lunchbox-size, tiny vessels of Nutella with dipping sticks attached.
Then, I remembered reading an article about the fresh mozzarella at Belgiovines. Though I tend to be more a funky-cheese fan, I choose to be an equal-fromage-offender and promptly asked for a mozzarella ball.
“It’s still pretty warm,” said Phyllis D’Angelo, the counter-person at Belgiovine’s. “Sounds good,” I replied. And she wrapped up a big, warm, wet ball of cheese. Oh, happy day! While I was there, I also purchased some sautéed broccoli rabe and calamari salad.
The five minutes it would have taken me to get home was far too long for me to wait. I got in my car, opened the plastic bag, and peeled back the deli paper that the moist, porcelain ball of manipulated curd was wrapped in. And oh! The heavenly creaminess! The moderately salted, white orb peeled apart like a work of art. The cheese was flavorful and so rich it left a creamy coating my lips. The difference between really fresh mozzarella, like Belgiovine’s, and ordinary, sort-of fresh mozzarella is nearly indescribable; in terms of texture and flavor, it’s apples and oranges.
The other items I purchased are not to be missed either. The broccoli rabe was chock full of toasted garlic; the leaves were green, and the chopped stems, still crisp. The calamari salad was tender and vibrant with citrus—might I say, just as good as grandma’s. No doubt, I likely have found a new favorite place.
Belgiovine's Italian Delicatessen
714 Bloomfield Ave
Montclair, NJ 07042