It's pretty surprising to walk into Calandra Cheese and meet Diego Faracchio, the Argentinian owner of this very Italian cheese shop. Calandra was originally opened by Sicilian immigrant Salvatore Calandra in 1949, along with other cheese stores in Harlem and Nazareth, Pennsylvania.
When Mr. Calandra passed away in 2000, his sons sold the small shop on Arthur Avenue to Diego, one of Calandra's hard-working employees. Diego keeps the business and the traditions alive at this aromatic shop. One of the reasons we love this shop so much is due to the kindness, generosity, and impeccable customer service of Diego and his employees.
To this day, Calandra is the place Italian grandmothers come to buy their freshly made ricotta cheese for their cheesecakes. Diego makes ricotta, fresh mozzarella, and burrata daily. He also supplies the area with a lot of imported cheese. Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, and Dutch Prima Donna (an irresistible blend of gouda and parmigiano) are just some of his offerings.
It would be foolish to leave this tiny shop without at least a quarter pound of the Moliterno cheese, a pecorino from Sardinia that is laced with flecks of real black truffle. Fresh truffles (when in season) can run you $50 to $100 - this cheese is just $25 a pound at Calandra and some shaved bits over pasta takes the dish to a whole new level.
For those traveling far or who want to keep their cheese out longer, look up for the aged and dried mozzarella (caciocavallo) in a waxy coating hanging from the ceiling. It stays preserved until you cut it open to reveal a stretchy, chewy cheesy interior.
And if you're not sure what to buy, Diego and his team put out samples of at least ten different cheeses daily. And if something is not out for a sample, they don't even hesitate to cut you a sample from their stash.
The quality is unbeatable, they literally let you taste anything in the store, and you feel good that you're supporting a local business. Diego and his team really make the experience and we are excited to introduce people to them as the first stop on our Arthur Avenue Food Tour. It's our favorite cheese shop in the neighborhood.
2314 Arthur Avenue
Bronx, New York 10458