By G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD – The rich food culture of Italy will be explored during a special event on Oct. 22 at both locations of Frigo Foods as part of Italian Heritage Month.
Owner Jose Frigo explained to Reminder Publications the event would feature tastings of a variety of Italian meats and cheese at 90 William St. and at 159 Shaker Road in East Longmeadow from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. There will also be a raffle for a Fiat car at both locations and wine tastings at only the Springfield store.
It will also be an opportunity for people who enjoy Italian food to be introduced to new products, he added.
The Frigo family has been both making cheese and importing Italian food since the turn of the 20th century and the specialty food store and deli has been in business in Springfield since 1950.
Frigo noted that even though the recent tornado damaged his building’s roof, the business was not affected.
“The business has survived 60 years carrying on Italian traditions,” he said.
Frigo said the interest in cooking has been spiked by the Food Channel and other television networks and he regularly sees customers looking for an ingredient they’ve seen on a television show.
“It’s definitely a big introduction to our business,” he said.
Among those items being introduced include a Gorgonzola dolce cheese, which Frigo described as a creamy bleu cheese, which was not as pungent as a regular bleu and a three-month old Asiago cheese, which he said is soft and creamy. The samples will also include Speck, a smoked ham from the most northern province of Italy.
Olive oils from the Tuscan region will also be sampled. Frigo said the interest in using olive oil in this country has grown and now oils that come from the equivalent of a microbrewery are becoming more common here.
He noted that some olive oils are known as “first pressed,” which means they have a darker color, a bolder flavor and have pulp in the bottle. Frigo explained he is bringing in part of a limited pressing of this oil that comes from an orchard in Sicily later this year.
He pointed out several brands of olive oil that now have orange and lemon flavors added.
Frigo explained the event should help recall the ethnic history of the South End, which was an Italian neighborhood for generations.
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