What makes Salvatore Brooklyn’s ricotta cheese so darn good? That’s what I was thinking the other day while eating the creamy, thick ricotta by the spoonful with a drizzle of honey (now you know what I like to snack on!). Salvatore’s is owned by two ladies – Betsy Devine and Rachel Mark – who returned from a trip to Italy in 2005 and wanted to recreate Italy’s famous curds after learning the craft in Tuscany from Salvatore Farina, who makes ricotta for his wine bar in San Gimignano. They named the brand after their mentor and set up shop in…wait for it…Brooklyn!
Salvatore Brooklyn has become pretty famous among the foodie crowd ’round these parts, and for good reason. The ricotta is extremely rich and creamy. It’s light in flavor, as good ricotta should be, but with the mouth-filling richness of mascarpone cheese. I love to top my morning chia-millet toast with preserves and a schmear of Salvatore’s ricotta when I am in the mood for a little decadence. Salvatore’s ricotta is my favorite to use for making crostini topped with ricotta and a sprinkling of Stylish Spoon’s Porcini Mushroom Sea Salt or Vanilla Bean Sea Salt (full recipe will be posted next week so sign-up for Stylish Spoon’s e-newsletter so you don’t miss it). When I use other ricottas in that same recipe I use Andrew Carmellini’s method for making whipped ricotta, where you beat ricotta with whole milk or heavy cream to make it super creamy. But when I use Salvatore’s ricotta, there’s no need to beat it or add anything because it’s already that creamy. The difference, as I understand it, is that while most ricottas are made using whey (the liquid leftover from cheese production), Salvatore’s instead starts with whole milk that isn’t ultra-pasteurized, adds a bit of lemon for brightness, and hangs it in a cheesecloth for an extra long time to give it dense, rich texture. Anne Saxelby, a well-known cheesemonger who sells at the Essex Street Market, has said that Salvatore’s is the “crack of ricotta cheese,” and Martha Steward has said that the brand is her “favorite ricotta in the whole world.” See what all the fuss is about.
Salvator Brooklyn’s Ricotta is now available on Freshdirect (finally!), at NYC specialty food stores likes Whole Foods, Eataly, Brooklyn Larder, Stinky Brooklyn and others. Salvatore’s ricotta costs about $9/8 oz. container (thankfully, a little goes a long way).