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You gotta love a cheese shop with tiny effigies of pigs and geese, hand formed from dried mozzarella, dangling in the front window. Sal Calandra's pristine, family-staffed latticini is a traditional Italian fresh cheese shop specializing in pasta filata, cheeses made by pulling and spinning fresh milk curds; the mozzarella in particular has subtle floral aromas and a squishy milkiness that's best experienced before it cools. Calandra also makes gently smoked and salty dried mozzarellas, as well as young provolones that are less sharp than imported and manufactured domestic varieties, manteca (a sort of cross between mozzarella and young provolone), and a velvety ricotta. Varieties of dried ricotta salata and numerous sheep's and goat's milk cheeses, mostly from Spain, are also available. Specialty shops like Calandra's are slowly disappearing from New York's Italian-American landscape, but this family shop thrives in the city's last true Little Italy.
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