With its reputation as one of Forest Hills' best places to get together with friends and family, Exo Cafe has become the place to go to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers or brunch. This trendy and casual hotspot located on Austin Street has three levels, an open-loft area, a wrap-around central bar with five flat screens, rooms and space for quiet rendezvous … [Read More...] about Forest Hills Go To Spot For All Occasions: Exo Cafe
Friendly, fresh, and fragrant… all words to describe the atmosphere and food of Cipollina Italian Market! Half store, half cozy coffee shop, Cipollina is Forest Hills’ go to place for Italian delights. The friendly service and authentic merchandise provide a quality place for breakfast, lunch, or a midday treat.
Cipollina Italian Market has a variety of unique Italian merchandise such as olive oils, vinegars, pastas, sauces, cheeses, coffee, baked goods, cookies, charcuterie, craft beer, and more! New merchandise is delivered three times a week.
We chatted briefly with the owner, Antonio Principato, and his daughter Christine about Cipollina. Antonio emigrated from Genoa (northwest Italy, bordering France) to the United States about 30 years ago. He bakes the cakes on-site and carefully selects the merchandise sold in the store.
1. We read that Cipollina is a family-run business. Could you please tell our readers when Cipollina first opened its doors and why the founder chose Forest Hills?
Cipollina is indeed a family-run business. We first opened our doors in December 2015 and we chose Forest Hills because there wasn’t anything else like it in the area and a place like ours was needed. We wanted to bring this concept to Forest Hills specifically, because we live in the area and felt personally invested in it.
2. A Yelp comment about Cipollina caught our attention. The customer said:
Just walking into this store makes me so happy! I try to stop in before visiting home to pick up an Italian treat for my grandparents. This store always delivers a great assortment, amazing (truly amazing) coffee and delicious desserts. This neighborhood gem is a MUST VISIT for all!
Could you tell us what Italian treats are most popular at Cipollina?
As far as treats go, you can’t stop in and not pick up a slice of one of Antonio’s handmade cakes or a piece of our bread pudding.
For it to really be a treat, we recommend pairing one of these delights with a cappuccino or latte (in a mug to stay for a bit, of course). Basically, we try to always carry the classics while constantly searching for new products that are not only fun and interesting, but that also maintain the authenticity we pride ourselves in.
3. We’re so glad that Cipollina offers online shopping, and you have same day delivery at a nominal fee for a minimum purchase of $20. What’s your delivery range?
We have joined forces with Mercato to deliver groceries to all 5 boroughs at a very reasonable price. Customers from all over can access the 100s of products we offer at the click of a mouse and can usually receive them in the same day!
For the delivery of sandwiches, coffee, and pastries, we have paired with UberEATS and can pretty much deliver anywhere locally with very fast turnaround time.
Our menu can be found at: Cipollina
4. Could you please give us suggestions on which type of salumi and cheese (and quantities) to buy to create an amazing charcuterie platter for 10 people?
When making a charcuterie platter, a priority is considering which flavors pair well together, but you also want to make sure there is variety in texture and flavors. There are all sorts of cheeses, aged, soft, firm, etc. For the platter, try picking one of each so that you and your guests can sample a wide variety of flavors.
As far as salumi, prosciutto di Parma is a must! We also love adding different types of salame and sopressata, be sure to pick one. To give the presentation a rustic touch, we suggest complementing the salumi and cheeses with dried or fresh fruits, nuts, olives, some jam or honey and a nice, crisp ciabatta. As far as quantities, it really all depends on if the charcuterie platter will be an appetizer or the star of the show.
5. You are known for your coffee as well. What makes a perfect cup of coffee?
Christine: I think the real reason we are known for our coffee is because of my dad. He has chosen amazing whole beans to use for our espresso. On top of that, he truly puts his heart into every single espresso shot he pulls and every cappuccino he makes. People come in requesting him by name.
6. What are some top items in your store from Italy that every reader who loves Italian cooking should get?
Anyone who loves good Italian cooking, or any cooking for that matter, should invest in a good bottle of extra virgin olive oil. We recommend Bono Cold Extracted, Unfiltered Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Next, we recommend good Italian tomatoes! Mutti is our family’s favorite brand, they make an excellent sauce.
Parmigiano Reggiano is a must as a topping on any plate of pasta or just to eat as a snack!
With some input from Antonio Principato, the owner, we picked out a bottle of pesto imported from Genoa, a bag of Italian-made Gnocchi, and a wedge of Italian Parmigiano Reggiano. We were given a simple Italian cooking lesson for a delicious dinner!
1 bag of gnocchi
2-3 tablespoon of pesto
Shredded parmigiano reggiano
Bring water to a boil, add the gnocchi, cook them for a minute and until they rise up to the surface.
Then scoop them out (Make sure you reserve a little of the water to add to the gnocchi and pesto if needed)
Add pesto to the gnocchi (add reserved water for sauce if needed)
Top with shredded parmigiano reggiano
Take a few minutes to learn more about Cipollina Italian Market and their fresh authentic products at: Cipollina Market.