I had one of the most delicious experiences of my life today. With a well known culinary school and a thriving foodie scene, Providence has become one of the new cuisine hotspots on the east coast. Federal Hill, a local neighborhood traditionally occupied by immigrants, is home to 62 great restaurants, many of them Italian.
I took a culinary tour of Federal Hill with chef Cindy Salvato, who operates a company called Savoring Rhode Island. We started at Schialo Brothers Bakery, a traditional Italian bakery where one family has created bread, cakes and cookies in a brick oven for nearly 100 years. Next, we visited Roma, an grocery store with beiautiful meats, fresh pastas and imported olive oils, and then Tony's Colonial Food, where the proprietor offerd us a taste of mouth-melting prosciutto. From there, we visited Constantino's Venda Ravioli, a large Italian market and restaurant, where we sampled delicious cheeses and pickled peppers stuffed with mozzarella and prosciutto balls.
As if that weren't enough, Cindy took me to lunch at Zooma, a neighborhood Italian restaurant where we ordered pan-fried fresh calamari, brick-oven pizza, and a trio of pastas. The rich bolognese, pillowy gnocchih and intricate sacchettini (stuffed with cheese and mushrooms) were an overwhelming feast of flavor that may be the next best thing to Italy itself.
Fresh bread at Scialo Brothers Bakery.
Bolognese and horseradish at Zooma.
A lesson in olive oils with chef Cindy.
Prosciutto and mozzarella stuffed peppers at Venda Ravioli.
Venda Ravioli's homemade pizza.