Cheese Shopping in Rialto: La Baita
The other day I was telling an acquaintance that I had cut down on cheese lately and I was badly craving for something milky and soft like a fresh mozzarella, when he replied that cheese is poison for the body! Woohoo! I must be inured by poison then...because, for me, cheese is one of the best earthly goods we have! Anyway, the moment he said that I understood why we never had dinner together and I immediately went to Rialto to purchase my mozzarella!
Now, when it comes to cheese there are many options in Venice, all very good and different, but obviously -like everyone- I tend to go more often to one of them, my usual place, and this is La Baita in Rialto. This tiny corner store, located at the end of Calle deli Oresi, has some real delicacies! You can't miss it, although it does not have a big sign (in fact, I learned the name from the receipt!), the perfume of fresh and seasoned cheese and their bright windows will definitely attract your nose and sight!
Don't expect a fancy and well furnished specialty shop, this is where all locals go, an everyday place, with excellent products at very good prices. La Baita is where many Venetians buy their olives and anchovies too! The owners are so kind and friendly that I always end up chatting too much and buying more than what I had planned! Those few square meters are full of temptations, seasoned cheese on one side, mortadella and other cured meats on the other, olives, artichokes, baccalà and anchovies in front of you...come on, it's not my fault! It's just that every time I am overwhelmed by this feeling that I need all those foods in my kitchen, so ...
La Baita also makes express sandwiches, in fact, when I used to work in the area, I would often get my snack here, usually a soft type of white bread with cheese and prosciutto or...with baccalà. Yes, you heard me, baccalà mantecato (creamed stockfish) or baccalà conso (creamed stockfish with a garlic, lemon, parsley and olive oil dressing), these guys at La Baita sell one of the best in Venice! Every time I buy it there Vittorio tells me how good it is and asks me where I bought it, and I assure you he is quite picky...
(the sign casatella magra refers to the cheese in the background! what you see is baccalà!)
Today though I want to buy cheese and, as you know, the initial intention was to get mozzarella, but it's getting difficult here! I'm also tempted by the Sicilian pecorino -perfect for my gnocchi- and by the goat's milk cheese -which I could combine with a baby spinach salad with red onions and balsamic vinegar- but I'm going to resist. What I won't resist to is Parmigiano Reggiano, which is something that is never missing in my kitchen. The Parmesan is perfectly sealed and, if you allow me make a suggestion, it's an excellent gift for friends or family...or even for yourself!
The other things I really need are black olives and anchovies. I am a great anchovy eater and confess that if anchovies will become an endangered species I would totally feel responsible! In fact, not to contradict myself, I'm getting the big jar and, since I'm here and he's looking at me, I might as well get a little bit of pecorino with pistachios.
But let's not forget what I came for: mozzarella. Well, mozzarella is really a general word... which type do I want? Treccie di bufala (mozzarella braids) or bufaline (baby bufala mozzarellas)? Burrata? Obviously I'd want them all, but if I don't want to go bankrupt I have to restrain myself, so I'm getting a 250 gr bufala mozzarella and that's it! I have a super tasty and easy recipe in mind and if I'm able to set up the page I'll post it tomorrow.
Look at these beautiful and ultra white milky mozzarellas ... remember to leave the mozzarella in its water until the moment you eat it. If possible eat it the same day you bought it and don't refrigerate it, so it stays nice and moist in the inside and you get the two different textures of the cheese. Of course, do put it in the fridge if you are planning to eat it in the following days, it's just that for me this thought is inconceivable because the moment cheese steps into my house it is usually eaten straight away!
Anyway, going back to La Baita, I highly recommend coming here for your cheese and cured meat shopping and don't forget to try a panino with baccalà!
Address: San Polo 47 Venezia (VE)
Phone: +39 0415236906