A South Bay staple since 1948, Cosentino’s is somewhat halfway between a grocery store and an Italian deli. It looks and feel like a regular store, but on the shelves you will see delicacies that are quite hard to find elsewhere. Although a bit out of the way, I usually head there every now and then to pick up some great ricotta (the best I have found in the Bay Area, although not quite as good as the one Rosetta makes) or some unknown (in California) pasta shape, as they carry the most extensive pasta selection on the Pacific!
My favorite ricotta is the shorter container in the center of this picture, as it is packed in its liquid and a drainer. If I can’t find it, I will buy Calabro Ricotta, which is also good.
At Cosentino’s I will also buy canned tuna fish “As do Mar” in olive oil. Despite being a product of Portugal, this tuna is the high-quality variety you will find in stores all over Italy. The packaging actually is in Italian! It is a tightly packed tuna preserved in oil, cleaned by hand and in a whole fillet. Enjoy it in a salad, or mix it with a light tomato sauce for a fabulous pasta sauce!
Anchovies: we consume a lot of anchovies at home. My favorites (in terms of reasonable price/ quality ratio) are the Talatta brand in the small glass jar, and when I want to splurge I will get the large vacuum-sealed jar from Lampara!
For the minestrone I make, I like to use beans as well as grains. I usually add lenticchie (lentils) and either farro (spelt) or orzo (barley). At Cosentino’s I find all- and reasonably priced, too!
The meat counter is a feast. All sort of salumi (cured meats) are on display, but I also like the butchery. During the year I buy amazing meats and salsiccie (sausages). During the Holidays, the butcher counter is the only place where I could find cappone (capon). Capon makes a great stock, fit for special occasions: at my grandma’s table, Christmas is always celebrated with brodo di cappone (capon stock)!
Coffee: a wide selection of Lavazza and Illy brand coffee is available in different grinding, and also in whole beans. I don’t own a coffee grinder (I know, shame on me!), but I always buy the finer grind for the Italian stove top coffee maker (moka). It is the one in the vacuum-sealed “square” packages.
For dessert, I often make Tiramisu’, but I like making it with the real savoiardi cookies the recipe calls for. Savoiardi are vey similar to the more widely available ladyfingers, although maybe a little bit crunchier. Cosentino’s carries a pretty nice selection of savoiardi, and also an assortment of small pastries that are great served with coffee or tea for an afternoon snack (the millefoglie or sfogliatine).