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Lombardi's Imports remains a beacon

Italian anchovies are packed in salt; you dig them out; wash the salt off and use.

Next, cook the macaroni you like; when tender, drain it quick then put in the pan with the sauce for a minute so it gets on a bit of the brown side.

Also, if you prefer, put in hot pepper; jarred in oil is the best, but add just a little. Lastly, add grated Romano cheese.

"You have to know your product," John said, "We make sure we tell our staff, and ask them to read the labels so they know something about it."

"There's only one Lombardi's," Mary DeSimone said, "don't know what I'd do without it."

She lives in Liverpool, but was brought up on the city's Northside. Her husband of 50 years was with her, Mario. He was originally from Calvi Risorta in Italy, but came to Syracuse when he was 18. They met on a double date, although, Mario said he cheated by stopping into the A&P, where she was working, to take a peak.

"I liked what I saw," Mario said.

Artisan Cheeses

Artisan cheeses are handcrafted and made in a traditional manner. John said, Parmigiano Reggiano is to eat in chunks or to use in cooking, it is not best for grating - that is Romano, which is traditionally a sheep's milk cheese with a saltier edge. They have many versions including one that is from an area in Italy where Saffron is also harvested. This is golden in color and dotted with peppercorns.

The Lombardi's said they easily sell 10,000 pounds of Romano, and the same in Provolone a year. Gorgonzola is starting to pick up because of the younger generation traveling; and the food network has really driven people to Lombardi's for the real thing.

John mentioned he grows fresh figs and likes to split a ripe fig and fill it with Gorgonzola.

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