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How far would you go for a piece of cheese? If you’re Anthony LoFrisco, you’ll drive more than 400 miles.
Growing up in Brooklyn during World War II, Anthony LoFrisco lived a life without Italian cheese (which sounds to us like one of the worst rings of hell). But when the war ended, the cheese was freed. LoFrisco remembers the glorious moment when DePalo’s, a local Italian grocery, received a gigantic 1,000-pound provolone. He and the other neighborhood kids ran to behold its curdy glory. “It made an incredible impression on me,” the now-82-year-old LoFrisco told the Wilton Bulletin. “After going so long without, to see this huge cheese, the likes of which I’d never seen before, and would never see again.” But he would—eventually.
While perusing the Internet last November, LoFrisco found a story about a giant provolone on its way to a New Jersey grocer. It brought back emotional memories of the original giant cheese in his life. He knew he had to see it, so he set out from his home in Connecticut. Sadly, when he arrived, he discovered that this cheese was just 750 pounds and from Wisconsin. It wasn’t the same. But LoFrisco had been bitten by the huge cheese bug, so he returned home and Googled “1,000-lb provolone.” He found one that was headed to Nicastro’s Italian Food Emporium in Ottawa—over 400 miles away.
Undeterred by the distance, LoFrisco called up owner Joe Nicastro and asked if he could come see the cheese’s unveiling. Nicastro was thrilled and even offered LoFrisco the chance to make the first cut himself. On November 30, LoFrisco and his son took to the roads and drove seven hours to Canada. The next day, LoFrisco sliced into the 11-foot cheese and tasted the first slice. How was it? Great, according to LoFrisco. But reliving his childhood memory was even better. He is including the story in a book of family recipes.