In the past few months, it's gone from just a little corner to a full-on cheese section. It's so delicious seeming, in fact, that it actually managed to get my head out of the olive bar -- which says a lot for an olive lover like me.
I know, I know, it probably seems like I'm jumping on the bandwagon here, but honestly, can you blame me? Cardona's -- on Delaware in Albany -- has always been a local gem and it just seems to continue getting better.
As you'd probably expect from an Italian market, most of the cheese tends to be of the Italian variety, like pecorino romano, ricotta salata, parmigiano-reggiano and fontina, but there are plenty of other varieties as well including several less common Italian cheeses. And yes, there are several types of mozzarella, of course. There's also a pretty good showing of local cheeses, including products from the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, Berkshire Blue, and Nettle Meadow Farms.
Like any good cheese purveyor, there are frequently free samples available. A sample of aged provolone I tried last week may have completely radicalized my previously held belief that provolone is a rather bland cheese. The aged stuff is far too pungent and tasty to even share a name with that stuff you get in deli slices.
This brings me to one of my favorite parts of Cardona's cheese selection - the smell. Just take a deep breath and inhale. Seriously, it instantly cheers me up no matter how cranky I might be that day.
Cheese purists will be happy to note that while there are some pre-cut, pre-packaged cheeses, most of the products come in giant blocks cut and wrapped to order so you don't have to worry as much about your dairy delicacy being smothered in unbreathable plastic. (Really. I'm told this is a problem for cheese. Apparently cheese needs to breathe.) Try not to scoff too much at the few standard grocery store cheeses tucked in among the ranks -- after all, Cardona's is a diplomatic place.
Of course, the main problem I have with the ever-expanding cheese selection is that it makes it even more impossible not to spend a fortune every time I stop in. I'm starting to think there must be some sort of addictive drug in the store's aroma. And the tweets about the daily lunch specials are not helping.
340 Delaware Ave
Albany, NY 12209
We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.