Artisan cheesemonger Anne Saxelby recently invited a group of industry folks to visit ricotta makers Salvatore Bklyn at their new production site in Red Hook, Brooklyn. As we learned about the company and product’s history and namesake we nibbled on crostini and a decadent ricotta almond cake. Betsy Devine, the owner and operator described how she and partner Rachel Marks were inspired to launch the company “On a summer lark in Tuscany, we met Salvatore Farina at his tiny Tuscan enoteca, Gustavo in San Gimignano. Over a legendary meal, he had us at ‘ricotta, bread, olive oil’ and thus began the storied friendship that became Salvatore Bklyn. Salvatore educated us in the way of ricotta, and when we could find no rival stateside, we decided to make our own.”
Traditionally in Italy ricotta is made from the leftover whey from cheese production. Without ready access to whey by-product, Betsy made her ricotta in a different, richer style. She starts with whole cream-top cow’s milk, sourced from nonprofit dairy cooperative Hudson Valley Fresh. The milk is is heated and then curdled with lemon juice. The result is an incredibly creamy and rich fresh ricotta, with a distinct milky sweetness. Simplicity is really the focus for Betsy. She has been asked to start making other products and cheeses, but she prefers to continue perfecting her ricotta. The only deviation comes in the form of a smoked ricotta which she does in small batches in a DIY smoker simply made with sweet cherry wood chips, hotel pans, and cheesecloth.
We have been using Salvatore Bklyn’s ricotta since our restaurant opened five years ago, in fact we were one of their first restaurant accounts! In the PRINT. kitchen you will find their ricotta on our grilled crostini topped with seasonal pestos and sea salt, which is one of our most popular bar snacks. On the dinner menu it often fills our ravioli or tortellini. Currently we are using Salvatore Bklyn ricotta inside of a ravioli that we top with roasted parsnips, sautéed radicchio, black trumpets, and crispy pancetta. And we will be featuring the ricotta in a ravioli on our Valentine’s prix fixe with candy striped beets, fried shallots, and aged Balsamic vinegar.