One of our favorite sources for balsamic vinegar, olive oil, artisan bread, farmhouse cheeses, and many other wonderful things to cook with has gone online. Zingerman’s started out as a corner deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 17 years ago and has developed an informed, fun-to-read catalog of only top-quality traditionally made foods.
Now the look, the hard-to-resist attitude, and the products can all be found at www.zingermans.com. Try clicking on “edible add-ables,” where you’ll find “stuff your pantry would be naked without,” including two of our favorite imported Italian pastas, Rustichella and Martelli brands (spaghetti, fettuccine, maccheroni, and penne are all $5 to $6 per pound). Made from hard durum wheat and extruded through old-fashioned bronze dies, these pastas have a nice hearty flavor and a firm but slightly rough texture that helps sauces cling. They also stand up well in baked pasta recipes. Zingerman’s usual method of shipping is FedEx two-day because many of its offerings are perishable; ask about shipping nonperishables by post, which is less costly.