The selectmen designated it “Crucolo Day in Concord.” A man strolled down Walden Street crooning Italian songs. Students from Concord Academy danced on the sidewalk. Families flocked to the Milldam to hail the arrival of a 400-pound wheel of Crucolo cheese at the Concord Cheese Shop on Thursday.
Imported from a single area in Italy, Rifugio Crucolo, the cheese arrived by panel truck where Cheese Shop Owner Peter Lovis had cleared some parking spaces and lined the street with a red carpet. See photos and video here.
He and his staff slid the back door of the truck up and gently rolled the cheese down a ramp onto the street to great cheers from the crowd. Cameras flashed. A strolling singer belted out a tarantella. The crowd numbered at least 100. Lovis distributed Italian flags and parking meters were decked out with red, white and green balloons. The “Crucolo dancers” from Concord Academy shook tambourines and rocked Walden Street.
Importer Cesare Gallo and his son Francesco came up from Pennsylvania “to enjoy this wonderful day,” said Cesare. He worked with Accardi Importers of Massachusetts to bring the cheese to Concord. Cesare said he “discovered” Crucolo about 10 years ago in a small town, and arranged for its import to the U.S.
“One family owned a trattoria in Rifugio Crucolo where I first tasted it,” said Cesare. The “big cheese,” or Lovis’s wheel, is believed to be the largest in North America. It is the second year that Lovis has planned a celebration. Last year, it was rolled into his shop, but it got so crowded with onlookers and cheese lovers that he moved this year to the sidewalk outside his store.
Cheese Shop employees passed samples of Crucolo cut from the wheel once Lovis used a wire to halve the giant cheese, then cut it into successively smaller pieces to hand out. He also served cheese balls with “stick,” or a spicy ham inside.
Singer Alfredo Imeimbo added to the festive scene by singing spirited Italian favorites. You’d have sworn you were in an old Italian piazza. Lovis said last year the Crucolo sold out in two weeks.
Betsy Levinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.