Italian gourmand market Agata & Valentina has been referred to as “New York’s unique Eataly.” However its celebrated pasta, pizza, breads and ready dishes remained largely off-limits to gluten-intolerant victims of celiac illness because the retailer opened in 1993.
Its Sicilian-inspired merchandise are in demand for social gatherings and household dinners far past its Higher East Aspect neighborhood. However ever since co-owner and founder Agata Musco’s daughter, Valentina, developed the harmful celiac situation greater than 10 years in the past, Agata and her husband, Joe Musco, lengthy needed to adapt their common eats for gluten-averse gourmets.
The Muscos and Valentina Musco Puleo — who’s now a vice chairman on the firm — with their companion Louis Balducci — lately launched Agata & Valentina Gluten-Free at 1513 First Ave., on the north facet of E. 79th St. throughout from their bustling unique retailer at No. 1505.
The town now has many spots that cater to celiac victims, however Agata & Valentina’s is the primary to be launched by operators with such a excessive media profile and nationwide following. Choices uniquely embody not solely manufacturers bought elsewhere, however gluten-free variations of Agata & Valentina’s personal, well-regarded ready meals and baked items.
The Muscos personal the one-time financial institution constructing at 1513 First Ave. They most lately rented the bottom flooring to a vitamin store. However with the lease ending, they knew the time was proper.
About 85 % of merchandise within the good-looking, 2,000 square-foot market are 100% gluten-free. There are additionally vegan and dairy-free selections and a espresso bar on the entrance.
For years, Agata Musco mentioned, “It was behind my thoughts to create an Italian retailer the place folks can are available in with out concern of getting a abdomen ache or severely sick.
“As a toddler, my daughter would get very gravely sick” from gluten.
On the time, gluten-free merchandise that tasted good “had been very exhausting to seek out in New York,” Agata mentioned. People who had been accessible had been dangerous as a result of they might simply be contaminated within the kitchen by contact with strange flour.
However Agata, who doesn’t endure from celiac illness herself, was thrilled to seek out genuinely gluten-free edibles in her homeland of Catania, Italy, even “in the midst of nowhere.”
When the time got here to take the gluten-free plunge, the Muscos determined to make every thing within the new website’s kitchen to make sure purity.
They began to “experiment for just a few months with issues corresponding to croissants, scones, the issues we make for breakfast,” Musco mentioned. They later discovered methods to make wheat-free pizza, pasta and different dishes that style all however indistinguishable from the originals.
“We tried to re-create every thing we make in our unique retailer with out gluten whereas holding the identical taste. For instance, an everyday turkey meatball may have breadcrumbs and lots of cheese. In our new retailer, we use gluten-free panko breadcrumbs and sauteed onions, peppers and garlic.”
A best-seller on the unique A&V spaghetti involtini, is re-created with gluten-free spaghetti and tomato sauce, wrapped in baked eggplant and topped with ricotta salata and contemporary basil.
Most dishes seem like the originals, however what issues most, Agata mentioned, is that, “Most individuals are so stunned once they style them, they are saying, ‘That is actually gluten-free?’”
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