I live in Manhattan, and those who dwell here consider it to be the center of the universe, where the best of the best is readily available, including cheese. Little did I realize that I was about to be schooled in the ways of the mutz by a bunch of Italian American delis just across the river in New Jersey.
“Mutz” – that’s mozzarella to you and me. But in Hoboken they call it “mutz” and it was the focus of a boisterous celebration and competition at the Elk’s Club on Sunday January 26, organized by the Hoboken Family Alliance to benefit several local charities.
Over 800 people turned out to sample the mutz making expertise of six of Hoboken’s finest Italian delis.
M&P Biancamano, Losurdo Brother’s Deli, Vito’s Deli, Fran’s Deli, Gigi’s Rosticeria and Littletown, NJ presented abundant samples of their mutz to those lucky enough to attend and eat. And eat. And eat.
There was mutz on a sandwich, mutz with dried meats, mutz with jalapenos, mutz with olives and even mutz dipped in a chocolate fountain (yes indeed and not bad). Mutz quality ranged from excellent to absolutely divine.
The event was sponsored by Polly-O, which supplied the raw curds. Yes, Polly-O of the supermarket cheese fame. Apparently they have some of the finest raw curd in the region for mutz making. Who knew?
Delis competed for the People’s Choice award as well as the Critic’s Choice award. Attendees were given a voting card and token and were instructed to cast their ballot after completing the tour of the mutz.
* M&P Biancamano - won best mutz in the People’s Choice category as well as best sandwich in the Critic’s Choice category.
* Vito’s Deli – best mutz in the Critic’s Choice category.
But there were two legendary Hoboken delis that did not compete – Fiore's House Of Quality and Lisa’s. Fiore’s, in particular, is famous for a gigantic roast beef, brown gravy and mutz sandwich reportedly so good that it makes people willing to stand on line in the rain just to have it.
I may have to cross the river again just to find out.
Hoboken Mutzfest: www.mutzfest.com