THESE really are exciting times for foodies in Tralee, especially with regard to the Ashe Street/Courthouse Lane quarter of Tralee.
It started this time last year with the opening of the excellent Il Forno Woodfired Pizza Restaurant, then Lana Asian Street Food opened and now there’s another delicious addition to the menu.
Italianissimo, at the site of the former Casket shop opposite the Courthouse, opens this Wednesday and there’s a very interesting story behind the arrival of two Sicilians to the street.
Angelo Nicosia and Giuseppe Andolina are cousins from the town of Scoglitti in the Ragusa region of Sicily. I called into the store on Saturday and met the two men who are looking forward to bringing something very different to the people of Tralee.
Angelo told me how he moved to New Jersey as a young man (and he retains that east coast accent), but he moved back home to Sicily around the time of the economic crash in the late noughties.
“I was back living in Sicily from the United States and I had a friend visiting – who is not Irish but lived in Tralee – and when he tasted all the food he couldn’t believe the different flavours and the recipes we have. He said I should come to Ireland and open a shop. And here we are!” said Angelo.
Angelo and Giuseppe searched around Kerry for a suitable location and decided their needs were best served in the premises in Ashe Street.
“Everything here comes from our region; the meats are imported from northern Italy and southern Sicily, the cheeses come from the region from where we grew up, same as the sundried tomatoes, olives, artichokes,” said Angelo.
They have delicious-looking artisan cakes and will bake their own bread daily. Having sampled some fresh, cheese-infused bread with sicilian olive oil, it looks like these guys are onto a winner.
With Chez Christophe, Il Forno, Italianissimo and Mozarts all within a stone’s throw of each other, maybe a mini Irish/Mediterranean food festival would be a good idea on the street in the future?