Margaret Cicogna is one of the United States’ leading authorities on Italian cheese. “People call me the Cheese Lady,” she told Cheese Connoisseur over coffee in New York City. “But I do a lot more than cheese. I went to school. I have a family.” Still, Cicogna’s deep knowledge and passion for cheese, and close relationships with the producers she’s worked with over many decades, have more than earned her the title.
As guests stroll into the dining room of Osteria del Principe on Manhattan’s East 23rd Street, one of the first sights to greet them is a large glass display case built into the counter of the restaurant’s gleaming exhibition kitchen. The cabinet prominently exhibits a cornucopia of salumi, or cured Italian meats — prosciutto di Parma, speck, mortadella, bresaola, and, not least of all, aged prosciutto di San Daniele.