Get a Fresh Taste of Italy at Mozz, Newport’s Newest Cheese Shop
Elements of France, Bulgaria and Spain can also be found at Mozz, as well as local New England cheeses.
While we’re all sad that the Newport Creamery location in Newport has left, a new dairy-centric eatery has taken the ice cream shop’s place in the Bellevue Gardens Shopping Center. Mozz Newport is a specialty cheese shop owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Luca and Christina Mignogna.
Mozz officially opened on June 11, and the cheese experts have been extremely busy ever since, making burrata, scamorza and mozzarella, of course. Very soon they plan to add caciocavallo (very similar to the scamorza) and buffalo mozzarella (no hot sauce involved here, just the milk of Mediterranean water buffalo).
That’s just the cheese being made in-house – the shop stocks a wide variety of local and imported cheese of the best quality, including products visitors won’t be able to find in grocery stores.
“One of the collections I’ve found that’s really unique, they specifically go to find small producers in Spain and Italy of awesome cheeses that you just can’t get over here,” says Christina. “They only import a certain amount but they know that it’s all going to be sold because it’s the best.”
It’s this attention to detail and commitment to quality that sets Mozz apart. Not only can visitors walk in and start a conversation with any of the staff about flavors and pairings, but in the fall, Mozz will begin offering a cheesemaking class, taught by Luca Mignogna himself, to turn milk into Primo Sale – a fresh farmer’s cheese. Guests can then take home the cheese and eat it the same day. Luca plans to expand classes to include more advanced cheesemaking (mozzarella does take six to twelve hours, after all), pasta making and a wine and cheese pairing class.
In August the duo will introduce their aperitivo bar. It’s BYOB and guests can snack on provided charcuterie boards and watch the masters stretch fresh mozz that they get to try. Stay in the shop for a while and have a bite to eat; Mozz serves sandwiches, artisanal pasta and pinsas (a soy, rice and wheat flour-based pizza) made with dough shipped straight from Molise, Italy. Settle down for a rich cappuccino too; the coffee is imported from the region in Italy where Luca grew up, now brought to the U.S. for the first time. There is no menu since everything is made fresh with whatever ingredients are available that day. However, there is always a sandwich, pasta or salad of the day as well as a vegetarian option.
Everything found in this shop is highly curated. When asked about how this location is different from their previous operation in Wolf Meadow Farm in Massachusetts, Christina stated they were “focused on making and selling our own cheese, we weren’t doing any sort of prepared foods. The main goal is that we’re focusing the same quality we’ve brought to our cheesemaking, demanding that of the other products we’re offering as well.”
The pair hopes to replicate the feeling of an open-air Italian market with a space that is comfortable and part of the surrounding community. If you are having a picnic, want to impress the in-laws or have a wine you want to pair some cheese with, you will get some stellar recommendations. It may take a bit to not be intimidated by the variety of cheeses and lack of labels, but that’s what the staff is there for.
“We’ve blossomed out of Covid. Let’s get back to the pleasure of connecting, talking about cheese and enjoying cheese. It can be overwhelming because there’s a lot of stuff and no menus anywhere. Talk to us because that’s what we do,” says Christina. “We’re your local cheese makers and cheese advocates, we’ll talk to you about how the cows only graze on this and the gentleman who makes the fontina cheese makes it with his brother’s cows. We’re inviting people to come have that experience with us.”
Mozz Newport is open Wednesday through Monday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. 181 Bellevue Ave., Newport, 401-324-7065, mozznewport.com