2023 Hall of Fame award winner

Giuseppe & Salvatore Salzarulo

Lioni Latticini Inc
Hall of Fame

The Lioni Latticini Mozzarella Co. has been a pioneer in bringing high-quality, authentic Italian mozzarella and mozzarella di bufala cheese to the U.S. marketplace under the leadership of Giuseppe and Salvatore Salzarulo.

Giuseppe Salzarulo, now age 75, was the first generation of his family to come to the U.S. from Italy in 1966. He started making mozzarella from his garage in Brooklyn in the late 1970s and was joined by his nephew, Salvatore, now 74, who came to the U.S. from Italy in 1980.

Their business expanded first to a small store, then a deli, and they soon began supplying small supermarkets with their traditional Italian mozzarella cheese. Sticking to their family’s Old World traditions of craftsmanship and using only the freshest, highest-quality ingredients, the company grew its distribution state by state, first to Pennsylvania, then to Florida, then to Texas, “then to all over the country,” says Giuseppe.

“Now we are in 43 states, and we never advertised anything,” he says. “We did it only by word of mouth.”

While the reputation of the company’s authentic Italian mozzarella cheeses spread quickly among cheese lovers across the country, in recent years Lioni Latticini has also gained widespread notoriety through a series of awards in international competitions.

Those awards include a 2022 SFA sofi Best New Product Award in the Cow’s Milk Cheese category for Lioni Latticini’s Stracciatella Panna Di Latte, which the company describes as a “decadent combination of shreds of fresh mozzarella cheese and authentic Italian cream.” The cheese also won first place in the 2022 American Cheese Society Competition and a Bronze prize at the 2022 World Cheese Awards in Wales.

The Stracciatella Panna Di Latte joins a half dozen other cheeses from the company that has won awards in recent years, including its Burrata Con Tartufo, Bufala Fresca, Bocconcini, Ciliegine, Ovoline, and Burrata Con Panna varieties.

The company was the first to make mozzarella di bufala—mozzarella made from the Mediterranean domestic water buffalo — in the U.S., and it has become the largest importer of 100% grass-fed buffalo milk from the family’s native Campania region in Italy.

Both fresh mozzarella and mozzarella di bufala are made using a process called pasta filata, in which curd is made using warm milk and then kneaded into shapes.

“We still make out own curd, years later,” says Giuseppe.

Although the Salzarulos were new to the cheese business in the U.S., their family began its tradition in the dairy business in the town of Lioni, Italy, more than 100 years ago. Giuseppe is the fourth generation of his family in the business.

He and his nephew took on separate roles at the company, with Giuseppe Salzarulo overseeing sales and Salvatore Salzarulo overseeing production.

After operating from a 15,000-square-foot space in Brooklyn for years, in 2001 the company opened a facility measuring 100,000 square feet in Union, New Jersey. The company now employs more than 100 people, and Its diverse product line includes hand-wrapped mozzarella, hand wrapped smoked mozzarella, dry mozzarella, and a variety of sizes and marinated blends of fresh mozzarella.

After more than four decades in business, the two continue to come to work every day, overseeing the production and distribution of their artisanal products.

“We still continue in the same roles, and we do everything the old-fashioned way,” says Giuseppe. “We make sure everything is good before we send it to the customer.”