M&P Biancamano won the coveted title of “best mutz” at the first “Mutz Fest” competition held in Hoboken last Sunday. Meanwhile, Vito’s Deli won a special award for “best sandwich.”
The Italian delis in the mile-square city are known nationwide for their fresh, homemade mozzarella cheese, so the Hoboken Family Alliance decided to hold a contest for the best.
Folks from as far away as Westchester and even Virginia came to the Elks Lodge to try some fresh mozzarella. A line accumulated on Washington Street. Approximately 400 tickets were sold, and according to HFA Director Steve Walkowiak, the group could have sold close to another 1,000.
“When the event started getting picked up in the media,” said Walkowiak, “ticket sales increased dramatically. There are also a lot of people asking at the door today. This is a much bigger turnout than we expected. A lot of these delis have loyal customers.”
“I eat a lot of mutz. I’ve even eaten mutz in Naples, Italy.” – Cathy Thorpe
All in all, about $5,000 was collected from ticket sales. According to Hoboken Family Alliance director Theresa Howard, the money will be put toward the Rebuild Hoboken Fund, The Elks Sandy Fund, and the Hoboken Family Alliance for both a Special Olympics donation and to help HFA host their third annual Lose the Training Wheels Bike Camp for individuals with disabilities this summer.
Competing this year were Fran’s Deli, 202 Hudson St., Losurdo Brothers Bakery, 410 Second St. , Lisa’s Deli, 901 Park Ave., Vito’s Deli, 806 Washington St., and M&P Biancamano at 1116 Washington St.
As to why famed mozzarella maker Fiore’s Deli didn’t compete, Walkowiak said they had committed to a family birthday party arranged earlier. Walkowiak also said other places in town turned down the competition due to family obligations because “Sunday is often family day.”
In order to vote, attendees received different colored tickets that they traded in for mutz samples. Samples were passed out plain, on Italian bread, drizzled in balsamic vinegar, and with roasted peppers, eggplant, or other deli meats.
The event also featured a full bar, a cannoli eating contest, and a DJ in the “Fugetaboutit Lounge.”
In addition to the people’s “popular vote,” there was a panel of three judges who conducted a blind taste test and awarded points. The people’s choice takes home the trophy until next year, and the critics’ choice awards take a home a plaque.
The judges also wanted to create a separate critics’ choice award for best sandwich. While M&P Biancamano won the people’s and critics’ choice for best mutz, Vito’s Deli won the critic’s choice for best sandwich.
Came from Nutley
Cathy Thorpe of Nutley said she voted for Lisa’s Deli, but that they were all excellent.
“If I had to eat one stand alone, it would be Lisa’s,” said Thorpe. “It was not too buttery, not too salty. I eat a lot of mutz. I have even eaten mutz in Naples, Italy.”
Walkowiak said the Hoboken Family Alliance will be working to see how they can better accommodate higher ticket sales for next year, perhaps by making it a multi-day event.
The Hoboken Family Alliance is dedicated to supporting families and the Hoboken local community. To find out more visit http://hobokenfamily.com.
Amanda Palasciano may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.