Get to Know Angelo & Franco: The Mozzarella Guys

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Cheese Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, some of the best food is found in the unlikeliest settings. Strip mall sushi joints are well documented, but what about business park mozzarella makers? That’s got to be a first. Of course, the story of Angelo & Franco – The Mozzarella Guys – isn’t worth telling just due to their unique location. The Italian natives started producing stellar mozzarella and ricotta in the shadow of Jack Northrop Field on April 15, and they’re already making inroads and pleasing palates.

Angelo Tartaglia and Franco Russo (standing in front of their mixer) met in the Southern Italian town of Bagnoli Irpino. Franco’s family has been producing mozzarella for 75 years, and his grandfather started to teach him how to make cheese beginning at age four. Angelo spurred the friends’ move to the States. He knew that Franco’s family was producing some of the best mozzarella in Italy, and after conducting market research in Los Angeles, they were convinced the cheese would make an even bigger splash in California.

Angelo & Franco’s mozzarella production takes five hours, including pasteurization, stretching, molding and packaging. Angelo said that lesser mozzarella makers buy mozzarella curd instead of fresh milk, meaning it’s unclear when the curd was produced. Franco selected milk from Artesia’s California Dairies, deeming it the best for their purposes. Even though their mozzarella isn’t handmade, Angelo clarified that technology provides precise quality control and a “mix of tradition and innovation.”

Cheese Los Angeles
After the tour, Angelo invited me and Lesley Balla – who happened to be there – to taste their cheese. Angelo & Franco’s mozzarella was milky and sweet and not rubbery in the least. The slices were lightly salted and snow white.

Cheese Los Angeles
Angelo & Franco’s ricotta was so creamy it practically melted in my mouth. The cheese was sensational on its own, and slathered on crostini, would have been even better.

Their mozzarella is vacuum-sealed with filtered water to produce a 30-day shelf life. Ricotta lasts two weeks. If you want your cheese to have staying power, make sure your fridge is spotless; otherwise bacteria will form.

Angelo & Franco plan to stick with mozzarella and ricotta, but next year, the duo hopes to add a tasting bar. Angelo’s vision: “Come, buy, taste, drink and then see the factory.”

Angelo & Franco have been producing cheese for less than a month, but they’ve already made inroads in the L.A. market. Their mozzarella and ricotta is currently available at The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, Monsieur Marcel, The Curious Palate, Joan’s on Third and Bay Cities Deli. Angelo mentioned several other possibilities. As soon as the prospective buyers taste their cheese, it should be a done deal.

Address: 3441 Jack Northrop Avenue, Hawthorne, CA 90250

Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

Best Ricotta ever come to Valencia four pounds Italian stores or Costco. Please.

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The Angelo & Franco cheeses are incredible!!! Hands down the best ricotta, EVER! And the mozza… when it’s just made is the most tender thing ever and as it ages is firms up slightly, excellent for cooking with.
Angelo would love for his cheese to be at Trader Joe’s, but I doubt the Trader Joe’s crowd will pay the prices he will charge.
Instead, look for their mozzarella at Whole Foods, Angelo tells me it will be there soon, under a different label – Mateo. Mateo is Franco’s family name… and he’s the third generation cheese maker.
By the way, I sell both their Ricotta and Mozzarella at the Pacific Palisades Farmer’s Market on Sundays… stop by our cheesy booth for a taste!

The Best!!! My father says, “these guys are going to go far”. Why…..My Sicilian parents are experts in Ricotta.
Meaning, a staple food in the house. And of course for the
handmade desserts they have always made, CANNOLI!!! Yes but
only for Christmas. I was glad, I sat at the table and watched how these were made. Dad stressed we learn this way.
I did, and have taken over the role as the CANNOLI maker in
our family. But only at Christmas. Do you know what it takes
to make your own shellls and filling? They are a great way
to share with company. Thanks Angelo and Franco. Contact me
on how to buy Ricotta by 4lb. containers.I will ck Trader
Joes today.
Caio, Marie Clouser

How do you feel about Trader Joes? Lots of branches and lots more of us could taste the cheese?

Angelo and Franco are great. I was lucky enough to go to their opening celebrations. I look forward to seeing their product in the marketplace soon. These guys make THE BEST mozzarella and ricotta in the USA.

Hopefully they’ll source to somewhere on the Eastside. Any suggested places? Cheese Store of Silver Lake and Say Cheese are good options.

If Angelo & Franco expand coverage to the Eastside, it would be good to see them at the Cheese Store and Say Cheese. It’s not on the Eastside, but the only place that might not need their mozzarella is Andrew’s Cheese Shop. Andrew Steiner is a dedicated mozzarella maker and his product is also very good.

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