The Co-op is proud to announce the arrival of Fra’ Mani and Creminelli charcuteries! Co-op deli staff sought out the highest quality, artisan, handcrafted, additive-free meats for our shoppers, and we are excited to share them with you. Curious to learn more about what makes these two purveyors exceptional? Read on, and ask for a sample the next time you are in the deli.
Fra’ Mani, based in Berkeley, California, represents approximately a decade of artisanal, hand-packed, naturally cured meat. Started by slow-food chef Paul Bertolli, their mission is to “keep old world traditions alive…using ingredients of the highest quality from sustainable sources.” Their meat, chiefly pork, comes from family farmers committed to the well-being of their animals and their land. The animals are never given antibiotics, artificial growth hormones, growth-promoting agents, or meat by-products, and are raised on pasture or in deeply bedded pens.
Creminelli, the other main supplier of the Co-op’s new charcuterie assortment, is at least a fourth-generation family producer of Salumi. The current generation moved from Italy to Utah in 2007, bringing the company with them, and searched for a landscape and an heirloom breed of pig suitable for making their traditional recipes. Their Duroc-breed pigs are raised in open living conditions, with all-natural standards similar to Fra’ Mani’s.
Many artisan producers pride themselves on the “story” that goes with their food, and both Fra’ Mani and Creminelli’s websites put family origin and culinary vision front and center. However, any corporation can write a vague story to go with their product. What sets these producers apart is a verifiable commitment to specific animal welfare and sustainability practices. And, of course, by their insistence that what they do creates an especially delicious product.
The real test comes when a room full of professional meat eaters sits in a back room at the Co-op’s Cordata store passing around a plate of charcuterie. Andy Adams, a representative from Peterson (one of the Co-op’s distributors), was running the deli slicer and leading a training on the vocabulary and variety of Italian-style preserved meats.
Andy led the group quickly through the definitions: salumi is a general Italian term for salted, cured, meats including salami, mortadella, sopressata, lardo, porchetta, cotta, etc. The cuts of meat, spices added, and curing times vary, but all of them originated as ways of preserving meat before refrigeration. They have endured due to both their durability and their tastiness.
“One of the great things about salami calabrese is that, despite the Calabrian pepper flakes giving it some heat, you also taste the flavor of the heirloom pork. Unless a customer wants something different, slice it about as thin as a dime,” said Andy.
At this point, Andy pauses and looks around the room. Everyone is eating salami calabrese. No one is listening to him.
“Oh,” he said. “Should I slice some more of that and hand it around again?”
The Cordata deli launched the new line of charcuterie first, and customers have been wildly responsive. Additionally, the deli team has some blockbuster sandwich suggestions utilizing slices of the various offerings. Downtown, the deli remodel delayed the arrival of these new products, but some of the smaller salami is available in the specialty cheese case. If all goes as planned, the full assortment will also be available in the Downtown deli by early February—sliced to order, with descriptions and samples galore.
And, yes, it includes that salami calabrese that stops all conversation.