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The Art and Tradition of Calabrian Salumi

am the director of a cooking school in Italy and what I don’t know about making Salumi could fill a book...or two.

Part of the reason I created the school is so I too could learn to cook like a Calabrian. Plus, I love Calabrian cured meats. What’s not to like? The textures, the spice, the artisanal process...its all wonderful. But, I’m in the US. I can’t get anything close to the real thing. Calabrians pull no punches when it comes to spice, for example. American producers of equivalent products always do.I either learn ways to make it myself, fly to Italy 3 times a year or go without. I’m not planning on going without...for long.

Then, of course, it’s what the animal eats that flavors the meat. I was lucky enough to visit the farm/land preserve that our January Salumi classes will take place. The famous Maile Nero of Calabria are fed chestnuts, walnuts and whatever fresh fruits are grown on the property. The hills are covered with chestnut trees. They, of course, find their way into the cuisine, one way or another.

Everything I’ve ever read about Calabrian cooking always refers to the Calabrian tradition of preserving nature’s bounty. Fish gets salted, meat gets dried, tomatoes become jars of sauce, fruit becomes jellies, but, so do peppers and onions.Salumi is just another rendition of this theme. It’s been written that a family could be fed for a year on one pig. My friend, Alessandro C. said “10 kids, two pigs”. How you make AND how to serve it will be part of our curriculum.

Italians call “Charcuterie” “Taglieri”, which means “cutting boards”. On these boards, the array of cheeses, meats, olives and various jams/jellies to go with which cheese, is quite literally a taste bud extravaganza. Then, of course, there’s the bread. What’s missing? Well, besides a glass of Maliocco, YOU.

Sign Up NOW! Its a once in a lifetime oppertunity to learn Salumni from a Calabrian master.


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