The Breukelen Life

The Breukelen Life

Food, Yoga and Travel in Brooklyn

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Sausage and Cute Boys

February 21, 2011 , , , , ,

On Saturday I went to Salumi!, my first Slow Food event and I had so much fun. No, seriously, it was great! Held at Biricchino, a Northern Italian restaurant off of 29th street and 8th Ave, the event featured a salumi (artisan cured meats) buffet with a special talk by the owners of Salumeria Biellese (and Biricchino).

I’ve been going to Biricchino’s off and on for a few years now. I could count the number of times I’ve been there on one hand, but lets face it, in New York where you could eat at a different place 3 times a day for the rest of your life and never hit the same place twice, that’s a lot. They’re best known for their cured meats. When I took my parents there, the antipasta salad was scarfed down in a matter of seconds. This was two years ago and my father still talks about their prosciutto and capicola like it was yesterday.

Like a lot of things in life, I didn’t put two and two together and realize that Biricchino was the same people as Salumeria Biellese until I got the Tasting Table newsletter about this event. I figured why not. There IS a Salumi buffet after all.

The talk itself was pretty interesting. Salumeria Biellese has been around since 1925. The company has been in two families since the beginning in the Province of Biella. When they first started in America in 1925, their handcrafted sausages were cured in the basement of Salumeria Biellese, then off of 28th street. While yes, the thought of some meat hanging for months, in a basement of 28th street is a bit unsettling, it was the best place for it. The basement had a cave atmosphere, perfect for curing, the right temperature and the right humidity.

Unfortunately the FDA thought the same thing and has been trying to put a stop to their methods for decades now. Biellese’s methods are simple – essentially salt, meat and time. There are no added chemicals and they use 100% Berkshire Hogs. This gives the meat a natural hue. Combined with the family’s heirloom spice mixes, will you die of happiness upon eating the Lomo.

Lomo!

Too bad the FDA thought you would just die. The family spent a good deal of time fighting the FDA, proving that their natural methods were safer than those of larger cured meat facilities. Turns out the larger companies actually disinfect the meats, spraying them down with something that resembles the natural healthy mold a sausage should have. This method also allows the larger companies to make cured meat in 1 week instead of 3 months like Salumeria Biellese. Umm yum?

Over time, Salumeria Biellese had to move to New Jersey for more space but their methods have remained the same thanks to fighting the good fight. And now, with artisan everything being all the rage, they are constantly out of products and trying to increase inventory. Perfection takes time, and I am glad that this is one company not willing to cut corners.

For some interesting press on Salumeria Biellese, click here.

A small note on Slow Food – I’m considering becoming a member. Any thoughts? The crowd on Saturday was kind of great. Young and mainly interesting. The cute chef I spent the afternoon talking to helped but besides that, I think it could be a good thing. Please share your experiences in the comments.

(All meat photos were taken from Salumeria Biellese website.)

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