Many years ago I packed a bag and moved to Italy. It seemed like a romantic idea at the time, and in the weeks before I left I daydreamed about wearing red lipstick, impossibly high heels and wonderful flowy dresses everywhere. I dreamed about sunflowers, wine, pasta, pesto and fresh curd cheeses, and somewhere in there I probably also gave thought to Italian men.
And so I moved to Torino, into the apartment of a local family – and promtly assumed the care of their two boisterous (a generous understatement) children. And quite quickly I realised that life was the same in Torino as it was in most places I’d been; and that walking on cobblestone streets with high heels on was simply absurd.Yes I was in Italy, but I just hadn’t found what I was looking for yet…
As time went on though I discovered that Torino – despite its lack of charm, does a few things incredibly well: coffee, industrious manufacturing and salumi.
Salumi (different to Salami) is the Italian equivalent to Charcuterie, which is essentially the processes used to preserve various meat products, mainly pork. In Torino, a generous board of thinly sliced proscuitto, salami, rolled pancetta & coppacola was a mainstay of the aperitif menus around town and to be blunt: I was hooked.
Now let me assure you, I am not in any way Italian and am certainly not an expert in the art of preserving meat. I am however, the daughter of a man who loves his salami, and after my adventures in Torino, I was inspired! Dad started making salami about four years ago, and well…once you start things tend to get out hand.
Last year I wanted to up the ante a little and try my hand at proscuitto (leg), coppa (roled shoulder muscles) and pancetta (belly). With a couple of friends, we go ourselves a pig and with the book in one hand, and the knife in the other – gave the world of charcuterie a very solid nudge.
Cut to winter 2012, and things have definitely got out of hand! This year my good friends Rowly and Sally (from Scion Vineyard) and I decided to host a mini salami fest for our close friends. We bought three pigs, invited 17 people, and purchased an absolute s***eload of salt. Two days, a few bandaids, and many beers later – this is what we ended up with! 274 Salami’s and 2 legs of proscuitto!
In three months the mould will be gone, the salami’s cured – and I will be slicing it up for the public at any tastings we do.
Now we just have to wait!