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Kirk's Traveling Kitchen News and Blog


A Salami to End All Salami.

Always on the look out for new food products, I had the pleasure this week to try some salami from Paul Bertolli's new company Fra'Mani out of Oakland, California. WOW...if you're a cured meat connoisseur read no further, log onto Fra'Mani's website (www.framani.com) and order some of their amazing sausage (do it quick because as a new company making a handcrafted product the availability fluctuates). For those of you who can wait until after lunch, here's a little more info. Bertolli is the former chef/owner of Oliveto Restaurant in Oakland and a longtime advocate for traditional Italian foods. His great cookbook "Cooking by Hand" documents his methods for making real balsamic vinegar, prosciutto, pastas and of course salumi. His new company, which released its first cured meat in March, is a labor-of-love for Bertolli and has been in the works for almost four-years. Coupling a state-of-the-art facility with traditional methodology, Fra'Mani if positioned to become the premier producer of world-class salami in this country. If their Salume Gentile is any indication, they may already be the premier producer. It is without a doubt the best of its kind I've ever had (that includes Salume I've eaten in Italy), meaty but subtle, with an almost buttery consistency, and not at all leathery or too salty. The purveyor I bought it from thanked me for taking some of it off his hands; not because he couldn't move it, but rather because he couldn't stop eating it. For those of you reading this in St. Louis who don't necessarily want to purchase a 3# stick of salame right from the source, check with Simon at the Wine Merchant in Clayton. I'm sure he's either carrying Fra'Mani sausage or will be happy to get some in for you. For those of you who think it's a little weird for someone to be this excited about a piece of meat, you need to know that years ago when I was a wayward vegetarian visiting France, my siren's song was a hunk of saucisson sec at a market in Aix-en-Provence. As a vegetarian I never had a chance, and it has been a meaty ride ever since.