In June and July the capital plays host to a mouth-watering campaign from Salumi Amo. This is a travelling display of delicious and authentic Italian cured meats which has finally made its way to our shores via a jaunt through Europe.
Attending the launch party in the delightfully appropriate surroundings of Italian Refettorio restaurant Blackfriars, my fellow patrons and I were treated to a display of some of the flagship Salumi Amo produce, delivered via the eminent hands of Francesco Mazzei and Michelin-starred chef Giorgio Locatelli.
Sipping my prosecco, I was teased with initial tasters of bresaola-wrapped rocket, prosciutto mini-breads and`posh’ pineapple and ham on a stick that were ushered around by the restaurant staff. These were very pleasant indeed, but I wanted to sample the meat as it was truly intended – flying solo.
On approaching the chef’s table, I ogled the large pig’s leg, huge slabs of sausage and the menacing slicing machines, while Giorgio explained just how lovingly aged, preserved and untampered their meats were. His enthusiasm was obvious, regaling us with a story of how he had spotted a variety of cow in Scotland that he was not familiar with, promptly instructing the farmer in question to send it his way after slaughter in order to experiment with a new source for the curing process.
Passion such as this is easy to understand once you have tried the meat in question: the taste was sublime, with the unaccompanied, thin slices offering a much more potent and engaging delivery of flavour and texture. Whether trying the classic prosciutto di San Daniele, the bresaola della Valtellina or the Mortadella di Bologna sausage, I had never tasted such depth from such a razor-thin slice.
Perhaps most surprising was the salame cacciatore, cut much thicker than the other meats (think chorizo), but with a softness that just melted in the mouth, akin to some kind of carnivorous Quaver. My opinion was shared by the other guests, as more and more people began to queue up in front of the swathes of salumi slices being laid bare on the chefs counter.
There is unlikely to be anyone who hasn’t tried cured meat at some stage, and packaged products are still very satisfying. However, the Salumi Amo campaign successfully demonstrates through passion and expertise that when done authentically and with great care, the Italian cured meats are truly exceptional. This kind of meat does not need to share the stage with other ingredients, that’s for sure.
Eager samplers can catch the Salumi Amo gang in action by attending one of the several aperitivo sessions held throughout London in June/July (listed below), or by visiting the daily tastings at Partridge’s delicatessen.
2-5 Duke Of York Square
Tel: 020 7730 0651