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Distinti Salumi


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I made it this weekend to the Distinti Salumi festival in Cagli. Had I been more aware of its breadth, I would have posted an alert. In addition to the multitude of vendors, there were talks, exhibits, and related events. There were also four tasting rooms set up, one each for salumi interi, cotti, crudi and particolari. Great handouts and signage. It was just a really well done festival.

There was an unbelievable bounty. I took home lots of fat – a creamy lardo macellato from Lecce, herby pestàt from Fagagna in Friuli, and a beautiful piece of lardo di colonnata from, well, Colonnata (so now I know that Colonnata is a place, not a style -- I usually see it without the "di"; the vendor had a great book showing the traditional vessels used to make the lardo). Plus a nice hunk of guanciale from a local Cagli producer, lamb salame from Holland, and a spicy, chunky bad boy from Abruzzo.

Diverse selection of cheeses (mostly pecorino), too. I bought a piece of delicious pecorino trombaitolo, which the Puglian vendor had enticingly labelled the "viagra di una volta".

Also various grilled meats. I had some very slow-cooked cinta senese from a local farmer that was unbelievable: just about the opposite of porchetta, it was soft as butter and virtually unspiced.

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Berkel had a display of restored slicers from the early 1900s.

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And then there was the exhibit "Women and Pigs". If only the photographer would have found a way to include my other two food groups: cigarettes and gin . . . (glossy format made for fuzzy pix).

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Cagli's a picturesque town, and the surrounding countryside is beautiful. It's worth the trip. I'll try to remember to post a reminder for next year's fest.

Edited by cinghiale (log)
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Lardo di colonnata: Your standard "brick" style, meant to be sliced very thinly. The curing process is not unlike, say, guanciale. See here (unfortunately, no photos of the beautiful marble tubs).

Lardo macellato: I believe this is fresh lard, only lightly salted and spiced. I tried some at home on a cracker, and it overwhelmed the taste of the lard. Unsalted bread works best (apologies to the salted bread camp on this thread).

Pestàt: According to the information I picked up:

The excellent lard the comes from them is ground up and added to a mixture of carrots, celery, small pieces of onion, chopped sage, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, garlic and parsely.  Salt and pepper provide the finishing touch and then the mixture is stuffed into a natural casing and left to age in cool damp cellars.  The lard and the salt and pepper prevent the vegetables from fermenting and the gradual dehydration helps to preserve the mixture [and flavors] reach their peak after about one year.

See also this Slow Food page (in Italian).

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  • 11 months later...

2010 edition runs from 30 April to May 2. Distinti Salumi. Unfortunately, program info has not yet been posted on the site, only a note that it'll be available "soon". A bit annoying, since the start is less than 3 weeks away. For anyone who might happen to be the area, the festival's worth a visit.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Man, it's quite lonesome here on the Italy board these days.

This year's Distinti Salumi appeared to suffer from the crisi affecting most of the country. Significantly fewer purveyors made the trek, resulting in an experience less enthusiatic than as was reported last year. Still, several people I wanted to see were back – for readers of other boards, it was the NBC-ish producers that warmed my heart.

My companions opted to take in the sun while I scurried hither and yon, collecting my booty. New entries for me were a nice liver salame from Puglia, cinghiale (natch) salame from Norcia (the deer salame didn't do it for me), salame from a Tuscan purveyor of a local pig race whose name I promptly forgot, and a tasty pecorino, also from the Tuscan countryside.

But back again were the Pestat guys from Friuli, hipsters with big sunglasses and happy to talk about their product. I jumped up and down in a sychophantic way, and they got a kick out of having a happy repeat customer. Also there was the nice lady selling the lardo di Colonnata, but since I'm still working on my brick from last year, I passed.

I was sorry to see that the mid-Marche guy selling roast cinta senese wasn't there, since I was jonesing for that.

Kinda of a sad Slow Food event it was – there's just no money in food these days.

We all met up in the main square and had a drink. Kelly inspected the pestat, while Lele's not so sure about the whole business.

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Kelly went on to buy 3 kgs of Fiorentina from a Tuscan purveyor, intended for dinner that night. My sources tell me that it was "good".

Francesca bought me a beer, and we had a smoke.

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On to La Gioconda for a relaxing 2-hour lunch (non-DS report on the Marche roundup), offering a nice (though pricey [€ 32 pp]) tasting menu based on items on offer at Cagli.

First course was a selection of three pork products from free-range pigs (assuming my translation of stato brado is correct), surrounding a salad with cured beef. Man, the crudo offering with cinnamon and sugar was real nice. No photo, as I was hungry.

Next came "boiled shank" – bollito di stinco. I was wary, but it was very tasty – soft and flavorful.

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This was followed by grilled mortadella (for those into mortadella, it was "del presidio di 'Bonfatti'", but I'm no mortadella kenner), a toast with seasoned lardo, and a quiche featuring pancetta from the aforementioned local cinta senese. I bugged the server and had him bring us a plate of this pancetta simply crudo, and it was, as George Costanza would say, something to ensconce onesself in.

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Two pasta dishes followed, but they were beh. Fusilli with a "white" pork sauce

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Maltagliati of polenta with chickpeas and guanciale

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Then came the pata negra. I wrote about this on the aforementioned other post. They claim that it's the real deal. I can't say for sure, never having had it at the source, but it friggin' rocked. "Secreto di patanegra". Totally simple and absolutely wonderful. My dining mates were reaching their limt, and I gladly polished it off. Savory, soft, full flavor. Really, really good.

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Two bottles of very respectable Lacrima.

Marche's full of goodness, but the word has yet to get out, it seems.

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  • 1 month later...
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