Tag: prosciuttifortutti


CESARE CASELLA – OLD WORLD MEETS NEW, PART 2: THE LEGEND OF THE NORCINI

News of the Heritage Foods partnership with master curemaster, chef, educator, and guru Cesare Casella has spread like wildfire — Cesare is a leader in the new movement for Heritage American charcuterie, and no one is more excited than, well, Cesare!

“The lardo, the rosemary, the juniper berries, the curing salts, those smells are inside my head,” says Cesare. “They are part of me. It’s like being an alchemist. The norcino salumiere transforms the butchers’ meat into something traditional and beautiful. That is what I want to do. And for me, it’s family. Tending the salumi as they age is like caring for my pets as they grow up and mature. They become my best friends!”

The tradition of the norcini started in the town of Norcia in Umbria, high in the Apennines, a place famous for its cured meats. Farming conditions were poor in the mountains, so Norcians ate what they had plenty of, which was the cinghiale, or wild boar, that roamed the forests. They also raised their own pigs, then cured the meats so it would keep for long periods, an art that evolved over the centuries. In time, the norcini became so expert, their art was recognized both by the state and by the Catholic Church. After the trade group, the Confraternita Norcina was founded in 1615, it received the blessing of Pope Paul V. The norcini were considered so skilled, they were allowed to practice surgery, dentistry and bone setting.

The original norcini typically traveled in pairs. There was the butcher who cut up the meat and broke it down, and the salumiere, who turned that meat into salumi. Together, the norcini made the salumi for every season, from fresh sausage for the next day, to prosciutto for the following year. Each duo had its own routes and loyal farmers that it serviced year again and again, and as the men crisscrossed Italy, they carried with them the secret recipes and processes for creating prosciutto and salumi. There were generations of norcini who passed along their secrets to their apprentices who in turn cared for the same family farms decade after decade.

After World War II, as pig farming became industrialized, the norcini began to fade from the Italian countryside, and the visits made to the Casella family and Vipore grew more and more rare. Eventually Cesare took on some of the butchering and salumi-making and also worked with local butchers to get the flavors he wanted for Vipore. His platters of cacciatorini, finocchiona and sopressata became one of the restaurant’s trademarks.

The tradition of the norcini and the flavors and smells of salumi-making in the Italian countryside are what Cesare is drawing on with Casalla’s Salumi Speciali. He is working with farmers dedicated to raising pork as the Norcians did for centuries. Their pigs, he likes to say, are happy pigs. They roam pastures freely. They run around and they roll in the mud. They loll. They’re not dosed with antibiotics. When Cesare makes prosciutto, he cures it on the bone, just as the Norcians did, for that deep, authentic nutty flavor. Just like the norcini, Cesare has his own special recipe for the spices to make his salami and prosciutti.

Cesare Casella

CESARE CASELLA – OLD WORLD MEETS NEW, PART 1

One of the most exciting things happening here at Heritage in the New Year is our newly-forged relationship with Cesare Casella, master Michelin-starred chef, the Dean of Italian Studies at the International Culinary Center and celebrated restaurateur….

On the Road with Cesare Casella —  #ProsciuttiForTutti Tour Goes to LaLaLand!!!

Following our perfectly insane foray into San Francisco armed with Cesare Casella’s new line of amazing prosciutti, we returned to the left coast to introduce these Italian-style cured hams to Los Angeles’ best chefs and culinary luminati.

These are truly the very best heritage hams, prepared naturally in a traditional style – cured in only salt, and (unlike American-style hams) never smoked. Casella’s hams are always cured on the bone for extra flavor.

So what do we do when a product is this good? We share it!

We visited our Los Angeles distributor Premier Meats where Patrick wowed the sales reps with Tales of Carnivorous Adventurous and rare-breed preservation (“you have to eat them to save them”) and we hosted a rare breed tasting of porterhouse pork chops, country ribs, and of course Cesare’s finest prosciutti and salami. Special shout outs to Harry, Udi, Omer, Martha and Stacey at Premier, truly an A-Team! Thanks guys!

We spent three days eating, visiting, tasting, and making friends.

Our first night kicked off with a special event at chi Spacca, Nancy Silverton’s meat mecca of the Mozza group — a celebration of all things Heritage Foods. Cesare sliced his prosciutto and cooked an entire course of braised ribs, and superstar Chef Ryan Denicola blew our minds with his presentations of our Silver Fox rabbit and Tunis and Dorset Horn lamb.

We met with old friends and new friends — Neal Fraser at Redbird, Mary Sue Milliken at Border Grill; the amazing Akasha Richmond at AR Cucina; Jon and Vinny of Animal; Chef Steve Samson of Sotto and the forthcoming RossoBlu. We had breakfast at Sqirl with Chef Jessica and Javier; snacks with Chef Javier at Lucques and later cured meats with Alex at Gwen’s gorgeous butcher shop. We can’t forget the famous Papi Chulo (Roy Choi) and Chef Diego at Commissary at The Line Hotel and then somehow we made it to Gjusta for pizza before dinner in Santa Monica at Cassia. And along the way we snuck in drive-bys at Here’s Looking at You, where Red Wattle bellies rule the roost, and the Tasting Kitchen, whose pork rillettes was one of the most memorable flavors of an astonishing, decadent trip.
Did you miss us in LA? Want to taste Cesare’s prosciutto for yourself? We are going to be in Las Vegas in April!

Come eat with us on Saturday, April 1st when Carnevino hosts its first guest chef dinner with Cesare Casella. A one-night only twist on signature dishes featuring three Heritage breeds of pig. Tickets are available at https://cesarecasella.splashthat.com/.

 

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