Friday, August 19, 2011

Passionately Pursuing Provisions – Part II

Yesterday found us at Liberty Heights Market stocking up on specialty food items. Today, we round out the meal with meats from Tony Caputo’s Market in downtown Salt Lake City. We had visited this combination café and market during our earlier stop in Salt Lake City (see our blog on 7/7/10) and were eager to return and shop for Italian deli items. But first, a bite for lunch.

The café at Caputo’s is a casual order-at-the-counter place with a lunch menu that consists mainly of sandwiches and salads. Fine with us.

Chuck ordered The Caputo—prosciutto, mortadella, salami, provolone, lettuce, tomato, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar on a soft
“hoagie” roll. He paired this with a small order of potato salad made with potatoes (that goes without saying), plenty of egg, and celery in a mayo dressing.

After considering the Roasted Peppers on Focaccia (roasted red peppers, arugula, manchego cheese, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar) and the Salmon (poached salmon, lettuce, tomato, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar), I finally settled on the The Soprano with capocollo, cacio di Roma cheese, roasted pepper spread, lettuce, tomato, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. My side was the pesto pasta salad with tri-color tortellini, fusilli, carrots, spinach, and tomato.

Both were very good sandwiches, but no match for Andreoli in Scottsdale, AZ. We can’t fault the quality of the components, but in the café at least, they slice the meats and cheeses thicker than we like.

But now it’s time to go shopping for deli meats. In last year’s blog, we talked at length about Caputo’s market, their products and their numerous awards including Outstanding Retailer of 2009 by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade.

My first stop was at the salami (salumi to Italians) case for some of their Creminelli wild boar sausage. I may have come late to this party, but as recent as five years ago I didn’t realize that there was a budding cottage industry in artisan salami making. Most famous of these salumists are Armandino Batali of Salumi in Seattle (he is the father of the Food Network’s Iron Chef Mario Batali) and Chris Cosentino (another Food Network star) of Boccaloni in San Francisco’s Ferry Building. But to these need to be added the Caputo’s salumist—Cristiano Creminelli.

“…Cristiano comes from a long line of Italian salami artisans, dating back to the 1600's. He moved to America with a vision to provide Americans with an authentic Italian experience. After searching all over the New York area for the perfect pig farm from which to produce his varieties, he realized that it might be harder than he thought to find a farm raising pigs the traditional Italian way. Finally, he found just what he was looking for in the most unlikely place, Utah. And that is where we, as Utahans, get lucky. The only salami crafter making salami in vintage Italian fashion is in our neighborhood. Once he found his farm, the obstacles didn't stop there, he still had to battle with the FDA in order to produce the salami in the way he knew to be the best way. He finally gained the acceptance of the FDA and is now the only provider of true Italian Salami to America” (

“… Creminelli stays true to the standards of his family’s legendary Salumificio Vigliano in the Piedmont town of Biella. This is maintained at every level of production even down to the herbs, truffles, and other ingredients that come from authentic, ideally sustainable, agriculturally responsible sources. Vegetable extracts, not artificial nitrates, are used to cultivate the flavors and highly appealing appearance of his cured products. His handcrafted artisan salamis incorporate natural beef casings and his most recent additions of Milano and Calabrese salamis are cured in collagen casings from organic material that has been reformed for size and shape consistency” (

Last year, I bought a stick of the Creminelli Wild Boar Salami. This year it was two sticks. Wild Boar salami is a mixture of wild boar and pork, seasoned with cloves and juniper berries. Creminelli’s Wild Boar Salami is a national food award finalist.

Next was the Creminelli Mortadella. I know that mortadella is considered Italian bologna. What an insult. Creminelli’s is made by blending lean and fat pork and spices until it is emulsified…. The Creminelli version, following artisan tradition, is hand-tied in a natural casing and not fully emulsified, making it lighter and softer. This also gives it a characteristic mottled or spotty look.

While perusing the list of meats, I saw a Creminelli item called mocetta (pronounced “mo chetta”) which is “a small version of Bresaola and one of very few beef products in the Italian deli. Mocetta and Bresaola originated in small regions in the mountainous far north of Italy but are now used widely…. Mocetta comes from the Valle d’Aosta Region of Italy bordering France. The beef eye of round is dry-rubbed, massaged, marinated and air-dried.” (The Creminelli product descriptions come from the Caputo website.) Into my basket it went.

And, of course, I can’t be in an Italian market without buying some twenty-four-month-aged prosciutto di Parma.

And, I couldn’t resist a walk past the cheese display where I picked up two pieces of BeeHive’s Promontory cheese, which BeeHive describes as an
“…Irish style cheese (that) is…buttery, full-bodied and lively with snappy, citrus-like and fruity notes.” The promontory cheese was awarded First Place in the Aged Cheddar category at the Idaho Milk Producers Association Annual Competition in 2008 and 2009; in 2010 a Bronze Medal in the World Cheese Awards.

What a way to eat. Go out for lunch and at night nibble on Italian cured and dried meats and local cheeses.

I ask again, is this a great food city or what?

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