Thursday, May 21, 2009

Super Salumi: Fra'Mani

Fra'Mani is a Berkeley based producer of hand crafted salumi, or cured pork products. Founded and run by Chez Panisse alum Paul Bertolli, Fra'Mani makes various styles of dry salami, sausages and pate.

I've enjoyed their products in the past, but for my recent birthday, I was lucky enough to get a big Fra'Mani gift pack. There were all pretty wonderful, but not for the faint of heart. These are big, spicy, garlicky pork products, full of fat and protein, but no hormones or other unnatural ingredients. Here's how they stacked up.

Pork Liver Mousse: For pates, I generally favor fowl, but this pork liver mousse was phenomenal. It was creamy, but not quite as strong as I expected. The pork melded well with the spices, and there was a good, thick layer of aspic on top.

Classic Italian Sausage: This was a great sausage, with great pork flavor, if a bit heavy on the garlic.

Spicy Italian Sausage: This one was more like a chorizo. It was red, with big chunks of fat and, when cooked up, leaked that deep orange grease that you get with chorizo. Like all of these products, it was hyped up on garlic. As to the spiciness, it had a light kick, but nothing to heavy in that department.

Breakfast Sausage: Of all the sausages, this was my favorite. It was like a breakfast link on steroids, with more spice and juicier, more flavorful pork. They held back a bit on the garlic with this one, which was good.

Salametto, dry salame: This is great dry salami in small doses. It is a huge garlic bomb, which makes it a tad overwhelming, but I still can't seem to stop eating it.

Salametto Piccante, spicy dry chorizo: I loved this chorizo in a dry salami-form, something I hadn't had before. It has a nice, light hotness to it and contrasts well with the Salametto.

All of these were good, though Bertolli could use the occasional restraint with the garlic. If you like the pork and the garlic, you should definitely explore some Fra'Mani products.

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