I was going to write about several products that stood out at the Winter Fancy Food Show that took place in San Francisco in January of this year and when I began to write about OLLI Salumeria as my first favorite, I realized that I could dedicate a entire post to them alone, so I did. Stay tuned for the favorite product recap, but this one is all about OLLI.
I had consumed a fair amount of OLLI salamis prior to tasting them at the show. I rarely purchase tasty meat products based on packaging, but I admit that I had instant attraction to their gorgeous packaging. Beautiful packaging tries to convey that something special is on the inside, but it is not always the case when it comes to specialty food.
When I brought home my first OLLI Salame, I was impressed by the texture of the paper they use for packaging and then more impressed by the powdery exterior of the casing. It reminded me of the first real cured sausages I had enjoyed in Spain over 15 years ago. There is a subtlety to the flavor that is hard to find in store bought salame. Their packaging looks simple, yet is masterfully engineered, the casing is man made to replicate all of the benifits of animal casing, but none of the flaws and the salame is… sublime, but don’t take my word for it.
OLLI Salumi is made in the US, yet tastes like the most delicate and artisanally-produced European salumi I have ever enjoyed. If you read the story about the founders, Oliviero (Olli) Colmignoli and Charles (Chip) Vosmik, the passion with which they operate and the attention to every detail, you can actually taste that story in every bite. Here is the video. See for yourself.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE NICE TO MAKE SOMETHING GREAT.
It is sad, but you don’t. However, I love companies that make wonderful and delicious products and who happen to be founded or lead by good people. I’ll call this my burgeoning 40-year old wisdom. Perhaps I have accrued too many life coaching sessions or read one too many self-help books, but a word that is the benchmark for how I strive to live my life is “impeccability”. Don’t mistake this with perfection. Impeccability is hard to achieve, but if at the end of the day, I have done one or two things impeccably, I feel pretty good.
I approached OLLI’s booth at the show and ignored, if only for a moment, the Gringo rule of not eating cured meats while pregnant. I told the fellow manning the booth, Robert, how much I loved their products and packaging. I ate some more. He gave me a beautiful red hat with their logo on it. I was like a little girl at Disneyland who had just received a free balloon from Tigger. A few weeks later, I checked out their web site because I had planned to write about them and was awestruck by beauty of it. From their logo, to the video and all of the above. I could tell that these people understand the importance of branding. This is my former ad and marketing side coming out. I wrote to Robert and told him how impressed I was with every aspect of their branding from the logo, to the writing, to the video and packaging and most importantly their salame. I truly wasn’t trying to butter them up or score a years supply of salame. Robert shared my email with a few of the heads of the company and Ross, one of their head honchos, wrote back thanking me for my email. They didn’t have to do that. I don’t yet have Food Network status and I am not currently a potential investor. They are simply gracious people.
Don’t expect to pay Oscar Meyer prices for this Salami. Buy it to enjoy it solo or with a nice crusty piece of bread, some olive oil and a glass of wine. Click on the main categories to see all of their products and drool a little. Click here to see where you can get some near you.
* Toscano Salame
* Norcino Salame
* Napoli Salame
* Molisana Salame
* Wild Boar Salame
* Calabrese Salame
WHOLE CURED MEATS
* Berkshire Prosciutto – Becker Lane Farms
* Duroc Prosciutto
* Mangalitsa Prosciutto
* Barley-Fed Berkshire Prosciutto