In an unassuming office building in Mechanicsville, Virginia, there are secrets from the old country. Two friends, Oliviero (Olli) Colmignoli and Charles (Chip) Vosmik, have been sharing these secrets with chefs and foodies for the past six years, and their efforts have taken hold.
According to Chip, it started over a glass of wine and some prosciutto brought by Olli from his family home in Parma, Italy. Apparently, the prosciutto from Italy was just superior to what was being made locally. Chip asked Olli,”If I get you some really good pasture-raised pork, could you make prosciutto as good as the stuff you guys make in Italy?”
Cut to 2016, and you can see that the answer was yes. In the intervening years, Olli Salumeria’s catalog has grown to include a host of salami, as well as prosciutto and cooking fats.
Recently, we had the privilege of visiting Olli Salumeria to get a feel for the place that is producing some of the best uncured meat around.
“It really starts with the animals,” says Delia Michael, regional sales manager at Olli (and our tour guide). “They’re antibiotic free from start to finish. The pigs are humanely pasture-raised and fed all-vegetarian feeds.”
Olli uses pork heritage breeds which are never fed animal by-products. The quality of the salami is directly affected by the quality of the pork, so Olli goes to great lengths to obtain the best pigs available in the USA.
In addition to being richer tasting, pasture-raised pork is significantly higher in Vitamin E and selenium than conventionally raised pork, according to Don C. Mahan, Professor of Animal Sciences at Ohio State University.
From start to finish, it’s a labor of love – from the family-owned, sustainable farms to the painstakingly aged salami. The amount of careful, personal attention that the salami receives is staggering, really.
The spices for each batch are hand-mixed each time, following a 160-year-old family recipe. After the pork and spices are mixed and fed into the natural casing, they are hung, by hand, to begin the slow curing process. The salami are sprayed with a benign, white mold (penicillin, actually, similar to the cheese making process) and aged at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit for four to six weeks.
This is another point of departure, as Olli Salami is not cooked. The slow cure process in place of low-temp cooking maintains the texture and flavor of authentic Italian salami. Products are hung in nets or laid on racks for drying, where they are closely monitored for appearance, taste, and water activity (moisture levels) in their state-of-the-art curing rooms. Every product is individually lot-tracked so they can easily pinpoint farm origin and other characteristics. All of Olli’s products are free from added nitrites and nitrates, gluten, and all other major allergens.
If you want a taste of the Old World, try Olli Salumeria.