Published on June 1st, 2013 | by Linda Catalano
Linda Catalano pays an unexpected visit to Salumi Australia HQ in the Northern Rivers district.
When people think of Byron Bay, they think of surf, hippies and alternative lifestyles. Salumi is not exactly the first thing that springs to mind. Yet it was in Byron Bay, on holiday, that I met Michael Dlask at a local Whiskey Tasting event and scored myself an invitation to Salumi Australia’s headquarters.
Hidden in the backstreets of Billinudgel, just outside Byron Bay, I find Massimiliano Scalas, master salumi maker. Before being allowed entry to the inner sanctum Massimiliano looks at me suspiciously before testing my knowledge to see if I know my stuff. As a home salami maker talking to an expert I’m understandably a little tentative and nervous. I hesitate before slowly sharing the basic principals my nonna has taught me. As I speak he gives a knowing smile. I seemed to have passed the test and open sesame – the doors to Salumi Australia are opened to me one by one. Walking through the butchering space, drying and curing rooms I feel like Alice in a Salumi wonderland.
it represents the ultimate blending of Australian and Italian culture.
Next I’m treated to an epic tasting by Michael who takes me through their range of products and talks about Salumi Australia’s underlying principals. They are dedicated to using traditional Italian techniques to create a sublime artisan product. I taste the Salame Finocchiciona (fennel and garlic infused salami), two types of pancetta –one cold smoked and the other dusted with pepper – and the speck.
I’m loving every bit. Everything is good and whilst the speck is a bit fantastic it’s the cured beef that’s a real stand out. The Bresaola, an air-dried aged beef, is served up with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. It’s tasty. I’m told it’s the juniper berries and bay leaves it’s cured with that gives it its moorish taste. One small slice is not enough and I’m imagining how well a glass of red wine would accompany this flavour.
To finish things off, the guys present me with the most innovative addition to the salumi family, Roosciutto. Yep, you guessed it – Kangaroo Proscuitto. Unique to Salumi Australia, the Roosciutto was developed in conjunction with Hatted Chef Clayton Donovan. Drizzled with olive oil it represents the ultimate blending of Australian and Italian culture. It does not disappoint. It’s magnificent. It’s a total winner for me and the highlight of my tour. As an Aussie with Italian heritage the invention of Roosciutto in the Northern Rivers area makes me very proud. It’s a fantastic symbol of the influence of Italian culture on Australian culture and vice-versa. I predict in years to come that Byron Bay will be as well known for it’s cold cuts as it is for it’s hippies.
Forget surf and turf. The future is Surf and Salumi.
Linda’s Salumi Australia Top 5.
Roosciutto – Bone In:
(Indigenous Spiced Aged Kangaroo Leg.)
Cured with pepperberry, bush tomato and quandong the best way to slice is by bracing the leg and slowly shaving away from the body in 5-10cm slices no thicker than 1mm.
Drizzled with olive oil or citrus flavoured oils to add an extra zing and serve with a light green salad.
(Cured, Cold Smoked and Aged Pork Hind Quarter)
Rubbed in a juniper berry, bay leaf, sea salt and black pepper mix and cold smoked. Remove the rind and using a slicer, if possible, slice be no thicker than 1mm and wrap around grissini. A washed rind cheese and a diverse range of red wines or whiskey can accompany.
(Garlic and Fennel Infused Salami)
The name is taken from finocchio meaning “fennel”. Slices should be no thicker than 1.5mm or paper thin and served with a strong bodied Sauvignon Blanc.
Pancetta Stesa Pepata:
(Black Pepper Dusted Cured and Aged Pork Belly)
Very thinly slice for wrapping or dice, whilst cold, for cooking. Pancetta is the base of dishes such as pasta all ‘amatriciana, or wrapped around other foods to add flavour and presentation.
(Cured and Cold Smoked Pork Belly)
Semi-aged, this cold smoked pancetta is best prepared thinly sliced or diced, whilst cold, for cooking and can be used as an alternative to bacon
12 Bonanza Drive
BILLINUDGEL NSW 2483
Phone: (02) 66805030