Owns 'FoodLit'. Highly qualified, established food & lifestyle writer, former restaurateur, founder professional writing business, Articul8. Long, diverse writing history, passion for food culture, the land & inspired food language.www.foodlit.com.au
Update September 19th 2012
While this super salami event has been and gone, it made for a totally fabulous afternoon - and ABC News story. Read more, and maybe have a giggle about, this Italian obsession below.
Salami and sausage lovers, roll your sleeves up
If you're Italian, or know some Italian folks well, you already know that salami making is as revered amongst the Italians as, let's say, their first born child.
If you don't believe me, simply ask a stallholder at the inaugural Melbourne Salami Festa on Sunday 16th September in Thornbury.
There's every chance they might nudge their firstborn in your direction rather than release their grip on the strings of salami tightly hugged
into their proud chest.
It's serious business, especially as the big, boisterous family sausage festa (which couldn't be anything other than big, boisterous - and loud), will also see some fierce competition between Melbourne families as they battle it out - waving their arms and salamis - for the prestigious title of Melbourne's Best Salami-Making Family.
With stakes (or sausages?) this high, it could either get very ugly - or very funny. The honour at stake is higher than the Leaning Tower of Pisa; the family pride bigger, broader and hotter than Mt Etna - and the bragging rights bestowed upon the family with the last salami standing, well, simply immeasurable.
The salami festival's winning family will immediately attract a large number of new friends and long lost family members who will:
Ducking under strings of salami is a common practise in Italian garages
1. Try and invite themselves to the honourable family's winter salami-making day in the garage, offering to bring or pay for their share of the pig, which, combined with a day's labour, earns them the right to take their apportioned share home. 2. Try all manner of bartering - whether with bottles of tomato sauce or veggies from the garden - to get their slice - or armful or barrel-ful - of the said salami.
3. Try all manner of bartering - whether with bottles of home made wine, special jars of pickled vegetables, or their first born child - to get their hands on the secret ingredients of the salami that won them such a holy honour.
The winning family will be revered, both here and in Italy. In fact, word of the win will spread faster than hips guilty of eating too much salami.
The salami festival's winning family will also be the subject of much discussion from Italian house to house and over Italian fence to fence in all Melbourne suburbs and throughout all Victorian regional areas with a healthy Italian community. It's just their way.
And, for those who think I'm having a go, I'm allowed because I'm a dinky-die Italian (albeit, given the semantics, one still suffering from an obvious cross-cultural clash).
These people are my sisterhood, brotherhood, my kin, my paesani, my blood. I just have a weird, throw-you-off-the-track surname - but that's another story. I also have a deep, warm bank of sausage-making memories so deep, so dear, that they probably extend back into former lives and countless sausage-making generations.
Hence my almost unspeakable excitement at the prospect of the first wonderfully warm, hospitable and convivial Melbourne Salami Festa, where this ancient tradition will be demonstrated and celebrated - and its end products judged via a People's Choice Award - and, as rumour over the fence has it, under the strict (possibly almost scary) scrutiny of a yet-to-be-named surprise Nonna.
Salumi, formaggio and a drop of red. Just pass the bread.
Watch, taste, and learn from the competing families. Buy salumi (which includes salami and my absolute favourite, the famous Italian sausage, or salsiccie), but don't worry too much about the semantics for the moment. The flavour, the experience is what counts - the terminology can come later.
For those serious about learning more about this ancient art - or beer, cider, vinegar, cheese, or pasta making for that matter, see Home Make It, who, in conjunction with the Salami Board (truly) are hosting the Melbounre Salami Festa.
You might also like to try a sausage making or other wonderful food or wine making course with Sausages Made Simple. You might also enjoy - and who wouldn't unless you're a veggo maybe - the wonderful results of using traditional Italian methods to make wonderful Italian food at Aperitivo Food & Wine Bar in Kyneton.
Back at the most exciting food fest to slink its way into
Melbourne yet, watch Italian cooking demonstrations and - eat! Maybe jig along to a little live music to help shift the extra kilos, although a wild, long rock 'n' roll marathon might be more effective for shifting the weight after this one.
Get their early. The early bird gets the fattest sausage.
I'll be there - with bells on. No, actually, I'll be the one carrying an empty barrel on the way in - and, given I've done my time, no firstborn children on the way out. Bottoms up.