As we headed from Amandola to Sarnano in the Marches region, rolling wooded landscapes blanketed the surrounding hills: the foothills of the Sybilline mountains:
Coming around a curve, the sign in front of a large stuccoed yellow building on the left, caught my eye: “Salumi Monterotti”
I knew the area was famous for salami, prosciutti, capocolli, lonza (all depicted on the sign)…..
….and other pork products and wondered if they were produced here? (An appreciated gift for our farm friend, Peppa, I thought…)
In the small shop just inside, salami, capocolli, chunks of prosciutto and barbozza (pork cheek) were on display..
…and caught Pino’s eye:
I knew we’d be leaving with a few selections..
Pasta and legumes were on sale too, sitting on wooden shelves surrounding the sign announcing proudly the Monterotti family production of salumi (cold cuts, etc.) for over 40 years.
Above jars of local honey, lentils and farro for soups, a newspaper article announced the awarding of the prize displayed below the article: first prize for artisanal salumi in the Cremona trade fair some years prior – and for their ciausculo.
I knew we were in the right place: ciauscolo (a soft spreadable salami) is a Pino favorite – and not available everywhere. This area of the Marches is known for ciauscolo production.
When the young man in the shop, Riccardo, heard us talk about what we wished to purchase. mentioning also “ciauscolo,” he smiled and said, “Venite con me” (“Come with me”), leading us through a door and down some stairs.
Mamma mia! We were both open-mouthed and what we saw in a room below:
4000-5000 salami and capocolli hung from the ceiling, over steel racks of ciauscoli.
I spotted dried sausages looped over another steel rack just behind the ciauscoli:
Riccardo explained to me that the salami would age abut 3 months before selling.
The salami had already been in the stanza dell’asciugatura (“the drying room”) for 3-4 days near a wood fire in the fireplace, essential beginning of their salami production:
Pino and Riccardo chatted for some time under the salami “bower” about the raising of pigs and the creation of all the pork products typical of the Marches region:
As we left the area, Pino gave me a smile as he stood between two long ciauscuoli hanging over the stairs.
Those ciauscoli weighed about 7 or 8 kilos each and Riccardo told us that Sarnano restaurants buy them to slice for guests as part of an antipasto plate:
We headed back with Riccardo (son-in-law of Fabrizio Monterotti, founder) to the shop for our purchases of fresh sausages, dried sausages, a generous portion of barbozza (pork cheek – also called “guanciale”),…
….ciauscolo (for us – as well as for Peppa!) and pecorino (sheep’s milk cheese):
(….and note our purchases above!)
We headed home to Umbria with marchigiano goodness. And on our next trip to the Sarnano area, we’ll know where to stop.
Read here about Sarnano
Click here for a pasta recipe using barbozza (guanciale)