Some of our salami are vacuum packed, others not, but all, once opened, should be kept in the fridge to slow the growth of mould and then be eaten within 2 weeks. Fridge cold is dry so keep salami wrapped in our double layer paper to protect them.
Any grey/ white mould that forms in the fridge should be wiped off with kitchen paper. We often point this out to make sure that salami don't get thrown away at the first sight of mould; the mould is either penicillium glaucuum (the grey/ blue mould) or penicillium nalviogense (the white mould). Both are harmless and a natural part of salami production.
Our advice for cheese is similar. The best balance is needed between maintaining humidity and allowing the cheese to breathe and our double layer paper is excellent for this. Only Parmesan needs special care; at 24 months old the moisture content is very low and it can easily dry out. Keep it wrapped in our paper but then keep it airtight by wrapping in cling film or similar. Eat within 2 weeks.
When we are choosing a new supplier we work back from flavour
When we first make contact with someone we always ask how many pigs they slaughter a week. This tells me what size their production is and this, we have learnt, is a reliable pointer for quality and also for sustainability
In asking about slaughter we also want to know who has slaughtered the animals. Most of our suppliers, even if they don’t rear the meat, will slaughter the animal themselves. This is a practice that was common among butchers in England until we started to buy 95% of all our meat purchases in supermarkets. Mass scale slaughter is unsustainable because animals have to travel long distances, they get injured, adrenalin ruins the meat but economies of scale make it a profitable business. Small producers have to carefully manage their resources, not deplete them.
Then we ask at what age the pigs are slaughtered. With our suppliers it is between 12 months for Large White and 24 months for rare breeds. Any younger than this and the animals have not been allowed to reach maturity at a natural pace without the use of antibiotics or hormones to promote growth
The pigs have to be local; to be reared by the producer or by a friend of the producer. For us this is all about taste but industrial pig farms are too large to be supplied locally, they pollute, rear animals more susceptible to disease and are unsustainable for local communities.
When we ask about what they make we want to hear that they make a small range of products that are traditional to their area. We don’t want to buy bresaola that is made in Tuscany because in the Valtellina they have the perfect climatic conditions for curing bresaola while in Tuscany it’s far too hot and dry so the curing will be artificial. (the fact that most bresaola made in the Valtellina is made from frozen South American meat and cured in massive cold rooms is another matter..)
One of our food heroes, Dan Barber, says that sustainability is any practice that could still be going on in 100 years time and this idea is very important to us.
Back in London we had the first fully electric refrigerated van in the UK