Some foods simply don't translate well between continents. Italians are often quick to voice their
distrust hatred of the oddity called peanut butter (Alice Waters to the cookie rescue), while Americans are not always sure what to do with all that Italian salumi. Do you cut that white stuff off or not? Cristiano Creminelli might be just what we salumi neophytes have needed: A kick in the casalingo (delicately spiced pork salumi; the “casa” or house recipe).
At least he can teach us our salumi lessons once and for all via that very thorough YouTube video (after the jump), glossy website, national tasting tours, and Facebook tips on things like what to do if your salami dries out: grate it onto pasta, add it to risotto or in a salad; take it to a local deli and ask them to put it on their slicer. Fine, maybe we did pull out that instruction card on how to peel salami more than once. (Score lengthwise the portion you want to cut off, then just peel the paper off around the circular chub.) Trust us, it sounds easier than it is.
Creminelli's family has been producing artisan salumis for years under the Salumificio di Vigliano label in the Italian Alps of northern Italy. Creminelli himself managed production at the family's facility for years. He moved to the U.S. in 2005; two years later he opened up his own salumi company in Springville, a small city in central Utah. The Alps to Utah? We don't quite get it either. Maybe Creminelli is into xeriscaping like some of his neighbors.
Regardless of Creminelli's gardening preferences — and whether you need as much help learning your cured meat A to Z's as he thinks you do — these are truly excellent salumis. They are sold in a much softer state than many American-style salamis, meaning they are still tender inside. You can age them if you prefer more of a firm bite, but salumi really is quite revolutionary when it doesn't break a crown.
We particularly like the Barolo (the Piedmont classic, generously flavored with the red wine), picante (hot; only here, not very), wild boar (made from Texas boar) and the family's classic casalingo (very delicately seasoned). Yes, that is pretty much the entire Creminelli salumi line. Well, other than the truffle salumi, but we've never found finely diced, ground, or infused truffle anything nearly as good as the whole truffle hog. But what do we know. We're the ones who eat peanut butter.