By Lorrie Baumann
True story: Phil Gatto just loves making hams and sausages so much that a 40-year career with a major meat processor just wasn’t enough for him – he had to help start another meat processing company, where he and his four co-Founders are making antibiotic-free deli meats and organic sausages and hot dogs. “I didn’t think I’d done my best work yet, so I wasn’t ready to retire,” he says. “I’m probably more enthusiastic about good food and further processing than I ever was in my career.”
Gatto is one of the co-Founders of True Story Foods, a company they’re building around the idea that cured and processed meats can be produced with responsible husbandry and without antibiotics and that they can make their supply chain transparent from farm to consumer. “We work with farmers and ranchers who care for their animals and land the old-fashioned way –– with genuine respect, appreciation, and sense of responsibility,” Gatto says. “We believe it’s our job to support them every way possible. That’s why we pay better than market rate. By doing so, we not only build meaningful relationships with people who share our values, but also a model that is sustainable and attractive to farmers. This is critical to building a new generation of farmers for the future.”
True Story’s Black Forest Ham is Gatto’s personal favorite among the meats the company is producing because he likes knowing that he can go back to the farm where the pork that goes into it was raised, he says. That farm belongs to Russ Kremer, another of the co-Founders in the venture, a fifth-generation Missouri farmer who has been raising pigs since he was five years old. When he returned from college in the early 1980s, he adopted industry trends and started raising hogs in a conventional manner until his eyes were opened to the dangers of allowing antibiotics to infiltrate the human food chain after he contracted an antibiotic-resistant infection that was passed onto him from one of his pigs. That incident changed his mind about the best way to raise animals for human consumption, and in 2001, he founded a cooperative of farmers who shared his new beliefs about raising livestock without antibiotics, growth enhancers or hormones in an environment in which they’re able to express their natural behaviors. “Russ is growing heritage-breed hogs, Berkshire, Tamworth and Duroc. He has oversight of the pork supply for True Story,” Gatto says. “He knows what he’s raising. If you go back and pick the very best breeds and you raise them in the best environment, and you’re conscious about the feed, you’ll end up with a very good quality pork…. Pork is going to make a resurgence as a very delicious meat that has red color and marbling.”
While pork is the protein that’s dearest to Gatto’s heart, True Story’s line includes a range of deli meats that are Non-GMO Project Verified, organic deli meats made from chicken and turkey as well as pork, organic chicken and pork sausages and organic pasture-raised beef hot dogs. The company was founded in 2011 and made its national launch last March at Natural Products Expo West.
The quality of the products is a direct result of the care with which the animals are raised, according to Gatto. “We have a community of people involved all the way from the farmer. People start to get excited about their food and what it should taste like. A ham should taste like a good holiday dinner,” he says. “When you get everybody in the supply chain around the same table, it’s interesting how excited everyone gets. When you see people enjoying the food… There are consumers who ask where their food came from, and we’re proud to tell them.”
Once the meat leaves the farm, it’s harvested humanely and then processed in the San Francisco Bay Area with traditional methods that protect the flavors of the meat, according to Gatto. “A lot of the meats we eat today have been more industrialized, and we felt that if we went back to traditional practices, we could get meat that was more like we ate a couple of generations ago,” he says. “We go back to the old recipes, and we find consumers who are not concerned so much about cost as where they can buy it because of how good it tastes. A lot of times, that’s in the texture of the meat and the bite of the meat and how you can appreciate that in a sandwich.”
Gatto hopes that after the True Story products leave the processing facility, they’ll reach consumers who care enough about their food to take the time to enjoy them. “Food should be fun, shouldn’t it? At the end of the day, we’re in the food business. We want to sit around the table with a ham sandwich and a salad and share some good stories. Is that too idealistic?” he says. “Consumers are looking for this kind of food. We’re asking consumers if you believe, and want to have transparency, then go to your local supermarket and tell them, ‘We’d like to have True Story.’… When you put food on the table, differences disappear, and it’s the food that brings you together.”
Fabrique Délices just redesigned its website; the new design gives a fresh look that better reflects the high quality of the company’s products. “We wanted to create a style that accurately reflects the artisanal side of our products with a twist of modernity,” said Sébastien Espinasse, Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
The company is currently redesigning the packaging for its entire line of products: pâtés, rillettes and mousses, truffle butters, dry and cured meat, specialty meats and all-natural sausages.
The new modern design features a bright color palette that catches the eye. Each label is printed with vivid colors and with the product name written on a chalkboard. This emphasizes the authentic and traditional aspect of the products.
This combination creates just the right style for Fabrique Délices charcuterie. With this new change, the products immediately stand out on grocery store shelves.
Charcuterie products have, undoubtedly, trended over the last few years – however, pâtés, rillettes and mousses are still unfamiliar to the American diet. In order to demonstrate how to enjoy these specialties, Fabrique Délices sleeves provide easy-to-understand instructions: within the sleeve, drawings detail how to build a charcuterie board, how to unmold pâtés, how to store the products and more.
“We want to be sure to provide the tastiest experience for our customers,” said Sebastien. The new look has now shipped to retailers nationwide and has received great feedback from customers.
Fabrique Délices is based in Hayward, California, and has been preparing time-honored classics along with innovative products for more than 30 years.
With dedicated attention to consistent quality, Fabrique Délices has created an offering of more than 100 traditional French delicacies, including all-natural pâtés and mousses, duck breast, duck rillettes, boudins, sausages, truffle butters, cornichons and many more.
Fabrique Délices charcuterie is made in the USA with authentic French recipes using simple and high-quality ingredients to provide the best products.
Products are available nationwide in local specialty food stores such as Wholefoods Market, Mollie Stone’s, Andronico’s Market, Draeger’s Market, Lunardi’s Market, Mill Valley Market, Woodland Market, Schaub’s Meat, Sunshine Foods, Bev’ Mo Walnut Creek, Gourmet Corner, Gourmet & More, Dean & Deluca, as well as local Bay Area Farmer’s Markets in Palo Alto, San Mateo, Sunnyvale, Mountain View and Campbell.
For more information, email email@example.com or call 510.441.9500.
By Lorrie Baumann
With more than 100 different cooked and cured charcuterie products, including pates, mousses, duck confit and duck rillettes, as well as sausages and boudins, Fabrique Délices has earned its place as one of the USA’s premier producers of artisanal French-style meat products.
“We do products for chefs to cook with and products that are ready to serve,” says Sébastien Espinasse, Fabrique Délices’ Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “We believe that if we do quality food, the chef will recognize that and put their stamp on the product. They put our food on their menu, and that is a big recognition to us…. When you come from a foreign country to the U.S., when you have a French restaurant, you try to recreate the food you had at home, and the most important part is to find the ingredients.”
Fabrique Délices makes all of its products in California’s Bay Area, from pork that comes from Iowa, chicken from Mary’s Free Range Chickens and pasture-raised lamb from New Zealand. “The recipes are traditional and authentic. We are not trying to Americanize the product, to tweak the recipe to suit American tastes so we can sell more product,” Espinasse says. “This is the closest to French tradition you can find in the U.S. We want to keep doing it.”
America’s free-wheeling food culture that allows for fusions like kosher Korean tacos and barbecue brisket banh mi might tempt other meat processors to innovate their recipes to create products that would be unrecognizable to Fabrique Delices’ founders, who started the company in 1989 as a subsidiary of French pate producer SAPAR, which was established in Me aux, France, in 1920. But Fabrique Délices has stayed true to its original mission to recreate traditional French charcuterie in the United States, Espinasse says. “We don’t want to compromise the product. This is our identity,” he says. “The market is so wide open that sometimes you can lose your head and do many things, but at the end of the day, you need to keep your focus and do what you do best…. Mostly what we try to do is whenever we put a recipe together, you put the protein in your mouth, and it goes up in your head, and it brings back memories of your childhood with the flavor, and if the flavor is approved by your mind, then you say, ‘This is what we need.’ We grew up with these products so it is very important to keep it like this.”
“We don’t use preservatives, artificial ingredients, MSG, any of that,” he adds. “We use the real spices, no extracts. Sometimes you can have some variation: when you use cayenne pepper, sometimes there is variation from one year to the other, and sometimes people notice it. In the U.S., people are very sensitive to change. Artisan products, sometimes this is the way it is.”
Authenticity and quality are so important to Espinasse that he’s now organizing an American Charcuterie Society to promote those values. “I’m going to try to push it through and get some retailers, some distributors, manufacturers, maybe put a party together and try to move forward,” he says. “We are a group of people and we are going to try to move this forward because we need to grow the charcuterie industry, and the only way we can grow charcuterie is for the whole industry together.”
Those who are interested in being part of the American Charcuterie Society should contact Espinasse at firstname.lastname@example.org.