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Maryland Company Introduces Artisanal Snack Salami

By Robin Mather

Meatcrafters, an artisanal producer of specialty cured meats, debuted its Skinny Salamis at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York recently. Skinny Salamis are the only lactic-fermented meat snacks on the market, said Mitch Berliner, one of the company’s three founders and self-proclaimed “Chief Sampling Officer.”

“They are cured, uncooked products, made in traditional ways that date back to the Egyptians and early Romans. They are high in protein, low in calories, have no sugar or carbs and are gluten-free. They’re made from antibiotic- and hormone-free meats.”
Skinny Salamis are unique for several reasons, Berliner said.

“We were just at the Sweets and Snacks Expo in Chicago,” Berliner said. “All the other meat snacks we saw were cooked, whether dehydrated like jerky or extruded and cooked like the familiar meat sticks.”

Meatcrafters is among the few companies in the US to have gained USDA approval to produce such products, and the only one in Maryland, Berliner said. “We don’t outsource our production,” Berliner said. “We do everything ourselves, from sourcing the meat from local farmers to grinding our own spices to producing and packaging the salamis.”

Skinny Salamis are designed to be a portable snack that fits easily into a pocket or purse. The snack salamis are available in three flavors: Original Black Angus Beef, Truffle (pork) and Street Cart Schwarma (lamb). Three more flavors will be available later this year: Merguez (lamb), Spicy Argentinean Chorizo (pork) and Casbah (pork), flavored with North African spices. The salamis come four to a package, and suggested retail is $6.79—$7.95.

Berliner said the company trialed its products at farmers markets and were selling more than 300 salamis a week from very early on. “And then a wine distributor tried them and said, ‘If you put this in grown-up packaging, I’ll buy it for distribution.’ So we went to work on grown-up packaging.” The company’s designed-from-the-ground-up packaging recently won awards for its graphic design, Berliner said.

Chefs visiting the market also liked Meatcrafters’ salamis, and they now appear on menus at restaurants in Maryland and Virginia, including Patrick O’Connell’s much-lauded Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Virginia.

“We like to help local farmers,” Berliner said, noting that they work with local producers of Black Angus beef, heritage breed Duroc pork and all-natural lamb. “In addition to our own products, we make specialty sausages with our farmers’ meats so they can offer their own customers salami made from only their meat. We also make specialty sausages for brew pubs using their beers, and for local vineyards using their wines.”

Meatcrafters has been in business since 2009, producing duck breast prosciutto as well as a variety of specialty salamis. They include Chajari, an Argentinian-style salami flavored with garlic, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon and whole peppercorns; Chorizo de Pamplona, an aged Spanish-style classic with cayenne and Spanish smoked paprika; Chesapeake, seasoned with Maryland crab seasoning; Cacciatore, a traditional Italian hunter’s sausage of Duroc pork flavored with sea salt, pepper and garlic; Truffle Mania and Porcini Salami, two fungi-forward flavors that capture the best of the much-loved ingredients; Cinta, another Duroc pork salami flavored with long pepper, lemon zest and mace; Ararat, a Duroc pork salami seasoned with smoked paprika, fenugreek and the Turkish pepper called urfa biber; a wild fennel pollen Duroc pork sausage called One Wild Fennel; a traditional Spanish salami called Fuet, simply seasoned with salt and pepper to showcase the flavors of the Duroc pork and the lactic fermentation; and Dillio, made with dill pollen, garlic and red wine.

The Landover, Maryland, company, founded in 2009 by Berliner, his wife, Debra Moser, and their friend Stan Feder draws on decades of experience the three share in charcuterie and the food business. Berliner, who’s been in the food business for more than 50 years, started as a food distributor. Moser brings a diverse background in food and business experience. Feder, who’s studied with charcuterie experts in Spain, Italy and the US, has a lifelong passion for salumi.

“We’re Baby Boomers who failed at retirement,” quipped Berliner. “We pulled money out of our retirement funds to start this company, and have never taken loans or investments from anyone else to keep going.”

The founders were inspired to start the company when they realized that “we had visited Italy many times and we didn’t know why there wasn’t more good American salami. So we were an upscale charcuterie and then, a little over three years ago, we thought, ‘why don’t we take our salamis and put them in a meat snack product?’ “

The “failing at retirement” thing seems to be working for the company’s founders. “We just knocked out a wall to expand our space,” Berliner said.

Bellucci On-the-Go EVOO: The Great Flavor of Fresh

With Bellucci’s single-serving On-the-Go EVOO squeeze packs, the great flavor of fresh 100 percent Italian extra virgin olive oil is making a splash, one delicious drizzle at a time.

Consumers of olive oil will appreciate the convenience of having award-winning 100 percent Italian EVOO by the single serving, especially when they can pop it straight out of a purse, backpack or desk drawer.

belluccicynara editphoto2On-the-Go EVOO gives office and school lunches, picnics and campfire cooking the opportunity for a healthy boost of flavor, and even meals out on the town can get an upgrade. Salads and sandwiches no longer need be doused in inferior dressings made of myriad non-nutritional ingredients, when a simple, delicious drizzle of extra virgin olive oil is all they need. Meals for people leading active, health-conscious lifestyles just got infinitely easier to make, and EVOO lovers can indulge themselves outside home kitchens without lugging a full bottle, when nuanced flavor on the fly is what they seek.

Available in both 100% Organic Italian and 100% Classic Italian, Bellucci On-the-Go EVOO is milled cooperatively from olives grown on small family groves in rural Italy. Both blends have received awards at international tasting competitions. The company’s commitment to freshness and traditional cultivation and milling practices ensures a robust flavor profile, and the single-serving packs maintain the EVOO at its flavorful and nutritional best. All Bellucci EVOO, including On-the-Go squeeze packs, is fully traceable to its origin in the Italian countryside using the Bellucci App.

The perfect drizzle to bring a ray of sunshine to any meal, Bellucci On-the-Go EVOO brings more pleasure and tastiness to food as far flung as the great outdoors.

Meet the Prize-Winning Innovators in the 2017 sofi New Product Category

By Robin Mather

International flavors and new twists on old favorites characterize the 2017 sofi award winners for new products at the Specialty Food Association’s Summer Fancy Foods Show. Several products which won for new product also won top honors in their categories. This is a new category for the sofi awards.

Here are the winners in each category.

Baked good: Sharp Cheddar Biscuits, by Callie’s Charleston Biscuits LLC of North Charleston, South Carolina. 843.577.1198

Baking mix or ingredient: Gluten-free Crust Mix by renowned chef Thomas Keller’s Cup4Cup of Napa, California. 707.754.4263

Barbecue sauce: Dr. Foo’s Kitchen Bali BBQ Sauce by Fischer & Weiser Specialty Foods, Fredericksburg, Texas. 830.997.7194

Cow’s milk cheese: St. Albans Cheese, by Vermont Creamery, Websterville, Vermont. 802.479.9371

Non-cow milk cheese: Daphne’s Creamery Chèvre by Zoe’s Meats, Santa Rosa, California. 707.545.9637

Chocolate candy: Almond Gold Bar by Fran’s Chocolates LTD, Seattle, Washington 206.322.0233

Chocolate, dark: Cheeky Cheeky Churro Chocolate by Chuao Chocolatier, Carlsbad, California. 740.476.0197

Chocolate, milk and white: Moka Fleck Chocolate by Lake Champlain Chocolates, Burlington, Vermont. 802.864.1808

Cold beverage drink and cocktail mix: Top Note Indian Tonic Water by La Pavia Beverages Inc, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 414.208.9677

Cold beverage RTD: Gazpacho with Mediterranean Seawater by Seawater Food & Beverage Inc, Dallas, Texas 214.537.5070

Condiment: Tomato Nduja by City Saucery, Brooklyn, New York 718.753.4006

Confection: Strawberry Mango Gummy Pandas by Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier, Saint Louis, Missouri. 314.615.2438

Cookie: Chocolate Chip Tiny Cookies by Tate’s Bake Shop, Southampton, New York. 631.780.6511

Cooking sauce or marinade: Cambodian Coconut Peanut Sauce by Wozz! Kitchen Creations, Bethlehem, New Hampshire. The sauce also won gold in this category. 603.915.3528

Cracker: Sourdough Crispbread Pink Peppercorn by Peter’s Yard Limited, Gerrards Cross, Bucks UK, (44)796.768.7717.

Dairy yogurt or dairy alternative: Organic Greek Strained Yogurt by Kourellas Dairy, New York, New York. 646.684.9131

Dessert sauce or topping: Bourbon Barrel Aged Hard Cider Goat’s Milk Caramel Sauce by Fat Toad Farm, Brookfield, Vermont. 802.279.3893

Gluten-free: Gluten-Free Korean Hot Sauce by K-Mama Sauce LLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota. 612.460.5156

Granola: Artisan Grains Chocolate, Coconut and Almond by Don’s Food Products, Schwenksville, Pennsylvania. 484.991/1011

Honey: Propolis Hazelnut Cocoa Raw Honey by SBS Americas Inc, Valley Cottage, New York. 516.263.3490

Hot beverage: Oregon Mint and Tulsi Tea by The Tao of Tea, Portland, Oregon 503.736.0198

Ice cream, gelato or frozen treat: Passion Fruit Guava Sorbet by Cable Car Delights, Inc., Berkeley, California. 510.849.0143

Jam or preserve: Spiced Raisin Marmalata by Le Bon Magot, Lawrenceville, New Jersey. The product also won gold in this category. 609.477.2847

Meat, poultry or charcuterie: Jalapeno Bacon Cheddar Bratwurst by Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meats, Wittenberg, Wisconsin. 715.253.4000.

Nut or seed butter: Nocciolata Dairy-Free Organic Hazelnut and Cocoa Spread by Rigoni Di Asiago USA, Miami, Florida. 305.470.7583.

Nut or other oil: Jalapeño Lime Infused Oil by Extravagonzo Gourmet Foods LLC, Boise, Idaho. 208.639.2926

Olive oil: Olives and Mandarines Condiment by Azienda Agricola Coppini Arte Olearia srl, San Secondo Parmense, Italy. 00390521877621

Pasta, rice or grain: Rustichella d’Abruzzo Pasta Integrale di Farro Couscous by Manicaretti Italian Food Imports, Oakland, California. 510.740.2020

Pasta sauce: Alfredo of Rome, the Only Original Alfredo Sauce by Jersey Italian Gravy, Oakland, New Jersey. 201.620.2111

Pickle or preserved vegetable: Bread n’ Butter Pickles by McClure’s Pickles, LLC, Detroit, Michigan. 248.837.9323.

Salad dressing: Aunt Dottie’s Salad Dressing Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette by JGF Enterprises, Okatie, South Carolina. The product also won gold in this category. 843.645.9050

Salsa or dip: White Bean Dip by Maya Kaimal Fine Foods, Rhinebeck, New York. 845.876.8200.

Savory snack: Cilantro Lime Chickpea Chips, also by Maya Kaimal Fine Foods, Rhinebeck, New York. 845.876.8200

Seasoning or spice: Slow Cooker Sichuan Blend by The Zen of Slow Cooking, Lake Forest, Illinois. 847.340.8414

Sweet snack: Organic Coconut with Cranberries, Cashews, Almonds and Chia Seeds by Creative Snacks Co., Greensboro, North Carolina. 336.668.4151

Vegan product: Sea Salt Chocolate Covered Cocomel Bites by Cocomels by JJ’s Sweets, Boulder, Colorado. 303.800.6492

Vinegar: Strawberry White Balsamic Vinegar by Olivelle, Bozeman, Montana. 406.587.4246

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