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Artisan Italian sausage for everyone

Kelly Evertsen, Of the Record Staff

If anyone knows anything about Italian food, it doesn’t get better than authentic Italian sausage from a perfected 400-year-old handcrafted by a man who has had his family’s traditions passed down to him since he was a young boy.

The Creminelli family’s salami secrets have been passed down since the 1600s. Cristiano Creminelli said it was his dream to bring his family’s sausage secrets to America, to give others the opportunity to taste delectable, preservative-free, naturally cured Italian sausage. Creminelli explains that in America everything is "mass-produced," and sausage companies often cure their meat with lactic acids and preservatives, creating a bitter taste.

American Chris Bowler was living in Italy, working for the Torino Olympics, when he met Creminelli, who was working for his family’s sausage-making business, called Salumificio di Vigliano, in the small town of Biella, three miles north of Torino.

"I met him through some mutual friends an employee who was a relative of Cristiano," Bowler explained. "He told me Cristiano had a dream of coming to the U.S. to start salami production."

Creminelli and Bowler became friends and Bowler helped him with the process of bringing his business to America. The two became business partners and Creminelli moved to Salt Lake City not long after.

Creminelli said he loves America and is eager to share his Italian family’s ancient, slow, natural-curing process for salami and sausage.

"Lactic acid makes you accelerate the curing process," Creminelli said. "The difficult [thing] is, most don’t know how to do the curing process properly. They make up [for the taste] with spices like cloves."

The Creminelli family cures with salt and the natural acids in the meat, giving the meat a sweet, natural taste. And it’s no easy job. Creminelli pointed out that his hands are usually red from molding the meat and hand-casing it, unlike U.S. factories that use machines. It’s all natural and is truly an art form at its core.

Creminelli said the curing process he uses "dates back 2,000 years," all handed down from generation to generation in his family.

Creminelli says he wakes up every two hours during the night to examine his sausage and test its texture. When asked if his lifestyle gets tiring or old, Creminelli smiled and shrugged.

"I love my work, so it doesn’t bother me," he said. "It’s like a game. You play a game with the curing [process]. Our work is to wait and check our salami." Creminelli is an artist who shows true focus and dedication to his work.

Creminelli said Italians believe in the "slow food" philosophy, which is slowly being adopted in Utah and elsewhere in the U.S. An organization called "Slow Food" promotes and assists Europeans and other foreign chefs in bringing their slow-cooking methods, versus the fast-food mentality of America, to the country. Creminelli credits the organization in Utah for getting the word out about his artisan meats.

"We have a Mediterranean diet, so we use fresh, artisan products. We make sausage fresh, we never freeze [our meat]," Creminelli said.

Creminelli distributes his sausage, salami and meats to various restaurants in Salt Lake City and Park City. He sells to all of Bill White’s restaurants in Park City, including Grappas, as well as Ghidottis and other dining establishments in Park City. But he also wants to make this work of art available to the public.

Creminelli also sells his meat at the Tony Caputo’s Market in Salt Lake City and recently started selling it at The Market, formerly known as Dan’s, in Park City. While the product is a little pricier than average mass-produced salami, Bowler and Creminelli are convinced Parkites will find it difficult to pass up true blue Italian cuisine.

"Park City is turning out to be a much more fertile market [for Creminelli’s salami] than Salt Lake," Bowler said, "because it’s a resort city and people expect a better product."

Creminelli favorites include the Natural Pork Salsiccia Tradizionale, which won an award by the Slow Food organization, the Salame Casalingo and Salame Felino. Try them now at The Market on 1500 Snow Creek Drive or various restaurants in Park City. For more information about Creminelli Fine Meat, A Genuine Italian Experience, visit http://www.creminelli.com.


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