25 September 2014 | By John Newton
If there is a better smallgoods butcher than Pino Tomini Foresti of Pino’s Dolce Vita in Sydney or indeed Australia, then I’d like to know who it is.
I’ve had the privilege of watching Pino work many times, the last an offal demonstration which I stupidly didn’t record either properly in words or with images. But watching this superb craftsman extract, identify, clean and cook all the bits we forget to eat was eye-opening – and palate challenging. I bravely ate a testicle schnitzel only to find that I loved it. Sweet, nutty (hah) like sweetbreads. But try putting it on a menu.
Anyway on a recent Sunday I was invited to watch Pino and a bunch of chefs from my friend Stefano Manfredi’s restaurant Balla learn how to make salami, Pino’s way.
We stood around the large stainless steel bench in the kitchen behind the butcher shop. There was head chef Gabriele, Roberto, Francesco, Bobby, a young Chinese chef who was brought up in Bologna, a Greek Australian boy whose name I didn’t get but who I called El Greco, Judy (I think) a Malaysian pastry chef, another whose name I didn’t get. Helping were Pino’s wife Pia, his two sons Marco and Fabiano and Massimiliano, the son of a butcher friend of Pino’s from Garda.
The first thing he did was to show us what he called a salame nobile which is produced all over Italy and incorporates meat from many muscles of the pig. Most important is that the meat comes from a large pig, around 130kg dressed, 160kg live.It had what Manfredi called a ‘lovely perfume’, sweet fat, a mild and what I would call a quintessential salame flavour: meaty and savoury. While we were tasting it, Pino told us that in Calabria, salami are served with seasonal fruit.