Recently I took a tour of the Creminelli Fine Meats, located west of the Salt Lake International Airport. The company makes artisan salami and meat products that have won critical acclaim, including prestigious sofi Awards from the $109 billion Specialty Food Association.
You may have seen Creminelli salami at Harmons, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Caputo’s, or Williams & Sonoma, and wanted to find out more about it. It’s a Utah-made product, with hundreds years of Italian expertise behind it.
Salami is meat that has been preserved through fermentation. In America, the type of salami we’re probably most familiar with is pepperoni.
Since fermented foods such as yogurt, pickles, kimchi, and sauerkraut have come back in style, it’s no wonder that salami is also enjoying a renaissance.
Creminelli strictly controls this microbial magic of natural fermentation. The facility is scrupulous about cleanliness to insure that the wrong types of bacteria don’t get into the fermenting process. So everyone on the tour was required to “gown up” with hairnets, including photojournalist Billy Yang and chef Viet Pham (James Beard award-winner, seen on “Iron Chef” and other Food Network series).
Cristiano Creminelli’s family has been making salami since the 1600s in the foothills of the Italian Alps. His salumieri expertise was handed down from father-to-son all these years in his home town of Biella, where the dry mountain air is great for curing salami.
“Utah’s dry mountain air is a very similar climate,” Cristiano said. He noticed this fact while visiting Utah during the Winter Olympic Games in 2001. He began thinking of relocating his business to Utah.
In 2007, the salumi master founded Creminelli Fine Meats in Salt Lake City, using the basement of Caputo’s Market & Deli for his curing cells. It didn’t take long before he was winning awards and getting rave reviews. That enabled him to move to a larger facility in Springville, and then to an even bigger place in the International Center near the Salt Lake International Airport. His production has grown from 200 pounds of salami every four weeks to 90,000 pounds per week.
The key to keeping the quality is running the salami in small batches of 450 pounds, according to Creminelli spokesman Vanessa Chang. “Anymore than that, Cristiano feels like he loses control and can’t properly create the recipe.”
His products use all-natural heritage pork and beef (never treated with antibiotics), no synthetic nitrates, no MSG or preservatives.
Some of the specialty salamis include as Tartufo salami with black truffles; Barolo salami with Barolo red wine; Wild boar, seasoned with juniper berries; and Picante salami with hot pepper and paprika. But tradition, quality ingredients and time-honored skills aren’t cheap; a 1.4-pound package can cost you around $36 to $75, depending on the type you choose.
Creminelli also announced a new line of sliced charcuterie in two-ounce packages such as Prosciutto, Bresaola (air-dried, salted beef), and Varzi salami. The Felino salami is paired with sliced Spanish Manchego cheese — great for a Paleo or high protein snack.
For more information about Creminelli and its products, you can check https://www.creminelli.com.