June may be known for cold weather, ski-season and football but for most Italians, it is the month of salami-making. We had ours a few weeks ago and in true De Bortoli fashion made a huge party of it. Family, staff and friends were all here in the Yarra Valley, all intent in having a good time.
From growing our first pig 4 years ago, we now keep 6 pigs who, although unaware they have a short life, have a very good life. And why wouldn’t they. Free-range on good pasture, supplemented by vegies and grain and then in the last month, a few buckets of acorns from our oak-trees.
Our annual salami day is a true celebration of the provenance of our food. With hands-on salami making, music (yes, a little bit of accordion thrown in), wine on tap (a barrel of 2011 Gamay this year) followed by a delicious luncheon feast. We had it all; bbq pork ribs for brekkie, Coffee (with shots of grappa for the very brave), home-made prosciutto, roasted chestnuts, toasted polenta, pig-on-a-spit, cheese and plenty of ‘flagon’ wine.
It is a joyous occasion where wine actually takes second fiddle. That is what I love about the day. Pass the crackling, another flagon of Gamay and all is good with the world. Many invitees on the day were proudly showing me images on their phones, where we were oohing and aaahing, not over their kids or grand-kids but of their own salami making efforts.
So, what do you do when everyone thinks they make the best salami?
Run a competition of course! This year is the inaugural WISS competition – Wine Industry Smallgoods Smackdown. To be happily judged by Mike Bennie and Dave Brookes towards the end of August, it is an opportunity for anyone involved in the wine industry to share their wares. This will be a beauty; pitching Germans against Italians, northerners against southerners and with many skippys (ie Australian extraction) taking part. Who will wear the mantle of King Porky this year. Wait and see…