By: Sara Grazia
On a wintery Tuesday afternoon, the boys and I at Sausages HQ packed up suitcases full of salami making goodies ready for another traditional foodie adventure. This time we were off to Sydney, to share our Secrets in Salami making with New South Wales enthusiasts. Like each of our salami making journeys, it was an early and cold start to the day. With our bags all packed and weighed, we were bundled up tightly in our coats, hats and gloves and it was off to the airport to check in, have a quick coffee and then board our flight.
When we arrived in Sydney, the sun was blazing and the temperature …. Mild! Nothing like the weather we we’d just left back in Melbourne.
I haven’t been to Sydney in quite some time… navigating our way through the streets full of historic houses and buildings, the sun shining and beautiful scenic views of the harbor and bays that surround the eastern suburbs, I remembered fondly the brief period that I lived here. Now I am excited to be back, sharing my secrets with a beautiful view.
We had a quick bite to eat in Woollahra, sitting on an overlook gazing out at the northern shores of the city. It was soon time to head over to Paddington and get things set up and ready for the afternoon’s salami making festivities.
With our bags unpacked and the tables set and dressed in all the specialist salami making equipment and supplies, it was time to begin. All the participants in our first session showed up much earlier than expected, it was great to see the excitement and enthusiasm from them all and we were quickly underway.
After an introduction it was straight to work, slicing, chopping and mincing meat, seasoning and mixing. We discussed ingredients and what recipes others in the groups had tried and what successes they had. As I’ve said many times before, salami making isn’t just about a few spices and some minced meat – it’s so much more. Every person I speak to has experienced something a little bit different from the person before. They’re not all from an Italian background, so it’s great to hear about what their past experiences have been, whether they were successful or not. The key to success can be something very simple and usually it’s the smallest thing that has been missed that can lead to disaster and spoilage.
After today however, I think I can say with confidence that none of these folk will be suffering from bad salami in the future.
After all the labour intensive work was complete, it was time for filling. There was a lot of conversion throughout the process about who was doing what and how they were doing it. There were laughs, and sighs and the occasional burst casing, easy fixed and all part of the fun.
The room was abuzz with excitement as each and every person started to see their salami come to completion. Everyone compared their tying techniques and of course - whose salami was longer than the other….. Boys!
Our evening session mirrored that of the afternoon. We had plenty of laughs, a few burst casings and… some mathematics! Getting your spices right is an essential part of the process and this group wasn’t leaving anything to chance, meticulously working out how much of each ingredient needed to be added to the closest gram. There was pen to paper, + and – equations all over the page, followed by an uncertain glance and a complete recount. Once the recipes were ready, there was mixing and filling, tying and netting, all finished off with an antipasto plate of salami and cured meats which had been prepared by me back at my Sausages HQ.
We had a wonderful time sharing these traditional Secrets in Salami with some of Sydney’s salami making enthusiasts and wish them all the best with their salami making adventures.
After a good night’s sleep and a light breakfast on the popular Oxford St, it was off to visit some of Sydney’s famed attractions. We’re all familiar with the Sydney Harbor Bridge, Luna Park and a host of others, I’m talking about Sydney’s hidden gems and its charcuterie temples. Tourist destinations any meat lover would want on their tourist map. There was lots of weaving through back streets and lane ways, down freeways hoping not to miss an exit. Sydney can be a tricky city to navigate if you’re not a local! I kept my boys stocked with sugary treats to aid in the navigation and we managed to work our way through the maze of suburbs to visit some exciting destinations.
We stopped for a spot of lunch, where we walked through lanes full of creative art pieces (clearly someone was missing quite a few pairs of jeans!) and embraced the unspoilt sites that the great city of Sydney has to offer.
We’ll be back in Sydney on 30 July 2014 with some more traditional food arts with our Italian Cured Meats Master Class. Learn to prepare and produce your own cured meats full of authentic flavours, click here for more details…