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Restaurants & Bars

Extraordinary Fra' Mani Salumi at Artisan Cheese Gallery, Studio City

barham turner | Jan 20, 200707:29 PM    

I happened to be in Artisan Cheese Gallery yesterday buying cheese, and as I was standing near the cash register reading the sandwich menu I noticed they had one made with Fra'Mani soppresatta. Fra'Mani, I recently learned via KCRW's Good Food radio show, is a salumi company started by renowned Bay Area chef Paul Bertolli, formerly of Chez Panisse and Oliveto.

His on-air description of the salumi sounded intriguing, so I asked the counter guy if they sold the salumi by the pound. He said yes, and brought out two enormous cured salumi, one the Toscano, the other the Soppresatta. (An aside: I wish the Artisan Cheese Gallery believed in informing their patrons about their products via signage. I guess they want us to divine that they carry Fra'Mani cured meats. They would sell a lot more cheese and charcuterie if they would simply label and promote it by signage. But I digress.)

So I hand over an enormous amount of money (the stuff is, like, $25 a pound) and cart off generous portions of both salumi. Get it home. Open the paper. Swoon. Call over the husband. Taste one. Babble excitedly about the quality. Breath in the aromas. Knees buckle. Taste another. Open a bottle of Normandy hard cider, pour. Taste more.

Honestly, hounds, the quality of the Fra'Mani stuff is nothing short of extraordinary. The aroma, the mouth feel, the rich flavor. I have never tasted better. Apparently there are other places around the Southland, as they say, where you can buy it, but it's nice to know it's handily available for us Valleyites in Studio City.

Artisan Cheese Gallery
12023 Ventura Blvd. (just east of Laurel Canyon)
Studio City

http://www.framani.com

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