My friend Francesc is nutty about sausages and all manner of smoked and cured meat products. Not just to eat, but also making them at home and tweaking and perfecting his recipes. He has pursued his hobby around the globe and filled my head with tales of Harbin sausages, pata negra, lamb-y wonders on the streets of Aleppo, and chapter and verse of cassoulet orthodoxy.
Last month I cajoled him into taking me on a field trip visiting some of the East Bays pork and sausage havens so that some of his experience and knowledge could rub off on me. We set out an ambitious itinerary of five stops on one Saturday. Even with the best-laid plans, we ran into bumps at each step along the way.
Our launch point was the Berkeley Farmers Market for a first visit for either of us to The Fatted Calfs booth. However, it was absent this week. We tried to call, hoping there might be some inventory on hand that we could purchase, but its not listed with directory assistance.
A sample of the salmon sausage from the markets smoked salmon vendor was little consolation. So we moved on to our next destination in San Leandro . . . its well-stocked deli case is shown below.