The Sausage King of Perth

So... who ordered the whole side of pig ? Meat Lovers Paradise

Vegetarians… I’d advice you to stop reading right now… Vegans… run for the hills. The rest of you carnivores… carry on.

Is there anything quite as wonderful as a well made sausage ? I think not… Well ok, maybe a couple of things… but good sausages are definitely up there. Top 10 for sure. So it will come as no surprise that when I heard Slow Food Perth were planning a day of old school sausage making, I jumped at the chance.

I’ve got to say I’m really starting to like these Slow Food events. A bunch of people who love food and wine as much as I do all getting together to learn about it and enjoy themselves, and possibly devouring vast sums of magnificent produce. What’s not to like ?

The title of this event was “The Best Cuts”, the setting was the home of chef Vincenzo Velletri, Slow Food chef extraordinaire, and one of the W.A representatives at the Terra Madre, Slow Food’s international conference, last year.

So our task was to turn a 120 kg pig into as many sausages as possible. A specially slaughtered pig was obtained from Spencers Brook Farm, an organic pig farm specialising in Berkshire pigs. Although ours was a large white pig formerly named “Chubby”, who we were told had led a happy life out on the farm for many years. So with knives and cutting boards at the ready, we filed into the kitchen at Vincenzo’s house in West Swan to begin the work.

These were no ordinary sausages to be thrown into a grinder and spat out the other end. But hand cut and mixed sausages of Monte San Biagio. Made as true to the origins as possible.

The Monte San Biagio sausage is now a part of the Slow Food presidia, which means they are actively being preserved and protected. So making them wasn’t simply a case of throwing a bunch of random ingredients into a grinder and spitting sausages out the other end.

Vincenzo cut sections of the meat into large chunks and then a production line of people helped to work it down into tiny cubes small enough to look like mince meat, but with much more body and texture than you’d gain from grinding it. The cutting took all morning. Which is why I suppose Italian families might only do this a couple of times a year, and why you’d get the whole family involved. It’s a lot of work. But short breaks for coffee (with maybe a little grappa), and marmalade crostata, made things fly by pretty quickly.

Then finally the cutting was done, and it was time to mix. Sea Salt in large quantities is added so the meat cures properly. Then it’s just crushed coriander seeds, dried chilli, and white wine. Mixed through the pork and combined well by the hands of a bunch of enthusiastic slow foodies.

So while we let the sausage mix settle, it was time for lunch. Another helping of the wonderful polenta with sausage mixture poured over the top. But this time I got to help make it :) A team of strong armed helpers took turns stirring a massive pot of polenta until it was just right, while I cooked down some of the sausage mixture in a pan with a little olive oil and white wine.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, another team of helpers were making fresh pasta using biodynamic flour and semolina from Dayle Lloyds Eden Valley Biodynamic Flour. Dayle had happily driven the 3 hours to Perth from Dumbleyung that morning to be a part of the day and bring some wonderful flour to use.

Lunch was again a sumptuous feast. Polenta and sausage, Fresh fettucini and passata, Italian broccoli, salad, fresh bread, wine, and when we thought it was all finished, more pork steaks seared on the bbq and drizzled with home made olive oil.

Our bodies rested and our souls restored, it was on to finish the job. Another group of likely ladies (Sharon included) took hold of the intestines that were to hold the sausage mixture, and squeezed all the air out of them (sadly I missed out on this bit). Then still more teams of people fed the sausage mixture into the funnel that pipes it into the intestines. The interesting thing being how easy Vincenzo made it look, and how hard everyone else did :)

Still, it was a great learning experience, and a lot of fun. We ended up the day with 4kg (count em!) of sausages to take home, which I promptly hung in the laundry to dry out. Being over two weeks ago that we went, I’ve since started using them to great effect… slicing pieces on their own for antipasto, and using it much like my beloved chorizo (which has taken a temporary backseat), in an arrangement of pasta and omlette style dishes.

How do they taste you ask ? Fantastic… Very spicy from the amount of chilli that went into them, and with a robust coriander flavour that becomes more or less intense depending on which piece you bite into. I’d highly recommend anyone give it a try. Just find your nearest Italian family and get stuffing !

Many thanks again to Slow Food for organising the event, and here’s looking forward to the next one :)

Vegan Hell Italian Sausages - Fonti Style

24 thoughts on “The Sausage King of Perth”

  1. Gosh these are great photos, Matt! I have a serious case of sausage envy here. This looks like it was such a fun event! I can’t wait to read about your attendance at other Slow Food get-togethers.

    Am I understanding correctly that the only curative agent here is Sea Salt? No nitrates/ites were used and you are hanging them to cure and dry in your laundry room? What is the average temp and humidity in the room and in your area, please?

    Thanks so much for sharing this! Too fun.


  2. Matt!

    Have been hanging out to hear how it all went! As a newbie Slow Food member I was disappointed to have missed out on this one but your photos and post are the next best thing!
    Haven’t seen that much meat since the last B-grade slasher film festival ;-)
    RIP “Chubby”…
    How was the marmalade tart made? I have jars and jars of the stuff to use up after my recent orange glut!


  3. Now that’s what I call sausages. I must admit I’ve been avoiding the local Slow food movement but if they do something like this I’m in.

  4. Matt,

    Great post. Even though I hate coriander, I’d still give these a go.

    Now onto a more serious question;

    What’s the most sausage you’ve eaten in one sitting?

  5. I am definitely a carnivore and I love a good sausage. The best sausages I’ve eaten were the ones at Lazar’s Bar and Grill, which is a restaurant that specialises in just meat. You get your choice of steak, steak or steak and then you either have sausages or sausages for entrees. But they were the best sausages I’ve ever tasted. I didn’t even know until then that sausages could actually taste that good.

  6. BlueZebra: You are indeed correct, salt is the only curative ingredient in the whole process. Traditional dry cured sausages are a little funky to some, and downright madness to others… but the reward is worth the risk. Check out this interesting article about them. As for average temp, it’s around 18C at the moment… no idea about humidity, but the laundry is always slightly humid.

    Lorraine: Yes, I’ve been slack in writing this one up. A few other committments getting in the way of my blogging schedule :) Lucky for you, the wonderful Pauline of Slow Food has just put the recipe for the marmalade “crostata” (I typed crostini somehow…) onto the slow food perth website. Enjoy :)

    Barbara: Nothing stopping you from a little home butchery :)

    Ed: I can’t vouch for Slow Food Melbourne, but these Perth guys are very active, and very organised. There’s a great community of local producers and food lovers who bring together some excellent events.

    Brad: You just lost me at the “I hate coriander” statement… but I’ll try and pretend I didn’t just read it, and that the vast majority of South East Asian food is not lost to your tastebuds… As for how much sausage I’ve eaten… probably not much… although I did recently finish another 1kg steak from Hippo Creek… which was enough.

    Thanh: I think I’ve heard of Lazar’s before, possibly on Ed’s site. I’ll add it my list of places to visit next time I hit Melbourne… which is now substantial, and if it continues to grow I’ll be able to roll home.

    Keep up the sausage love everyone :)

  7. Sadly, I think Lazars recently sold their building and closed. Plenty of other places though, although perhaps not for those sausages.

  8. Excellent post Matt.
    I can taste the sausages. . . One of my Italian mates, gives me a few homemade sausages every so often and they are truly amazing. In large part because of the all the fat and the fresh herbs they have used.

  9. Matt,

    I’m not sure what the deal is with coriander, because I love Asian food and I have undoubtedly consumed vast quantities of it since my initial bad reaction to it. Maybe my tastebuds aren’t keen on the fresh (and un-chopped) coriander used as a garnish. The strange thing is that I love Hoegaarden which has coriander as an ingredient.

    As for your sausage eating feats, I must say I’m quite disappointed. My record is 14 (at least that’s what my friend Jeremy swears he saw me eat one hot summer back in ’98).

    The secret is not to cut the links.

  10. Ed: that’s too bad… I had an Ethiopian restaurant here that I loved which just closed its doors. It’s a shame when good places go under.

    Edward: We might have to schedule a wine for food exchange :) I have a feeling everything tastes that much better knowing that you’ve made it yourself.

    Brad: Sounds like your coriander aversion is at least manageable. Maybe it’s a mental thing ? My sausage eating feats are indeed laughable… but after my last Hippo Creek experience I swore off eating as a competitive sport… these days it’s all about quality…

    Ash: You foolhardy vegan you… Next time read the warning signs ;)

  11. WOW! It’s just like “The Secret”!!!
    Ask for a Marmalade Crostata recipe and it “appears”…
    Oooo… I wonder if it will work for an ECM Giotto and a Mini Mazzer? ;-)

    What’s with those camera hogging blog celebrities Kamran and Louise?
    They’re getting more exposure that Brad and Angelina this week (check out Grendel’s site)!

  12. Lorraine: You better keep on asking :) If any giotto’s and mazzers are magically appearing they better be in my kitchen dammit… :) And how can you not want to photograph such an attractive couple ?? Although I think it’s mainly because Kamran kept getting in the way while I was trying to get the meat :)

    Ash: And what would life be without cheese ? Now wait… there’s an idea… Cheese sausages ?! Although something tells me it’s be done before… badly.

  13. Great pics and it looks like it was an awesome time – and yummy sausages too

    (dreams of having that with feta…)

  14. Matt – great story and pics, also have sausage envy!

    Looks like Kamran got right into it too. We finished a brew last night – howdya reckon those would go with a nice pale ale or even a ginger beer?

    hmmmmm my mind drifts winewards when I see those sausages though.

  15. Lazar’s has definitely closed, which is a shame. Their steak and sausages were great. Just as I found out about the places, it closes. I had the last meal there on the final night of the restaurant. The waiters were all about to tear up, saying that they have worked there for 20+ years.

  16. Hey there Matt! Glad you got to sample the real Italian experience courtesy of Vincenzo. It’s really amazing getting an insight into these great Italian food traditions. I love it so much, I’m an IBM! Italian By Marriage.

  17. Matt sei di Monte San Biagio or i tuoi genitori?Sai per caso la ricetta della salsiccia Montecellana? Sale,Pepe a Coriandolo?Al Kilo?

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