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La Cultura Salumi Expands to Include Retail Store

January 12, 2015

A local business is marrying technology with tradition to create products in the new, old fashioned way.

La Cultura Salumi, located on Hamilton Road, has been in operation for about two years, creating Italian-style dry-aged meat.

Now, they’re offering residents a chance to try some of La Cultura’s array of dry aged beef, pork, and water buffalo products at their recently-opened retail store.

Frank and Jane Abballe say their business is a result of their lifelong love of exceptional food.

“Frank has developed all the recipes. He’s studied, over the last 30 years, he’s worked and been mentored by others who have been using the process for generations and generations,” said Bryon Friesen, who’s involved with production, sales and retail at the business.

In November, the business was awarded a Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence.

Beef products include Carpaccio and Bresaola. Pork products include Pancetta, Culatello, Fiocco, Capocollo, Cacciatore and Lardo. They also feature water buffalo Slinzega – flavoured with salt, cinnamon, cloves, garlic and pepper.

“The people that are here, they love meat. They’re passionate about it. You can’t help but be passionate about it when you’re with them,” said Friesen on Friday. “For me, it’s not going to a job that I can’t wait to get out of. I can’t wait to get here and get involved.”

Meat arrives at the facility already butchered. From there it goes into a temperature and humidity controlled drying rooms.

“We get the piece of meat and it’s already butchered the way we want it. We take it, cure it we add our spices – secret formulas – and our secret methods all happen here,” said Friesen. “Fresh air from the outside is circled through as well, so everything is the old way of doing things. It’s traditional recipes and we use new technology to ensure that old way of doing things is perfectly done.”

Their state-of-the-art equipment is imported from Italy. Italians, Friesen says, are the masters of making dry-aged meat.

When the meat is ready, it heads to the packaging room. It could be vacuum sealed, giving it a long shelf life, or it could be sliced deli-style and packaged.

“These meats are healthy, they are low in sodium and they’re delicious. It’s not like mass-produced meat. There’s an art to the process and we care about it,” he said. “We look at every single piece of meat we want it to meet our high standards, and hopefully the consumer sees that we’re making a real quality product.”

Currently, their meat comes from outside of the local area but they are searching for local farmers to team up with.

“We’d be happy to work with local farmers, if we can find farmers to produce animals the way we want them produced and the age we want them to be, we’d be happy to work with them,” he said.

The store also has some buffalo cheese and yogurts, produced from the company’s buffalo farm in Quebec.

“This cheese is best to eat fresh. So our plan is to have the cheese here for the weekends and by the next cycle, it’s brand new. It’s as fresh as you’re going to get.”

Friesen says the business wants to expand on other people’s products, and get involved with companies that would compliment La Cultura. “We feel, in this area, we have a lot of those,” he said.

The store, at 842 Hamilton Road, is open Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; or by appointment or chance.

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