Today, I'm going to showcase another salami maker that Mindy and I source products from - OLLI Salumeria Company. For founders Olli Colmignoli and Chip Vosmik, satisfaction from making people happy was not something they expected so quick after they started the OLLI Salumeria Company in 2010. When you don't have to travel to Italy to get the good stuff, I can see why they are making people so happy.
Olli Colmignoli, who previously worked for a larger salumi manufacturer in Italy founded by his Grandfather, knew there was a better way to make salumi as he sat with his friend, Chip Vosmik, over a glass of wine one night discussing potential business ideas. Olli stated, "We can’t get the hams over here like the ones we have in Italy." So Chip was like, "I'll get the Berkshire hams, and you make the parma ham using the 160 year-old classic recipes from Italy." Boom - OLLI Salumeria Company was born.
Since 2010, OLLI Salumeria Company has been making salami the way it’s been made in Italy for generations, and they’re making it here in America, in the heart of Virginia.
Olli and Chip have taken their ways of thinking different to all aspects of the business. How? It starts with the sourcing of pigs, then many fine-tuned processes, magically, turn the pork and seasonings into logs of love. The final step, the final touch, is the recycled packaging.
See the original video about OLLI when just getting started.
All of our organic pork comes from pigs that are humanely pasture-raised and free of growth agents and antibiotics. All feed is organic. We want the flavor of the pork to be the star. Amazing salumi is impacted by the quality of the pork and that is why OLLI goes to great lengths to obtain the best heritage pigs available for a superior product.
OLLI has engineered a gentle curing process, preserving the superior quality of our heritage-breed pork. The process begins by hand-rubbing the meat with carefully mixed spice blends. They are then cooled for a while to allow the salt and spices to penetrate. By carefully monitoring temperature and humidity while curing, they maintain very low temperatures (never exceeding 70°F).
Products are hung in nets or laid on racks for drying, where they are closely monitored for appearance, taste, and water activity (moisture levels) in our state-of-the-art curing rooms.
Traditionally, salami has been made with natural beef casing. When OLLI started out they used beef casing, too. Hukki is a collagen-coated mesh. The Hukki casing is more hygienic and it performs far better (than beef casing) during the fermentation and drying stages. It’s also easier to peel, and unlike natural beef casing, it leaves behind no residue.
Photo of meats curing using the hukki mesh system
While the methods and recipes that we use to make our salami are hundreds of years old, our packaging employs the latest cutting-edge technology to ensure that our salami does not become too dry. After months of research we sourced a unique dual-layer material imported from Germany. The outer layer is unbleached parchment wrapper, while the inner layer is a barrier film that keeps the salami in a controlled atmosphere within the package.
Inside, though is where the technology is brought to bear. Each package is flushed with oxygen-free air (composed of two inert gases). Because all oxygen is flushed out, there is no further oxidation, thus protecting the salami’s flavor and texture. Because the pouch is airtight, the salami does not continue to dry beyond its optimal state. Due to this superior packaging system, our salami is shelf-stable for nine months in a cool environment.
Lastly is the wrapper. The outer layer is a simple, unbleached parchment. No need for fancy colors or unnecessary printing. The sticker on each salami will tell you what to expect. The inside of this parchment is coated with a light film that allows us to flush the oxygen from the package. This will protect the flavor and texture of the salami inside.
OLLI is growing. See the video below of their new facility in Oceanside, CA.
Vino Pair is using the Napoli and Genoa salami together with Inna Jam's Seascape Strawberry Jam, Pretzel Crisps, Mascarpone Cheese, and crushed pistachios over the top. All of that sweet, salty, fatty flavors are paired with a melon-flavored Pinot Rose from New Zealand. It's our definition of summer.
Fun fact. If you look closely at the OLLI logo, there's a subtle, hidden pig there. Take a look for yourself.