I hardly ever met a salami I didn't like, but the Fra' Mani Salametti far surpasses any others I've tried.
As soon as you unwrap it, you'll notice a rich, spicy scent, not unlike the inside of a wine cave. The texture is chewy with a pleasant springiness, finishing with the sensation of luscious, silky fat. As the flavors open up, there's a distinctly funky tang of natural fermentation followed by a healthy hit of pepper and garlic.
This salumi has soul. You can literally taste the time that went into making it and it's worth every penny of the rather hefty price tag. Paul Bertolli certainly knows what he's doing. Serve it with crusty bread, sweet, milky sheep's milk cheeses from Spain, red or rose wine and raw oysters.
Fra' Mani sausage comes two ways: classic fennely mild Italian and spicy Italian seasoned with dried chilies and a healthy hit of garlic. They're country style rustic. Simple serving suggestion: Put them into a cast iron pan with a little oil and brown until just firm, being careful not to overcook. Remove the sausages from the pan and add sliced onions and red pepper strips. Sauté in the brown sausage drippings, over high heat, stirring, until the vegetables begin to caramelize. Deglaze with a little red wine. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss the sausages back in to warm. Serve with bread and a salad.
Prices vary depending on retail location: Salumi is about $15 ea and sausages run about $7.95 for 12 oz.