I’m a huge Chris Cosentino fan. Incanto is one of my favorite restaurants, and ever since Boccalone Salumeria opened up in the Ferry Plaza, I’ve been a regular visitor. Cosentino was pushing offal before offal was cool, and thanks to his efforts, more and more people these days are willing to try things like tuna heart and beef kidney.
For the squeamish, Boccalone Salumeria offers more traditional salumis, but in a myriad of flavors. During my last visit, I bought a brown sugar and fennel salame sandwich to snack on.
The slow-aged salame was perfectly spiced and the sandwich had bits of sweet fig to balance things out. My only wish is that the sandwich had more actual salame; the bread to meat ratio was a little higher than I prefer. But Boccalone makes a great product, and I’m due to return and try another one of their cured meats.
Boccalone carries soppressata, prosciutto, guanciale, pancetta, paté and all the usual suspects, but what I’m really interested in is their nduja, which they began carrying earlier this year. Nduja is a soft, spreadable, spicy, salame that originated in Calabria and I’ve never heard of anything like it. Intrigued? So am I.
Oh, and they carry mortadella with black truffles. As an Iranian-American, mortadella holds a special place in my heart (the pistachio-flecked, garlicky variety is the preferred deli meat of Iranians around the world), so I know I’ll be picking up a pound or two of Boccalone’s version when I visit next.
Chris, if you’re reading this, God bless your offal-loving soul. Offal is no longer something that elicits cries of disgust when I mention it to fellow eaters. On the contrary, now they welcome it with open arms.
(Editor's notes: Make sure to catch Boccalone Salumeria's salumi cycle in NBCBayArea.com's on-air spots on NBC Bay Area TV.)