ACS Travelogue: Day 1

How awesome is it that my “work” entails flying to Seattle, tasting America’s best cheeses, and commingling with fellow cheese nerds? This week Emilio and I are attending the American Cheese Society meetings, and I will post our daily activities right here. Try not to get jealous.

With full appreciation for the irony, the first venture on our cheese-themed week was to the Mecca of American Charcuterie: Salumi Artisan Cured Meats. Owned and operated by Armandino Batali and his daughters, Gina and Denise, (the father and sisters of Mario Batali), Salumi has been producing what many consider to be the finest line of Salami, Coppa, Culatello and other manifestations of pork since 2002. If length of line is any proof of quality, check this out:

And the daily specials:

That’s us!

Gina was kind enough to join us for lunch, which was comprised of the following simple and beautifully-prepared items:

House-made Heritage Culatello and Spicy Coppa

Penne with Cherry Tomatoes and Arugula

Mole Salami with Sharp Provolone, Green Peppers and Onions

Prosciutto, Fig and Sweet Goat Cheese

There was also Curried Squash Soup, homemade Abruzzese meatballs, Beans, Pancetta and Tomatoes, and plenty of wine. Sure, it sounds like a lot for two guys at lunch, but Di Bruno employees know how to make food disappear.

Emilio contemplates the damage he’s done.

Our appetites sated (a sensation that does not linger for either of us), we walked off some of the calories as we made our way to Pike Place Market. The closest Philly has to this is Reading Terminal, but Pike Place is open air, three levels, and offer peaches the size of cantaloupes. Additionally, Pike Place houses Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, producer of one of this nation’s finest Cheddars. In this tiny corner establishment, you can witness the cheese’s production:

And you can taste it in what they advertise as The World’s Best Mac and Cheese:

Its hard to argue…it certainly was an awesome second lunch:

Tonight we fight the jet lag and attend the opening ceremonies. Check back tomorrow for updates.