Casalingo is a father-and-son operation producing award-winning fermented smallgoods, hams and other charcuterie. Domenic Ventura has been making salumi for as long as he can remember. He grew up above the family butcher shop in Nicholson Street, Fitzroy North, cutting pork alongside his father Carmine, who came to Australia in the late 1940s from Abruzzo in Italy. He learned the trade from his father.
After 50 years in retail butchery, Domenic and his son, also Carmine, opened a small factory in Clayton specialising in smallgoods. Casalingo is today a respected name in the industry, winning awards for its traditional fermented and air-dried salami as well as its seasonal hams and pork snacks.
Made with Victorian pork to an old northern Italian recipe is the Casalingo Felino Salami. The recipe is simple: the main ingredients are pork, pork fat, salt and pepper. This small sausage is naturally fermented and then air-dried for four weeks to make a delicious salami that is traditionally served with small piece of Parmigiano Reggiano. “I like it with a glass of King Valley nebbiolo,” says young Carmine.
The pair also produce a succulent boned leg ham made with Victorian pork. Boned, brined, rolled and netted, the Casalingo Heritage Ham is gently hot-smoked over Victorian ash chips until the rind takes on a lovely golden hue.
Then there are the little packets of Crackle & Co Victorian pork crackling that are sold around the country through Dan Murphy’s.
The people behind Casalingo are quiet achievers, exporting premium Victorian grown and made products to Asia and selling local smallgoods through high-end retailers around the nation.