Sunday, February 22, 2009

Rey at Knight

We are very happy to be the first retailer to offer our new friend Rey Knight's Salumi. Like Salumi out of Seattle or Fra Mani in Bezerkley, Rey makes fresh, hand-made salumi right here in San Diego. We love discovering fine local products to offer in the shop. You may have run into Rey and his team at one of San Diego's local farmer's markets. If you like salumi, Knight Salumi is a must try.

Rey was the first chef at The Linkery, then left to pursue his love of all things cured. He recently got the USDA approval, and can now distribute to retail shops. Timing is everything. We tasted a few varieties of Knight Salumi at the Hillcrest farmer's market, and immediately set upon convincing Rey to let Taste carry his product. We had to wait a couple months until he completed the USDA dance, which seems to be quite a complex and lengthy process. Happily that's now behind him and we're thrilled to offer several different styles of his fine salumi.

A few weeks ago, Rey came by and did a free tasting of a few different varieties of his salumi for our customers. The next week he was featured in a KUSI news segment where he kindly plugged Taste as the place to buy his salumi. It's been tough keeping up with demand ever since! So far we've carried six varieties and hope to continue mixing it up.

Here's a rundown of some of my (George's) favorites:

Coppa Molina - My favorite! This is very spicy, the kind that builds a burn on the lips and heat in your throat. My first bite sent me running for a cold beer. But once I had the beer, I couldn't stop eating it. Heat is indeed addictive, particularly when coupled with great flavor. Made with pork, fatback, sea salt, sugar, pimenton, black pepper and spices. Spices must be where the red pepper flakes hide, 'cause they're sure in there. If you like Coppa, you'll love this version.

Tuscan Inspired - pork, fatback, sea salt, garlic and spices deliver the flavors of Italy. I like this one with some Piave Vecchio cheese, crusty bread, rustic red wine and a crisp green apple.

Finocchiona - We're out as I write this, so I don't have the ingredient list in front of me, but this is my 2nd favorite after the Coppa. Made with fennel pollen and fennel seed, and very lean, this is a great choice for a cheese and meat board, or to surprise your guests with a salumi flavor they probably haven't tried.

Hungarian - Just tried this one over the weekend, and love it. Made with beef, pork, sea salt, peppercorns, garlic, white wine, spices (that must be where the paprika lives). Great spicy flavors, but not hot. At Wine Steals' brunch this morning, I had Icaro in their kitchen make me some roasted potatoes and mix some of this in. Really good. The potatoes soaked up some of the spice and fat, taking them to another level.

Basically, every variety of Rey's salumi we've tried have been excellent! We hope he is the new undiscovered gem in San Diego. Look for his products at Taste, and select local farmer's markets, and discover him for yourself.

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