Mark Pastore's San Francisco-based Boccalone has grown to become a world-famous salumi shop, serving salted, cured, high-quality pig to chefs and discerning locals for years. (Salumi is Italian for "cured meats," typically pork; salami is a type of salumi). That's because everything is handmade, fermented, cured, and specially spiced to create a particular effect – some herbal, some spicy, others kissed with smoke. Only a portion of his menu is available online at any given time, so unless you swing by Boccalone's San Fran store, the best way to gain access to Pastore's latest, exclusive masterpiece is to join the Salumi Society.
"The Salumi Society is how we started our business," says Pastore. Starting back in 2007, Bay Area foodies would come together for monthly meet-ups to collect their stipend of lovingly crafted cured meats. That venture helped to finance the shop and get Boccalone off the ground. Now the rest of us can get in on the same action (without having to make monthly visits to the Bay Area). Each shipment is a curated medley of what is bluntly described as "Tasty Salted Pig Parts," which is a sampler of some of Boccalone's more than two dozen offerings. So a typical sacchetto (or "small") box might include a marbled pancetta, a chunky paté, fresh breakfast sausage, and, of course, a paper-wrapped chub of cured goodness. Whatever the mix, you can be sure it's the epitome of artisanal cured meats. [$58 to $66 a month for 3- to 12-month subscriptions; boccalone.com]