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Silly for Sausages

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Photograph by Jared CastaldiFor years, Billy Rawstrom taught a culinary course on garde manger, the French practice of preparing and presenting cold food and charcuterie—pâtés, confit, terrines and sausage.

His next course could be called Global Studies through Sausage.

Rawstrom’s gourmet deli and salumeria, Maiale (2800 Lancaster Ave., Suite 3, Wilmington, 691-5269), opened in the fall. It sells everything from Italian salumi, Spanish chorizo and andouille to German bratwurst, Polish kielbasa and good ol’ American hot dogs.

“If I can find a recipe I like, I’ll grind it,” Rawstrom says.

The shop keeps 10 to 15 varieties of handmade artisan sausages every day, plus selections of dry-cured salumi like Genoa, sopressata, pepperoni and finocchiona, and cured Italian bacons such as pancetta and guanciale.

Maiale (say May-all-ay) caters, too, and serves breakfast and lunch. The lunch menu is loaded with—what else?—mouthwatering sausage sandwiches, plus homemade soups and salads.

“I wanted to open a business that brings my abilities to the forefront,” says Rawstrom, a Johnson and Wales grad who’s taught cooking classes at DelTech. “And I didn’t want to open a regular sandwich shop and have to compete with Capriotti’s and Casapulla’s.”

Chefs and gourmands in Wilmington typically have to drive to Philly’s Italian Market for inventory like Rawstrom’s. Not anymore. Rawstrom hopes to sell his products wholesale to local restaurants before long. “There was definitely a need,” he says. —Matt Amis

Page 2: The Joy of Slooooow…

 

Ellen Barrosse (left) and Kyara Panula enjoy a Slow Food potluck dinner. Photograph by Jared CastaldiThe Joy of Slooooow…

If you deplore fast food and think eats worth eating come from quality ingredients prepared the traditional way, there’s good news: You’ve got company. A group of area foodies has formed Delaware’s first local chapter of Slow Food, the Italy-based international organization that promotes local, regional, and traditional foods.

The new chapter held its first potluck dinner in January so area food-lovers could meet and share favorite dishes. The group isn’t restricted to tie-dyed vegans, says lead organizer Kyara Panula. All are welcome. The impetus came from technical writing firm Synchrogenix’s CEO Ellen Barrosse, a conservative carnivore who, in her spare time, raises pigs and turkeys at her farm. It’s all about the food: Barrosse says the goal is simply to support the growth and consumption of local food—and to have fun in the process.

Besides periodic potlucks, Panula hopes to get educational efforts going to teach people, including kids, how rewarding it is to prepare meals the old-fashioned way and to enjoy in like manner—seated at a table, with unhurried conviviality. In a word, slowly.

Since 1986, Slow Food has grown to 100,000 members around with world. There are chapters in 47 states. (Kansas and the Dakotas are the holdouts.) Clearly the First State was among the last to get on board. But if the movement snowballs and more people end up eating better, establishing a Slow Foods chapter here may prove—like the food it celebrates—to have been worth the wait.

For more information, email slowfoodbrandywinevalley@yahoo.com.  —Matt Freeman

Page 3: Wine-ing

 

Wilmington Wine Guild members Dave Schlueter (left) and Rob Torres de-stem grapes. Wine-ing

Once a month, a small yet informed faction of men meet to discuss things like grape blends, soil properties and the advantages of Hungarian oak barrels over Italian chestnut.

They are the Wilmington Wine Guild, and they are utterly enamored with making, talking, drinking and sharing wine. None are winemakers by trade, but the group of 20 contains some of the most talented home vintners in the area.

All that’s required to join is a love and keen interest in making wine, though some have a clear involvement in wine-related fields.

Guild member Rob Torres owns Something Wine, a winemaking supply store in Wilmington. DuPont retiree Jim Riggleman has a doctorate in biology. He grows his own grapes in Maryland. Member Mario Patone has family in the winemaking business.

Torres puts grapes through a press.The thread that unites all members, however, is adherence to the wine lifestyle. “We celebrate and enjoy sharing our wine as an event, a lifestyle,” Torres says. “We take it seriously.”

On the third Wednesday of each month, the club, which has existed since 1968, congregates at a member’s home, each with a bottle of his homemade wine to be critiqued by the group.

“The greatest satisfaction is pouring a glass of wine for somebody and having them really like it,” Torres says. “And then they say, ‘Wow, you made this?’”

The guild also wows the festival-going public, appearing regularly at the Dover Downs Wine and Music Festival, as well as the Societa da Vinci’s Vendemmia Wine Festival and Saint Anthony’s Italian Festival, both in Wilmington. They routinely walk away with blue ribbons and trophies. Six of nine medals awarded during Vendemmia last year went to Guild members. “We’re going to get kicked out because we win too much,” Torres says with a laugh.

Keep an eye out for the guild at various winemaking demonstrations this spring.  —Matt Amis

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