Salumi Get This Straight…
Fra’ Mani makes standout salumi inspired by the flavors, techniques, and culture of Italy. Their products honor tradition and craft and they operate with a focus on a healthy agricultural ecosystem. As they shared with us, that means sourcing animals from family farms committed to humane animal welfare and never adding antibiotics or hormones. It means making products with flavor profiles that highlight the meat, not mask it. It means thoughtfully sourcing the ingredients they’re adding to their salumi from the best purveyors they can find. And it means committing to the most sustainable practices possible (like utilizing 90% of each pig) to ensure that they’re doing their part to help create a better food system for all.
The company was founded in 2006 by acclaimed chef and cookbook author Paul Bertolli in Berkley, California. Bertolli spent decades leading world-renowned kitchens (like Chez Panisse and Oliveto) and years in Italy, steeping himself in Tuscan cuisine while learning about curing, fermenting, and foraging. Eventually, he took his extensive depth of knowledge about butchering, nose-to-tail cooking, and traditional cooking methods and launched Fra’ Mani with Tom Garrity. (Fun fact: The two co-founders met when Bertolli was in graduate school at the University of Toronto pursuing a passion for 4th-century history!)
Today, Fra’ Mani still takes a serious approach to everything they do, with a focus on “flavor, craft, creativity, and nuance.” But their easy-going California ethos shines through, too—from treating time like a key ingredient (“because you can’t rush delicious”) to a belief statement focused on a “time not taken is time wasted” philosophy (“Take a second, a minute, a day to relish the moment with something absolutely delicious”). It’s a winning combination: Fra’ Mani products regularly garner positive press and accolades both for the quality of their products as well as their business practices:
- Serious Eats says theirs is “a gorgeous example of classic Italian-styled Soppressata,”
- The New York Times declares, “Paul Bertolli was at the forefront of the trend of chefs curing their own charcuterie. So dedicated was he that he gave up his job to devote himself full-time to making Italian-cured meats,” and,
- The Specialty Food Association says, “Fra’Mani has proved to be meaningful work, helping to regenerate the production of small, specialty foods in the U.S.”
Needless to say, we’re big fans, too. And, we appreciate that the appreciation is mutual! Tom Garrity says, “What’s the point of making amazing food if you can’t share it with people who enjoy it? And we don’t think there’s a better partner to help us do that than Zingerman’s … who’s been curating and sharing the best of the best for decades.” That certainly includes the special selection of Fra’ Mani products we carry here at the Deli—good luck deciding which one to try first!
Meet Fra’ Mani’s Meats
Hand-trimmed, uncured ham rubbed with fresh rosemary. Fra’ Mani calls it “flat-out delicious,” and we wholeheartedly agree: This ham has long been a Deli favorite. We featured it on a sandwich, the since retired #77 “Jimmy Wants Rosemary’s Baby” along with handmade fresh mozzarella cheese from Zingerman’s Creamery, succulent tomatoes, and red wine vinegar on Zingerman’s Bakehouse Sicilian Sesame Semolina bread. Rosemary Ham is a staple on our Catering menu, too, appearing on the Complete Classic Deli Tray (our most popular tray!) and the Petite Quiche on the Breakfast menu, where it’s paired with Swiss Emmental cheese in a bite-sized quiche made with Zingerman’s Creamery cream cheese and fresh farm eggs, all folded into a perfect puff pastry.
At home, we like to pack Rosemary Ham for picnics and pile it up on sandwiches. Connor Valone, Deli Specialty Foods Supervisor and Meat Buyer raves:
I love to eat Fra’ Mani’s Rosemary Ham with salt-boiled potatoes, picnic-style with cornichons and Villa Realle sun-kissed tomatoes, in place of lardons in a Salade Lyonnaise, or alongside a bubbling tartiflette! It makes a fun addition to burrata-arugula-garlic-olive oil pizza as well. The Rosemary Ham is SO much more than a sandwich ham (although it is my favorite sandwich ham, too).
This clove-scented champion (It’s a Good Food Award winner) is modeled after Sopressa Vicentina of Northern Italy. This salame will round out any meat and cheese board. Fra’ Mani recommends enjoying it “thinly sliced on a good country bread topped with a milk, creamy cheese” and pairing it with a light-bodied red wine.
Fra’ Mani Genoa
Their version of a traditional American Genoa salame… with a few improvements. It all starts with medium-coarse ground prime pork cuts, seasoned with garlic, rosemary, and wine, and finished with a blend of spices including a hint of nutmeg. Enjoy it on a snack plate with Gorgonzola dolce, walnut, and honey paired with a glass of bright white wine, like a Timorasso. Or bake it into an impanate, (Fra’ Mani says to think of it as “an Italian empanada”) with potatoes, onions, and asiago cheese. (Tip: For a streamlined spin on making a stuffed pastry pocket, pick up a package of Pizza Dough!)
Fra’ Mani Salame Rosa
This salume is made with hand-cut pork shoulder meat, marbled with pistachio, seasoned with coriander, white pepper, and mace, then slow roasted over mixed fruitwood for a balanced and gently sweet flavor. Stack slices in an Italian sub or on a simple sandwich with provolone on ciabatta. As for what Fra’ Mani recommends, they say, “Honestly, we’d up the sweet vermouth in a Negroni. Enjoy the Salame Rosa on its own. You’re welcome.”
Delicious simplicity. This all-pork salame is comprised of coarsely cut shoulder and leg meat and seasoned gently with sea salt, garlic, black pepper, and white wine. Fra’ Mani coaxes out the naturally sweet flavor of the pork during the slow curing process. We like it on an antipasto platter. Fra’ Mani recommends a radicchio salad with crispy chickpeas, celery hearts, and sliced or diced Nostrano, adding, “Drizzle with a little good extra virgin olive oil and be done with it.”
Fra’ Mani With Love: A Morty Sando Contest
Yes, that is exactly what it sounds like! In June 2023, Fra’ Mani sponsored their first-ever Mortadella Sandwich Competition. As they said, it was a “no-holds-barred, nearly rule-free competition where some of the most talented and creative sandwich shops in the country went face-to-face to create the sandwich of their dreams.”
We went head to head with 18 other sandwich shops around the country to create an epic mortadella sandwich. Our submission, Mike’s Marvelous Morty Masterpiece, manifests a mega morty mouthful of flavor (we double dog dare you to say that three times fast). Deli Sandwich Chef Mike married Fra’ Mani Mortadella with garlic scape mayo, beer-battered tomatillos, and Michigan arugula and then muscled it all between two massive slices of Bakehouse White bread from Zingerman’s Bakehouse. Mighty magical, if we do say so ourselves. But it wasn’t just our opinion that mattered: Sandwiches were shared on Instagram and voting happened online. And… WE WON!!
With its stellar seasonal ingredients, Mike’s Marvelous Morty Masterpiece is unlikely to take a permanent spot on our menu, we are celebrating our victory with an event (…possibly a first-annual…?!) on our patio at the end of September, the Fra’ Mani Festa Al Fresco! Guests will get to try our competition-winning creation, fabulous Italian salads from our kitchen, and samples of hard cider and non-alcoholic switchel from JK’s Farmhouse Cider. But that’s not all we’re celebrating! The evening’s festivities will also include a silent auction to benefit Food Gatherers and the presentation of our prize: a $1,500 donation to Food Gatherers from Fra’ Mani.