I've been considering writing a post or open letter regarding the soon-to-close Il Mondo Vecchio. While I simply could have written a private message, I believe that my questions and concerns are shared by others who will benefit from a public airing.
Let me start by saying, although I do not know you beyond some Facebook exchanges, I have tried many of your products and I believe that the value they add to the overall quality of salumi products in this country is immeasurable. It's undeniable that you've had a positive impact on the community here in the Denver-area, even supporting local farms and producers publicly. A rising tide raises all ships, and anything that gets people eating salumi that isn't mass-produced is fine with me.
But what stumps me is how you've handled the recent closing of your company. There are a number of holes I see based on my experience and knowledge - perhaps some transparency that could be provided by you. My main issue comes from the way in which you seem to have been a victim of the USDA regulations.
You have been open for three years now, and according to what I've read, have worked closely with the USDA from the start, but do not wish to pursue a "challenge" to the USDA, in which you provide proof as to your method of production being safe. All this being said, out here in Boulder County, where the evangelical foodies seem to congregate with all of their ideals and misinformation in tow, I feel as though the posture you have taken may be doing a great disservice to the honesty and transparency within the world of salumi-making.
The points I want to address are:
Your refusal to use nitrate when by USDA regulations you are required to use a form of nitrate unless you provide proof as to your methods being sound. Your rejection of starter cultures and how that relates to product safety.
The salt volume requirements set forth by the USDA can also be challenged by providing proof of sound methods
3) The idea that USDA Challenges can be provided to support your methods and procedures.
4) The integrity of Old World Methods and how the regulations affect them.
5) Your decision to close vs. the USDA forcing you to close
I have followed these articles about Il Mondo Vecchio's closing, and would like to address the following:
Most recent email blast The Ugliness of Unmaking Sausages Exclusive: Il Mondo Vecchio Will Close at the End of the Month USDA full of balogna [SIC] for forcing Demise of Colorado's Sole Artisan Salumeria Arrive'derci to Il Mondo Vecchio