Toponia Miller and Taylor Boetticher didn’t spend their honeymoon in Paris or the Caribbean. Instead, these two young Bay Area chefs planned a six-month trip to Europe with one thing in mind: meat. Armed with a passion for French charcuterie and Italian salumi, they made it a point to visit towns and regions in France, Spain, and Italy known for their cured meats.
While in Tuscany, they met one of Italy’s foremost salumi makers, Dario Cecchini, and ended up spending three months at his side learning how to turn humble cuts of pork, like legs and shoulders, into rich, flavorful salumi. That’s when it became clear they were not going to open a restaurant or start a catering business back in San Francisco. Instead, they would cure their own meats.
Together with their friend and fellow chef Chuck Traugott, they started Fatted Calf, an artisanal charcuterie that handcrafts a variety of salumi—including a subtly spiced fennel salame, a mild and rustic Genoa salame, and a tender, silky bresaola (salt-cured beef)—as well as fresh sausages and French-style pâtés, confits, and terrines.
Toponia, Taylor, and Chuck make all their salumi and meats by hand and in small batches out of a rented kitchen. They use only sustainably raised, antibiotic-free meats and high-quality sea salts and seasonings, including locally grown organic garlic and herbs as well as other organic ingredients when they’re available. Their pork comes from heritage breeds, mainly Berkshires and Red Waddles, but they don’t always use the same breed for one kind of salame. “One batch is never exactly the same as the next; there are always subtle differences,” says Toponia. Their salumi are hearty and delicious, with delicate hints of spices and seasonings that enhance the pork flavor rather than overwhelm it.
They sell their products exclusively at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market and at San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market, but they have plans to open their own shop this fall—with an annexed kitchen and curing room—in the new Oxbow Public Market in Napa, California. For more information, visit FattedCalf.com.