(link to the video)
We were looking for a new deli in Rome nearby for our daily cheese and salumi and such, given a sort of spat we had over the holidays with our old one. (It was an expensive place but familiar and, we thought, friendly. So when we placed a sizable order for our Christmas dinner we expected at least the usual relative consideration. Instead, the cold cuts I picked up weren’t up to even supermarket standard, fatty, sliced all wrong – the prosciutto was thick, the Bologna too thin – the small pizzas were dry on top and burned below, the wines poor, the cheeses old-ish… and not only did they not apologize or let alone offer a refund, when we did our shopping there once again to give it one last chance, we got more of the same.
I haven’t been back. Another victim of the crisis. Fewer clients means more corner-cutting for shop owners at their customer’s expense. So it goes.) Anyway after trying a couple other delis we stopped in one not so farther away, kind of touristy it seemed but no more unpromising than others. As soon as I stepped inside…well, I knew we’d found it. Quality everywhere, soft liver salami, thick-cut excellent mortadella, Rocca capperini and stuffed peppers, a superb selection of wine and oil and pasta, all functionally organized in one smallish room.
As I stood in line to place my order I heard the owner behind the counter, an aged man without much hair but with smart, small dark eyes and a rock-like chin, slip a moment from a Roman to an Abruzzesan dialect. A-ha. Another one.
So it was and is with the younger guy in the above video, Antonio Angelucci, only he lives in Lausanne, Switzerland. One day I was wandering about the Friday farmer’s market in a different city not so far away (Sion) a bit hopelessly – in most of Switzerland they have great cheese and great, ah, cheese and then they also have really good, uh, cheese. But God help you if you’re looking for anything else. It’s almost better to head for the nearest kebab joint – when my eyes at first, then nose, spotted this odd oasis in the distance. I sauntered up close presuming that as I did I’d find the usual leather-ish lunch meats and local salami which usually have the color, consistency and flavor of, say, slightly burned marshmallows with little pieces of breakfast cereal in it. The variety is utterly dependent on which cereal is used. I, personally, am somewhat crazy for the coco-puff salami. Yuk-yuk.
I was wrong. The stand was filled with delicious stuff: real Barolo-aged cheese, heavenly small fresh goat-milk squares, artisan-made ravioli, salami felino…it was like stepping out in Cleveland in February to 70 degrees and sunshine. You’re not sure if it’s a dream, or if you’ve stepped into paradise’ waiting room. Then I noted the accent in Antonio’s voice as he waited on the Swiss in front of me. “Italian?” I asked.
“Amerigo-Abruzzan,” and so on.
In case you’re in that part of the world and get desperate for some real good eats, below is a link to Antonio’s main store in Lausanne. On Friday mornings he’s in Sion, usually, about half-way through the market. http://angeluccis.com/service-personnalise-commander.php
…if you happen to know of any other great places to find great produce in the Valais, please let us know in the comments…