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Paul Bertolli started Fra Mani in 2006 in Berkeley, CA. He had been making cured meats, in increasing quantities, during the two decades he spent working as a chef, first at Chez Panisse and then at Oliveto where he was also the co-owner. One early source of inspiration was his grandfather who was a salumiere and shared tastes of cured meats from his cellars with Paul at an early age. In 2003, Bertolli penned Cooking by Hand which offered home cooks an in-depth look at his careful approach to getting the best out of each ingredient - one of the driving forces in the kitchen at Oliveto. The book included a section on hog butchering, sausage making and formulas for curing meat. Fra Mani is focused on meats that extend from Italian pastoral traditions. The pork that they use comes from pig farms throughout the Midwest. All are producers who adhere to high standards of animal husbandry where pigs are allowed to roam, wallow and root together, and are committed to farming in an environmentally responsible manner where waste from the pigs is turned back into the soil as fertilizer. The product line from Fra Mani includes cured salamis (sopressata), cooked and pressed meats (mortadella), whole cooked meats (turkeys and hams), whole cured meats (pancetta), pates and fresh sausages.
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