Speck, Lomo And Cured Meats From Olli Salumeria Americana

Olli Salumeria Americana beats Italy at its own meat

When you give a fourth-generation Italian salumiere the best pigs in the world, good things happen.

At Virginia's Olli Salumeria Americana, that means pancetta, coppa and other traditional Italian-style cured meats that trump even the best options from the Old Country.

At his new Richmond-based company, Oliviero Colmignoli, a descendant of the family that started Italy's Fiorucci salumi company, uses his family's 150-year-old recipes to cure his meats.

Rather than settle for standard pork, Olli works with the most renowned farms–including EcoFriendly and South Carolina's Caw Caw Creek–to secure heritage Berkshire and Mangalitsa pigs.

Right off the slicer, Colmignoli's meats are richly marbled, with superb flavor that needs no crackers, mustards or pickles.

Dark, peppery speck ($20 per pound) has the smokiness of bacon in transparently thin slices. Guanciale ($14 per pound) is subtly nutty and transforms simple carbonara into a restaurant-worthy composition. Hot lomo ($22 per pound) is made in the Spanish style and hand-rubbed with slightly sweet spices, then aged for three months.

In January, the company will release a prosciutto that's been aged at least 14 months, rather than the standard year. There will also be four different spiced salamis, including a Neapolitan style and one seasoned with just salt and pepper.

Available at Brabo, 1600 King St., Alexandria, 703-894-3440 or braborestaurant.com; The Italian Store, 3123 Lee Hwy., Arlington, 703-528-6266 or italianstore.com