Meat Your Maker

European-style charcuterie from a Portland salumist

When they're placed next to the experimental and whimsical cured offerings we've seen on charcuterie plates in the past year, classics like Italian soppressata and peppery finocchiona may look blasé.

But when it comes to Portland, Oregon-based salumi masters Olympic Provisions, the old-world offerings are taking back the spotlight thanks to the handiwork of chef-turned-salumist Elias Cairo.

Cairo studied the charcuterie craft in Europe, where he learned traditional methods such as using natural edible molds to help age meats. Now he calls on his training and chef background to craft 12 European-style salumi featuring high-quality heritage pork and seasonings and spices he prepares fresh each day.

Now, the company has launched an online store with the full range of products, so charcuterie lovers everywhere can taste the results of Cairo's deft hands. Start with the elemental Saucisson D'Arles, which he makes with only pork and salt. Then graduate to regionally inspired styles such as the Saucisson D'Alsace, an Alsatian pub salami flavored with warming clove, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon.

Or toss a paprika-laced Chorizo Rioja in your picnic basket this summer. It's good enough to eat on the go without any accompaniment–and we can't say the same for all of those newcomers.