I’ve made a drool of myself at many an Italian food forum. . .Peck in Milan, Volpetti in Rome, F.lli Burgio in Siracusa and now DiBruno Bros. in Philadelphia. Founded in 1939 by siblings Danny and Joe DiBruno in South Philly’s Italian Market, the emporium now has a location in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood, mere minutes from a borrowed apartment where Walter and I enjoyed a weekend get-away.
Our intention of picking up a few hard-to-find pantry staples such as salted anchovies and D.O.P. canned San Marzano tomatoes, quickly morphed into “how many of these exquisite goodies can we buy for an impromptu picnic?”
Here’s what we managed: Seafood salad, artichokes alla romana, mozzarella bocconcini, peppadews stuffed with gorgonzola, red peppers stuffed with ricotta, stuffed grape leaves, olive roll, ciabatta roll, winter salami, runny-pungent taleggio cheese and shaved culatello that melted on our tongues. Walter, the king of the panino, actually extricated the culatello from his sandwich to savor each slice on its own.
Culatello is not a salume you see in every deli case. Restaurateur Tony May in his Italian Cuisine: Basic Cooking Techniques describes it as “one of the most prized and expensive cured meats” and a “very particular type of salume, produced in a small area around Parma. . . the most singular aspect of culatello is that it has the same characteristics of prosciutto but is aged into a casing” . . . with a taste “much sweeter and smoother” than prosciutto.
The DiBruno culatello is produced by Armandino Batali (Mario’s dad) at Salumi Artisan Cured Meats in Seattle. And, yes, it is pricey but at $8 for our picnic portion for two, it was money very, very well spent.
Next time you’re in the City of Brotherly Love, you may want to indulge in a DiBruno’s picnic.DiBruno Bros. – Rittenhouse Square 1730 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19013 215.665.9220
For an online taste, visit www.dibruno.com