That's right. The department of meat. Behind these doors. Don't you want to go inside and take at tour? (DON'T YOU?!)
Elias and Lots of Meat
Like Elias, we all had to suit up in white butcher coats before entering the "DEPT." He let us peek inside to the climate-controlled meat chamber. They've engineered 2500 cubic feet of dry room and 250 cubic feet of incubation, all done with cross fans and low humidifiers. For dry-cured meats, controlling the environment’s humidity and temperature is crucial to ensuring that meats age properly. And it's extremely dangerous. But luckily there's a USDA inspector about ten feet away, so we're all safe! Phew. Yum.
All of the salumi is hand-made and meticulously labeled. It first hangs in here for two to three days at 100% humidity. We spotted three chorizos (from northern, central and southern Spain), as well as a saucisson sec, saucisson d’Alsace, and finocchiona. Elias is also experimenting with meats you can’t buy elsewhere else in Oregon, and outside of Europe in general.
These snowy-looking salumi have developed a “white bloom," or sausage mold. This is not a bad thing. In fact, the mold helps slow down moisture removal from the sausage, and prevents the growth of mold (the real bad kind).
Oh, hey John!
That's John, another one of the salumists at Olympic Provisions. He worked at a butchery in France before this. He keeps a close eye on the daily aging progress. The salumi needs to be in here for about 18 to 22 days. And then it's time to gobble it up...
Have you ever seen a more beautiful charcuterie plate? It was stuh-nning. Starting with the deep red one on the bottom left moving clockwise: Rioja chorizo, sopressatta, mortadella, a sinus-blasting stone ground mustard, cornichons, housemade zucchini pickles, and piled in the middle: country-style pork terrine and pork liver mousse.
There was more
On the left, the Navarre chorizo, which had a smoked paprika punch and spices that hit you slowly while chewing. On the right, that's the lukanika! Elias grew up eating this Greek-style salami: it's cumin-big but nicely balanced with the orange zest.
All of the dry salamis made in the back can also be purchased here. The prices vary. There's another glass case devoted to the cooked, smoked, and cured meats, including this pistachio-studded pork terrine and the pork liver mousse.
More MEAT Signage
Did we tell you they sell meat here? These four red block letters are pretty mesmerizing, and they sparkle a bit.