Photo: urbanfoodie33, Flickr.
You won't find many titles that contain both the words "vice president" and "shop manager," and you won't find many salumi shops like Boccalone either. The salumeria in San Francisco's Ferry Building is one of the best places in the country to experience the sheer joy of chowing down on high-quality, slow-cured pork. We recently caught up with Executive Vice President Tatiana Graf and asked her about her day-to-day routine working in a pig lover's paradise.
One day about a month after we had opened the shop, an older woman came in and started looking around. When I greeted her, she asked in a slightly gruff way, "You don't make head cheese, do you?" I said, "Of course we do. We call it Coppa di Testa. Would you like to try some?" She was surprised and said "Sure." I could tell she wasn't convinced that I knew what I was talking about. I got a sample and brought it over for her to try. While she tasted it, I explained a little about our company and how we make make everything in the traditional, old-world style. She considered for a minute and then a smile grew across her face. She looked me in the eye and told me she hadn't tasted any head cheese that good since her father, who was a butcher, had made it when she was a kid. She said the flavor took her right back to her childhood. All the gruffness in her voice was gone. She was happy and so was I.
She wasn't one of our "typical" customers. We normally see three types: the salumi aficionado who loves the variety of products we offer, the downtown office worker who wants something truly good for lunch, and the curious tourist who is drawn in by our tagline, "Tasty Salted Pig Parts."
Our most popular item is salame, and the question I'm asked most often is "what's the difference between salami and salumi?" Salumi are cured meats, predominantly pork and predominately Italian. Salami is just one type of salumi. There's also prosciutto, mortadella, pancetta, etc.
I've been here for a year and a half, and it never gets old. If I do get bored on a slow day, I can always explore the depths of my co-workers' brains -- now that's entertainment.
Tatiana Graf, Executive Vice President/Shop Manager, Boccalone