The company: Olympic Provisions, making some the of country's finest old world charcuterie in Portland, Oregon.
The people: Chief Salumist, Elias Cairo, along with a passionate supporting cast of meat crafters.
Why we picked them: I've toured the majority of artisan cured meat houses in the country and while many of them are notably impressive, Olympic Provisions is an absolute stand-out. Raised by a Greek restaurateur father who cured meat at home and mentored by master Swiss Chef, Annegret Schlumpf, Elias has taken "handmade" to heart. With deference to purity and an outrageously skilled hand, the team at Olympic Provisions has quickly risen to salumi stardom - a well-deserved title. Starting with fresh heritage pork from nearby Carlton Farms, they hand-butcher the shoulders to 100% lean, and add back hand-cut fatback. It's an uncommon technique that results in charcuterie that's as unctuous and smooth as it is true in pure pork flavor. As well, their spices are ground daily in-house so that the flavors are as vivid as can be. But all of these fanatical quests for quality would mean nothing if their curing craft weren't refined. And that is where Elias Cairo excels. His approach to salami-making is patient and graceful and his curing room is a thing of beauty: strings of picnic-style salumi, dusted in natural white mold (the good mold!), with bold flavors that are as good as they can possibly be.
Photo Credit : Travel Oregon