Years ago in Italy, and other European countries for that matter, one pig could feed an entire family and see them through the cold winter months and beyond. Every part of the animal was useful in some way, and when the families in a small town or village would complete this annual ritual they would come together and celebrate their hard work with music, dance, wine and of course plenty of cold cuts.
Although Italians and other European nationalities who emigrated to Australia continued and brought over this tradition with them, the coming together or celebration part of the ritual had all but vanished. That was until a group of friends in Melbourne’s northern suburbs decided that the celebration was just as important a part of the ritual as the making. Why? Because when people come together they share things. They share knowledge, experiences and stories. We can enrich each other and learn from each other and this is the essence of a strong community. The Melbourne Salami Festa’s aim is to ensure that this tradition’s future is assured and to revive an important part of the ritual and share it with all of Melbourne.
So after months of meetings and preparations the inaugural Melbourne Salami Festa was launched on a Sunday afternoon the 16th of September 2012.
It was a resounding success with over 2,000 people descending onto High Street Thornbury.
We had unknowingly uncovered what we now affectionately call ‘The Salami Army’. But of course no meeting of fellow salami makers would be complete without finding out which family or group of friends makes the best salami in Melbourne and perhaps Australia. Fifty‐three entries were submitted in that first year and competition was very close. The judges, some of who are top chefs in Melbourne’s best restaurants were amazed with the quality of product they tasted.
Since that special day in September in 2012, the Melbourne Salami Festa has grown with the 2013 moving to a much bigger location at the Northcote Town Hall with 2,500 people attending and 63 official entries into competition. So if you have ever claimed to make the perfect salami, this is your chance to go head to head with some of the best around.
But it’s not all about competition. The Northcote Town Hall itself will be transformed into a salumi tasting hall with some of Australia’s best artisan brands displaying and selling their product. A few of Melbourne’s top restaurants will also have mini pop up versions of themselves while live music plays on the main stage. For those keen on learning a thing or two there will be various demonstrations that cover breaking down the pig, to making salami and mortadella. But of course the heroes of the day are the makers who have entered the competition so you’ll have the chance to meet the families competing, taste their wares and learn their secrets.