Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Mad Meat Dudes: Il Mondo Vecchio

There's some serious madness going on in Denver, meat-style that is. And there are a few mad men behind the scenes getting it done: Mark DeNittis, Gennaro DeSantis and Adam "DeSacco" Sacks.
The name of the game is "Salumi Fatto a Manno", and these guys are killing it at Il Mondo Vecchio. This meat shop is bringing The Old World to Denver in a handbasket.  Just picture a leg of Prosciutto di Parma hanging in an Italian salumeria, or perhaps a busy Chicago loading dock bustling with hungry shopmakers. Granted, these guys are closer to the latter, but with both Gennaro and Mark being first-generation Italian-Americans, Italy isn't too far from home and they're bringing it to yours.

Bringing family recipes to their small 3-man operation in Overland, these guys take care of everything from curing to grinding, seasoning and aging, and ultimately opening up their stuff to the outside world for you to savor on loading dock fridays from 2:30-6:30, and to take some home yourself. You can order and learn more at their website, or call 303-744-MEAT. You should probably just call that number to say you did, I think you automatically get man points for that.

Anyways, as for loading dock Friday's that's exactly what my buddy Jeremy and I did one Friday afternoon, and the following is an abbreviated recap of our outing. 

If you know where you're going, it's not too hard to find the place on Mississippi and Cherokee. It is however, hard to know from the plain exterior that there's some crazy good stuff going on inside.

 So aptly described on their loading dock window, Il Mondo Vecchio boasts a trio of veterans rocking Salumi Fatto a Manno, or "homemade salami".  I agree, it sounds so much better in Italian. It tastes better in Italian too.
When you walk in, a carving block will likely be well adorned with varieties of pancetta, sausages, and if you're lucky some of the most delicious meat in the form of lamb or beef  bresaola... from heaven of course. Mark "Chef D" is the man to look for, he's normally around to walk you through the ins an outs of what's great, greater and best.

Lop Chong: described as a roller coaster ride of flavors and so close to the truth. Teriyaki, ginger, heat. Literally layer after layer, flavor after flavor.  This place might as well be Willy Wonka's meat factory...

Duck breast prosciuttinni, pork pancetta, and a DeNittis Family recipe: The Calabrese Soppresate

The best pepperoni ever. Don't even think about putting this on a pizza, unless you're Brava Pizzeria (Downtown Denver's clocktower pizza wagon). Fuhgeddaboudit.

My personal favorite: Lamb Bresaola. It's not available until July, but well worth the wait. Trust me. Beef Bresaola available in June, made with Charolais.

Maybe if you're lucky you'll get to try some wine made by Gennaro's Uncle Tony, cellared (literally made in one) just north of here. Pairs amazingly with the Lop Chong, believe it or not.

In back, you'll find a slew of steel racks in the dry-aging room carrying a few hundred pounds of sausage, and some choice top-secret pieces hanging behind them.

Saucisse Sec, Portuguese Longanzia, Veal Pancetta, Guancie Baciate, buttah and more. These guys have the whole catalog, and more varieties to come.

That's the run down on Il Mondo Vecchio, or at least an example of what you can experience on a given Friday afternoon. Make sure to swing by the land of meat slicers and Ferraris or give me a call and I'll hit it up with you. Either way, you need to find out how good this stuff is. You can also find them at the Cherry Creek Farmer's market, and their stuff is featured on menus across the country.

Major props to the guys from IMV for putting out some stellar stuff.  Dish It Up!

Some other recent pieces about IMV:

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