The Specialty Food Association’s 2018 sofi™ Award winners, announced this April, honored some of the most delicious products in specialty food. From cured meats and cheeses to sauces, spreads, confections, spices, and more, the field featured some of the finest foods from around the globe.
Among the medal winners this year, in the extremely competitive Meat, Poultry, and Charcuterie category, was 'Nduja Artisans Salumeria; the company took home a gold medal for its Finocchiona.
I recently had a chance to chat with company Co-Founder Antonio Fiasche, a recent recipient of the 2018 StarChefs Rising Star Award for Artisan Charcuterie, to learn more about the company’s finocchiona, brick-and-mortar market location, and its impending rebrand and plans for 2018.
“It is a huge accomplishment for us,” Antonio tells me in regards to the company’s recent sofi win. “We like to say that we’re not reinventing the wheel, just trying to make it taste better. We make our finocchiona with humanely raised Berkshire pork that never receives antibiotics. We use lots of Tuscan fennel pollen, seeds, and Chianti. We pride ourselves in sourcing the best ingredients possible.”
2018 will also see the company pursue a rebrand to better reflect the breadth of products it has to offer. While 'Nduja Artisans was inspired by bringing spicy and delicious ‘nduja to the United States, the salumeria has grown to produce a full line of cured meats—from coppa to chorizo, tartufo to sopressata.
“The decision to rebrand 'Nduja Artisans was one necessitated by our evolution as a company. 'Nduja (pronounced n-doo-yah), the spreadable salami from Calabria, Italy, was the passion and motivation behind starting our company,” says Antonio. “We were one of the first to introduce 'nduja on a commercial scale to the U.S. market. At the time, our sole focus was in bringing my family's craft to the states and making the very best 'nduja available. And in that we've been fortunate to find success. We began making and offering other various types of salumi. And the demand for those products grew. We've since introduced other cooked, sliced, and 'ready to eat' products, and now we have a much broader offering of handcrafted salumi and deli products.”
The company has begun the process of rebranding its products under the name Tempesta—with new branding produced in conjunction with the branding agency OVO. Last year, the company opened a brick-and-mortar Tempesta Market in Chicago, and the market is already garnering accolades of its own—taking home Chicago Magazine’s Best New Restaurant Award.
Antonio tells me the new brand is intended to reflect both the company’s new home and the storied culinary tradition from whence it came.
“While 'Nduja will always be the cornerstone of our history—and continue to be a leading product—as a name it no longer supported our vision as a company. Moreover, 'Nduja has always proved difficult for non-Italian-speakers to pronounce,” notes Antonio. “Tempesta will serve as the new brand name for all of our products. It will take some time to transition between the two, but we are excited about the new name and the opportunity it represents. It harkens to our Italian heritage, as the word for ‘storm’—and to our new home, Chicago, as the ‘Windy City’ (yes, we do know that's a political reference!). The visual representation of this can be seen in the Tempesta Goddess, our symbol, as well as the various storm-inspired illustrations, like our wave-patterned deli paper. And if anyone is in Chicago, we invite them to visit our newly-opened deli Tempesta Market!”
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