Welcome to Charc Attack! All throughout The Five Days of Meat, New Orleans chefs will talk about what goes into making the finest charcuterie programs our city has to offer, from Creole and Cajun specialties to old school Italian traditions. Here now, Eater kicks off the series with Domenica's Alon Shaya.
Domenica in the CBD is the culmination of years of training, learning, and work by Alon Shaya, who lived in Parma, Italy in order to learn traditional Italian techniques for pizza, pasta, and curing meat. Shaya offers one of the most comprehensive and traditional salumi programs in the city, and his dedication to the craft of charcuterie is evident in his carefully cured meats.
What's on the board?
Every day we offer a selection of about ten items that can be chosen by the guest, or the affettati misti, which is the chef's special.
We have culatello, which is pork leg aged for a year and a half to two years in a hog bladder in a traditional teardrop shape.There's the salami gentile, a country salami from Parma seasoned with juniper, garlic, red wine, and nutmeg. We have a salami calbrese, coppa, pancetta, and lonza, which is cured pork loin. Also biroldo, which is a blood sausage served chilled, seasoned with rosemary and sea salt. Our Soppressata Di Toscana is like a Florentine head cheese made with rosemary and orange zest.
We created the salumi station so we'd have access to high quality products, bringing in whole pigs every couple of weeks from Chappapeela Farms. We break it down, and it works itself into all these different products. We also have duck liver pate, bresaola - which is a cured Italian beef style - and lardo, which is cured fatback.
What's your favorite meat that you make?
I don't really have a favorite, but I especially enjoy the culatello because it ages for so long. It has a nutty, sweet flavor. In Parma, they're famous for their culatello. I had never seen it before going there and it blew me away.
How did you learn to make charcuterie?
I trained in Parma for a year, curing meat in a cold butcher shop. It's always been my dream as a chef to open an Italian restaurant. As I lived in Italy, I collected all these recipes and techniques, and the menu at Domenica really reflects that.
What would you suggest pairing with this charcuterie board, drink-wise?
Definitely a Lambrusco, preferably one from Emilia-Romagna. I always encourage guests to order a glass of the Lambrusco with our cured meats.
Who else in town do you think is honoring charcuterie traditions?
I like what Delmonico's is doing, as well as Del Porto on the Northshore. They do some really good stuff at Cochon Butcher too.