The other day I was invited to the celebration, a great party, a party with a Michelin starred chef and a glorious amount of food and bubbly drinks. There was a lot of laughter and kissing of cheeks and smiles. It was they type of party you would take someone special, someone you really wanted to impress and enjoy their company. Only one thing, that someone could not be vegetarian!

Unfortunately/fortunately my someone special is. He is the best type of herbivore, quietly spoken, non-judgemental and completely incapable of sermonising on the benefits a meat-free diet. But for me this event proved one thing:

I could NEVER EVER be a vegetarian.

The event, organised by the Istiuto Valorizzazione Salumi Italiani IVSI, was a celebration of all things cured and carne in Italy. And my, what a celebration it was.

For meat lovers out there, there is no need to explain the smooth unctuous (apologies in advance for adjective usage) salty taste that slides round your mouth when eating good meat products. I hate to be coarse about it but it’s the combination of fat and muscle flesh that combines in a beautiful marriage of flavours. For this reason it is the salame that is top of my favourites list. It was the most prized inhabitant of my school sandwiches along with some cool lettuce and puffy white bread when I was a child and it is the mainstay of any antipasti platter as an adult now. It is also partly why I have no image of the delicious salame on tasting at this event. There wasn’t nearly long enough between the plate to my bocca to photograph its deliciousness.

I did however manage to capture some other tasty meaty morsels and the spectacular carving implement used to shave them from their bulk.

Item 1: Prosciotto di Parma PDO (yes that is Francesco Mazzei of L’anima)

Item 2: Miniature speck and pomadoro pizza  bites.

Item 3: Fried polenta w/ prosciutto di Parma

Item 4: Mortodella (My Mother’s favourite)

Item 5: prosciutto di Parma w/shaved black truffle drizzled oil, honey and vinegar.