Il Mondo Vecchio gets cheeky with guanciale, salumi


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Nathan Federico
This is the second in a series of pieces profiling Colorado-grown products...and what some local restaurants do with them. Read the first installment, on Hazel Dell mushrooms, here.

Sticky, fragrant, bright orange fat. Rendered from chunks of silky guanciale, it slathers the agliolini all' Amatriciana pasta at Cellar Wine Bar, cutting into the tart San Marzano tomatoes bolstered by crispy bits of pork cheek. "Guanciale fat is my new favorite fat," says Cellar executive chef Joe Freemond. "I can't get enough of it."

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Chris Utterback
Cellar Wine Bar's tagliolini all' Amatriciana.
Guanciale, or pig cheeks cured with salt and spices, has only recently become available in America. Not smoked like bacon and fattier than pancetta, guanciale is the true meat of Rome, and is often paired with the classic Roman dish Amatriciana. (And woe be those who pile guanciale with Parmesan instead of Roman Pecorino.)

"It has a flavor that's unique, but kind of hard to place. It's got that good bacon-y, pork-y flavor to it, but it's a little more nuanced," says Freemond. But if you want some guanciale for your own kitchen, there's really only one place to turn: Il Mondo Vecchio.

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Nathan Federico
DeNittis in his Denver office.
Mark DeNittis had already been elbow-deep in meat for more than a decade when he and Gennaro DeSantis opened up Il Mondo Vecchio Salumi in 2009. From serving as the lead meat-cutting instructor for Johnson & Wales to opening the Rocky Mountain Institute of Meat, DeNittis translated his butchery bona fides into making salumi the same way his Italian-American family had in his childhood.

Location Info

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Il Mondo Vecchio - CLOSED

1174 S. Cherokee St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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3 comments
Kevin Burke
Kevin Burke

It's my understanding that the difference between a HCP certification (local) and the USDA (national) is that by having the inspector there daily basically certifies that the product is safe after leaving your facility whereas the HCP only certifies that it's safe to be served within the confines on the production facility.  I haven't found anything publicly noting that individuals have gotten sick from house-cured programs, I would hope that would be publicly available.   

DonSalumi DeNittis
DonSalumi DeNittis

Colo Salumi/Charcuterie Focus. I agree and it is good lots of talented individuals doing it, doing it well, doing it right and putting out some great products. Curious as to if there are any documented cases of individuals getting sick from eating house-cured salumi (even those that have a HCP with the city) or if it's implied that it's simply possible? Good question regarding documented cases. What have your findings been? And yes it is very real and possible. The more concerning thing regarding that is the potential of cases that go undocumented.Product leaving our facility must be tested for several microbial factors before allowing it to be released for sale. Additionally the facility itself, equipment and food contact surfaces are subject to mandatory monthly testing for LM and other microbial aspect. How rigorous are the "house-cured" salumi programs out there? I've seen both some well done things and things that are so outrageously questionable on every level. 

Kevin Burke
Kevin Burke

Love the focus on Colorado Charcuterie producers.  Curious as to if there are any documented cases of individuals getting sick from eating house-cured salumi (even those that have a HCP with the city) or if it's implied that it's simply possible?

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