Exclusive: Il Mondo Vecchio will close at the end of the month, ceasing its salumi and sausage production

DeNittis says neither option was feasible. "Had we done the 'challenge study,' it would have been prohibitively expensive -- thousands of dollars -- and it takes at least thirty days to test every batch, which means that we couldn't sell or produce any dry-cured products during those thirty-day periods," he says. And there was no way he was going to add nitrates, nitrites or acids -- or anything else that degraded his sausages. "Look, I'm not going to compromise my name, or the quality of my products. Yes, I could have acquiesced, but then I'd have a product that I wouldn't be proud of, and I've built my reputation on making artisan sausages using only sea salt -- and I am proud of that."

And while DeNittis could have continued to churn out -- and sell -- his fresh sausages, which aren't bound by the same guidelines as the dry-cured sausages, he says it doesn't make sense in the grand scheme of things. "It's the dry-cured salumi that's in question, and that's significant, because it makes up 85 percent of our business," he notes.

Left with two choices, neither of which was acceptable, DeNittis and DeSantis made the decision to close the plant, which will cease production as of November 30, the same day that Il Mondo Vecchio's lease expires.

DeNittis, not surprisingly, is devastated but resilient. "It hurts and it sucks, but it's been an amazing journey," he allows, revealing that he has several projects in the works to take his mind off the end of Il Mondo Vecchio. He's partnering with Ian Chisholm, the owner-chef of Amerigo, for example, to host butchery classes -- a collaboration he's looking forward to. "It gives me the opportunity to reconnect with a former student of mine," says DeNittis, a former instructor at Johnson & Wales University. "You'll definitely see me doing some other industry-related, meat-centric things, too, and I'd like to get my foot back into the education sector."

In the meantime, Il Mondo Vecchio will continue to sell its salumi during Loading Dock Fridays, from 1 to 6 p.m., which gives consumers the opportunity to purchase DeNittis's artisan salumi. And on the last Friday of this month -- the final Loading Dock hurrah -- DeNittis promises a bash. "It'll definitely be a big celebration to kick off the future," he says.

Save me some pepperoni.

P.S.: This is how DeNittis sums up his feelings:


Location Info

Il Mondo Vecchio - CLOSED

1174 S. Cherokee St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant


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25 comments
sasha.breeze.e
sasha.breeze.e

Very sad to see Mondo Vecchio close at the end of the month. Love those cured meats.

Foodfox
Foodfox

This is sad to see but doesn't seem like the whole story...if there has been a USDA inspector there why now? And if they are being "shut down" how can they legally still be open for the rest of November selling sausage that is "questionable"? Seems like a sausage cover up to many.

michellebaldwin73
michellebaldwin73

Terrible news. I work at Ghost Plate and Tap and I love pointing out my pal Mark's work on the menu to tourists who love that they can sample cured meat created locally. I know he'll find a new, awesome place in the Denver culinary community, but this is definitely a big loss. 

Gustov
Gustov

Is anyone going to say what many chefs really think about Il Mondo Vecchio?  Mark is a super nice guy and its nice to have a local artisan.  But... with the exception of a few of his varieties, his stuff wasn't great and its overpriced.  I know people will defend to the death the reputation of a local guy, but the truth is the truth as harsh as it may be.

BlackShirtBrew
BlackShirtBrew

@Olivea_Denver agreed 100%. The fundamentals are all wrong. Long live the artisans! Cook/brew free or die!

terrible
terrible

I am not a tin foil hat type of person, but really, this smacks of corruption.  This smacks of the USDA being in bed with some larger competitor who was threatened by MV.

 

Who has ever heard of a regional director dropping in with an inspector? 

 

This begs for an investigative report from a good journalist.

trufflehound
trufflehound

USDA.... You suck.... Mark has had a USDA inspector on site for the last three years, watching him produce...he has had no violations...and your still fucking with him...go fuck with the big company's that continue to kill people with there salmonella, Botchalisim...etc.etc.etc. No you choose to fuck with the small business, that has no record of violation's...he must not be able to contribute to the right lobiest....

Denverfoodrebel
Denverfoodrebel

Governor Hickenlooper, Colorado Representatives, Colorado Senators: pull your heads out of the sand and HELP!  We are all trying to create JOBS, COMMUNITY, and to keep more money LOCAL.  HELP by creating a pathway for artisan producers to ply their trade unburdened by onerous and irrelevant laws rules and policies created BY and FOR mega-producers and giant processors.  Let the people choose what the wish to eat. 

FDA and USDA: you are a blunt instrument; institutionally inelegant and unintelligent.  Our laws support your brutish intervention in our lives--arbitrarily dictating what we can and cannot eat.

This is such a shame on so many levels.

If you are not outraged, you're not paying attention. 

Something must be done.

 

Denverfoodrebel
Denverfoodrebel

Thousands of rounds of ammunition and semi-automatic weapons are seen as less dangerous than dry-cured meats by our politicians here in the Land of the Free.  What a complete farce the USDA is.  There I said it.  YOU ARE A FARCE USDA.  You have become a caricature of yourselves.  Your rules and laws FAIL to stop hundreds and hundreds of food-borne illnesses caused by shit-laden factory food.  FAIL.

You allow pink slime, and yet this guy gets punked???

Cigarettes:  Kill half a million Americans annually; additional cost of health-care for smokers is inestimable: LEGAL.

Alcohol: Kills a quarter of a million Americans annually--contributes to the break-up of families, and is a factor in over half of all DV incidents:  LEGAL.

Handguns: Legal

Semi-Automatic assault rifles: LEGAL.

JamesRugile
JamesRugile

This is really a shame. The chef who taught me all the basics of butchery eight years ago at JWU and who I have had a great respect for ever since. Truly a loss for the Denver charcuterie scene. You'll always have my support Chef!

iwillkeepbuyingit
iwillkeepbuyingit

Go underground Mark! You know you could kill it with your reputation and devotion to your craft. 

lindsaypowers
lindsaypowers

What a travesty. Is this the way to promote innovation is the local food industry? You all have done a fabulous job of providing a high quality product in a much needed market. I hope you will find a way to overcome this obstacle soon.

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr topcommenter

Fuck this crap--good for them for not caving, and I'll gladly patronize whatever they decide to do next.

 

And yes, it would be nice for our Governor and Mayor to intervene, but I'm not holding my breath.

bmelt
bmelt

This is terrible. Working with and for Mark over the past couple of years, I can honestly say that losing a true artist in his field does nothing for the future of our food scene. We'll be seeing you down there over the next couple of weeks Chef.

michaelcasey_4
michaelcasey_4

Devastating blow for the Colorado scene! It would be nice if Mayor Hancock and Governor Hickenlooper could intervene or at least get a reconsideration.

 

There is a great article from the 2007 Fall issue of Gastronimica that everyone should track down and read. It's called "The Salami Maker Who Fought the Law." By Sarah DiGregario, it focused on this issue and should be brought back to limelight! What is happening is bullshit!

d0nn13re
d0nn13re

Wow! I'm so sad to hear Mondo Vecchio will be closing at the end of the month. My thoughts are with you Mondo Vecchio. Stupid USDA.

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

Mark and his salumi have been one of the best things about Denver over the last few years; this is a real loss. Everyone get down to the loading dock for the new few weeks before their closing day. Show your support and send Mark off with a fat wallet at least. Good luck in future endeavors!

mobilhomme
mobilhomme

Outrageous. Anytime you hear someone lamenting the factory-ization of America's food, or American's poor eating habits, or the obesity epidemic, you only need to remember four letters: USDA (ok, seven: FDA, too).

Denver Dave
Denver Dave topcommenter

Your tax dollars at work.  I feel so much safer - not.

jennajohansen
jennajohansen

Thank you to Mark and everyone at IMV who made salumi so amazing that I had to move to Denver to be a part of it!! I am proud of all you have done over these years, and THANK YOU for every slice and every stick of delicious meaty goodness. 

FoodScientist
FoodScientist

this is whats killing small business, conform to the mega-producers model of adding chemicals, pay more, or shut down. 

Kenny
Kenny

I'm seriously depressed about this news. Thanks, Mark, for sticking to your principles of offering quality products. 

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

 @Gustov Umm, whose truth are you referring to? You state that many chefs think this, but you don't state what you think or if you are a chef at all or if you have any credentials to back up this opinion. 

 

Do you even know what you are tasting when you eat salumi (and particularly salumi from IMV)? The products at il Mondo Vecchio have no added sodium nitrite, which creates a very distinct flavor that most people associate with cured meats in America. They are also not acidulated, so the tanginess of many over-processed meat products is not there. The products also contain the minimal amount of salt needed to cure the meat, meaning that the finished products are not salt bombs. What you taste is the meat itself, whether pork or beef, a little salt, the bacterial culture that grows naturally and helps preserve the meat, and whatever spices are in the particular product. I have never tasted such pure expressions of meat cured in a natural way as what has been made by IMV.

 

People who have grown used to the ingredients and processes used by larger, more industrial companies may not understand why the meats have the flavor and texture they do, so maybe it's harder to sell sell products that are not loaded with artificial flavors, unneeded sweeteners, chemical preservatives, and way more salt than is needed.

 

But I guess it's easy to toss around baseless accusations and criticisms when you haven't put in the hard work and dedication it takes to make a quality product. Let us know when you are selling something you've made yourself that's even a fraction of a percentage as good as what IMV has offered over the past few years.

knowledge
knowledge

 @Gustov Gustov, I have been making salumi with Mark for over 2 years, I have been in the industry for over 8 years, have a culinary degree, and am finishing my bachelors.   That being said I do have a decent understanding of the various brands of salumi available in the US.  There is not a single other USDA inspected Salumi producer in the US producing the quality of the products that we have been and absolutely nobody doing it with strictly utah sea salt.  I suggest you check your food knowledge...son

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