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: