A Butcher's Paradise: Brothers at Work

willinger apr3 butcher.jpg

Photo by Faith Willinger


The elegant graphic sign reads Damini Macelleria e Affini, "Butcher Shop and Affinities." The Damini brothers--butcher Giampietro and chef Giorgio--have created a polyvalent gastronomic paradise in the village of Arzignano, outside Vicenza.

Begin the tour at the entrance, with baskets of bread: fresh and local, long-lasting altamura from Puglia, slender grissini. At the butcher shop, Giampietro sells carefully raised and fed Limousine beef--he works the whole carcass. Giorgio, who trained in some of Italy's most interesting restaurants, knows what to do with the lesser cuts, which he cooks at the restaurant.

The salumeria case displays an amazing selection of salami and cheese. In the bottega, shelves are lined with gourmet products--local, Italian, and beyond. The enoteca's selection of wine, artisanal beer, and distillates come from all over Italy. Many wines are biodynamic. All are offered in the restaurant, by the bottle or glass.

There's a coffee bar with coffee supplied by cult roaster Gianni Frasi's Torrefazione Giamaica. The salottino, or parlor, is for hanging out--read a guidebook or magazine, leaf through a cookbook, have a glass of wine, an aperitivo, a pot of tea, or even a sandwich, and check out the designer housewares.

Damini Macelleria e Affini, via Generale Cadorna 31, Arzignano 36071, tel. 0444-452-914, fax 0444-458-363, closed Sunday afternoon and Monday.

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Faith Willinger is a chef, author, and born-again Italian. She moved to Italy in 1973 and has spent over 30 years searching for the best food from the Alps to Sicily. More

Faith Heller Willinger is a born-again Italian. She moved to Italy in 1973 and was seduced by Italian regional cooking. Faith has spent more than 30 years searching for the best food and wine, as well as the world beyond the table from the Alps to Sicily. She has no regrets about mileage or calories. Faith was awarded the prestigious San Pellegrino award for outstanding work as an ambassador of Italian cooking. She lives full-time in Florence with her Tuscan husband, Massimo. Her son Max lives in Milan. She's the author of the bestselling (9th printing) guidebook Eating in Italy, the cookbook Red, White & Greens, and the narrative recipe book Adventures of an Italian Food Lover. Faith teaches in her kitchen in Florence on Wednesdays, supplied with freshly picked produce from her favorite farmers. Check out her web site at www.faithwillinger.com.

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