In 1898, John Volpi arrived in America from his home in Milan, Italy, bringing with him little more than a craft and a vision. Having learned from his elders the ancient European art of dry curing, John had a dream of importing the centuries-old traditions across the ocean—thus continuing to serve his customers once they migrated to America.
Four years later, in 1902, he opened Volpi Foods at the intersection of two dirt roads in the St. Louis neighborhood known as The Hill. There, he created cacciatore—dried salami small enough to fit into the pockets of the local clay miners. He used only local ingredients and suppliers, and dried the meats using the same method he’d learned in Italy: opening and shutting windows to control the temperature and humidity of the air that circulated throughout the room. The response to John’s exquisite craftsmanship was overwhelming. He soon added delicacies such as prosciutto, guanciale, pancetta, and coppa.
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