If you’re a fan of the air-freighted buffalo mozzarella and rosy waves of San Danielle prosciutto that grace the pizze at DOC Pizza & Mozzarella Bar, prepare to mount a frontal assault on Tony Nicolini’s Lygon Street deli.
It’s a spot lit slice o’ Italy festooned with so many pork products you could reverse engineer a pig. Gnocchi is made fresh on premises; they have six types of mozzarella, prickly pear paste and Campari. There’s beer jelly, mustard and a cow-goat-and-ewes-milk robiola cheese that's barely holding it together.
The products are mostly those approved by Italy’s recipe-protection police (Denominazione di origine controllata) which means they’re extra good, and extra pricey.
In true DOC style you’ll get a full greeting in Italian and an impassioned speech with your salumi (which, incidentally, refers to all salt-cured meats, of which salami – spiced air-dried sausages – are an example).
One guy actually stops making lasagne to give us a full low down, mapping each smallgood out on a hastily drawn pig.
“There is nothing the pig doesn’t give,” he tells us, circling the nose and tail. “These we cook with spices, till soft, and we make the cotechino – everybody wants this sausage at Christmas.”
Go bacon-like guanciale from the jowl, and slabs of pancetta, candy-striped with fat. There’s dark, marbled capocollo, and prosciutto: the hind legs, salted and compressed to force the blood out, then hung to dry-age. It’s only one-upped by culatello – ham candy, made like prosciutto but from just the sweetest part of the leg.
Get it sliced to order and bag it to go with crusty loaves of bread, golden peaches and a bottle of Prosecco. Can’t wait to get home? They'll serve it to you at the little tables out front with a wine and a wink.