6 Minute Read | By Gino De Blasio
Stage 4 of the Giro and finally someone has seen sense to bring this thing to the peninsula; bravo race directors, bravo! It only took three stages and putting the author under ridiculous pressure about apples, venison and stroopwafel… Anyway, stage 4 sees the story of the hipster, the foodie and a product that both would love in equal and similarly disturbing measures; nduja. Soft, spicy, southern, sausage… Bring your minds out of the gutter!
Stage 4 sees the rolling terrain of the South come in to play, where we will see less of the sprinters and more of the all rounders competing, just what this Giro needs to come to life!
Have you ever truly seen a hipster? A person so proud to not be part of the crowd they are indeed, one of the largest crowds in a coffee house that is pretending to not be trendy but is full of people because it’s anti cool to be trendy? Perhaps ‘The Ladybird Book of ‘The Hipster’‘ explains it best.
“Caff Eh? In Brighton is a popular spot for hipsters. The owners guarantees that his customers will never have heard of anything on the menu – things like dotka, commoner’s milk, blacknock and carnip tartonne, keyhole coffee and these freshly oven-balched beetcorn labneys.”
If there is only one thing missing from this description its the apparent lack of acknowledgement in the perfectly curated ‘man bun’ as worn by the barista on the pumps, oh, and the skinny jeans that could make any grown man yelp in sheer pain at the thought of having to squeeze parts into places best left alone.
When it comes to trends, there are two sections of society that just, get it; the hipster and the foodie. Never have the two crossed, never do we want to see the offspring of such a creation; a fixie riding baker with a perfectly trimmed mustache carrying a double shot, semi-freddo is too much to handle.
Find any hipster related piece of literature, associated social media profile and even articles proclaiming their imminent death, there is such a thing as a Yuccie now, and you encounter the majesty that is the lifestyle of the cultural trailblazers; if it’s trendy, they’ll go with it!
If hipsters are the trendsetters of the societal doctrine of cool, then foodies are the centre of epicurean innovation. Or to put that another way, if it seems like it could be the ‘next food fad,’ foodies ensure that fine dining establishments find a way to make it stick, until it is seasonably unfashionable!
Don’t believe me? Remember when you could ‘confit’ a lambs leg? How about a foam for all seasons? Did you ever try to use gold leaf on your Yorkshire pudding? Was the thought of playing with squid ink in your risotto becoming mind-numbingly dull? If any of those questions didn’t make you sit up in shock then, that just looked like a made up menu of fads, which none were. Astonishingly.
Better yet, if you did sit up and think to yourself “why hasn’t the author mentioned, sundried tomatoes? Sundried tomatoes are on their way back, I read about it in Saveur and the translated version of Espresso” then you are indeed a foodie.
Foodies are just food loving hipsters; you take photos of your food, you think about food in the morning, afternoon and night. As urban dictionary defines you (and the author); ‘though the terms “gastronome” and “epicure” define the same thing, i.e. a person who enjoys food for pleasure, these words are perceived by the modern American consumer as elitist due to their latin root forms and polysyllabic pronunciations.’
though the terms “gastronome” and “epicure” define the same thing, i.e. a person who enjoys food for pleasure, these words are perceived by the modern American consumer as elitist due to their latin root forms and polysyllabic pronunciations.
Foodies like hipsters spot trends; and foods biggest trend in the last few years has been all about a spicy southern sausage, Nduja.
Approximately seven years ago, Nduja was being touted as the latest to join the litany of food fascination. How a soft, spicy and well-rounded sausage (behave!) made it into the non-Italian lexicon remains somewhat a mystery, but the even bigger mystery is that it seems only until very recently has it started to deliver on its own hype.
Nduja has become the sonic screwdriver of the food movement, the new style olive oil to those that prefer meat over pressed olives on their bread, in their pasta on their pizzas. It’s a soft, offaly, spicy product that leaves nothing to the imagination; it’s the hipster of the sausage world.
A simple search in the Independent website will have you gazing at all the fine establishments that offer Nduja on their menus. Yes, the food writers of the now only digital paper haven’t held back their appreciation for the Calabrian delicacy appearing in restaurants across… London.
The Pizza Pilgrims establishment has heavily promoted their use of Nduja on their menu since starting as a small vendor. Mixing the simple flavours of a margherita with the spicy southern sausage, they found that they perfected their niche in the street food world. It’s obviously served them well. With two restaurants in the centre of London, they have managed to bring the art of the sourdough bases to the UK and make other, well known pizza establishments bring the flavour of Nduja to their own menus.
Originating as most food in Italy as a poor man’s dish, it was made using the offcuts and intestines of many different animals with the addition of spices and fats which enabled the meat to stay soft and be used as a spread. It’s commercial success is down to the re-engineering of what could be described as Frankenstein’s monster of the sausage world. (Worthy acknowledgement, that sounds bad…)
It’s commercial success is down to the re-engineering of what could be described as Frankenstein’s monster of the sausage world. (Worthy acknowledgement, that sounds bad…)
As Jane Black wrote in the Wall Street Journal in 2015, the origins may even have something to do with Napoleon; “Nduja (pronounced en-DOO-ya) is a specialty of Calabria, the toe of Italy’s boot. Its origins are shadowy, but most believe it was a poor-man’s version of andouille sausage, which arrived in the area when Napoleon conquered Naples, to the north, in 1806. The residents, most famously in the town of Spilinga, made their version, ‘nduja, with pork fat, ground lung, kidneys and other odd bits, and spiced it with the fiery local chilies. The sausage was then smoked, aged or both.”
Luckily for us all who hate the thought of killing a poor, innocent creature and eating all the remaining bits spread over a slice of sourdough, another popular fad food (at the time of writing) we now have much safer, staunchy ingredients such as pork belly, plenty of fatback and loads of chilli; cured over many days to ensure quality and an everlasting burning sensation in our mouths.
To celebrate their now famous fad produce, Spilinga parties with a typical Italian ‘sagra’. Every August 8th, you can visit the town and celebrate with the locals a spicy sausage… (I promise this is not written with subtle innuendo… IT’S FULL OF IT!). From pyrotechnic displays to stalls selling and providing tasters in all forms, you too can celebrate the way of the Nduja!
If having this Italian (now fad) sausage on a pizza seems a little too much, Nigel Slater provides some “soothing sausage recipes” in his guardian column. Giorgio Locatelli was well ahead of the game with his love of “spicy salami” in his 2006 recount of the spreadable sausage. If you want to try Nduja in pasta, this simple, yet very effective spaghetti recipe from Helen Graves is a must.