Bringing home the bacon

Bringing home the bacon

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Mr Titi, left, and Roberto Ferroni with some of their goods from L’Oasi Italiana. Photo by: CRAIG MILES

Locally made Italian sausages, salami and bacon that have long graced the menu of one of Siem Reap’s leading Italian restaurants, L’Oasi Italiana, can now be bought through the restaurant’s new shop.

L’Oasi Italiana, now in its sixth year in Siem Reap, has established a firm reputation for its high quality Italian food served in a beautiful garden setting. Part of that success is down to owner Roberto Ferroni’s fixation on combining the best ingredients he can find with traditional Italian methods.  

But he was unable to find some of the most important ingredients in Italian cuisine, in particular the sausages, salami and bacon at the heart of so many dishes, from meaty pizza to the classic carbonara, from local sources. So, three years ago, Ferroni and his chef, Chann Vuthy, aka Titi, decided to create their own ingredients for success.  

Combining local pig meat from animals they slaughter themselves with Ferroni’s knowledge and Titi’s skill, they have been making their own pork products for three years now. In that time, they’ve slowly been expanding production and now sell to restaurants and hotels such as Le Meridien Angkor, FCC Angkor, Hotel de la Paix, Café Central, and the hip new trattoria, Il Forno.  

And now these products are available to buy retail from the L’Oasi Italiana restaurant and at the curing and drying facility next door, on the east river road to the north of Siem Reap, past Wat Po Lanka.  
The artisan products are all made with 100 percent natural ingredients.

Ferroni said: “Like Italian food, it is all about good health and we studied this a lot. Plus, the bacon here is very good, and now we are starting to sell some of it to a big farm back in Tuscany.  They were so surprised that products this good could come from Cambodia.”

The snags have a high pink colour that comes from the meat itself as well as the drying process. They’re also textured and full of flavour, tasting of real meat and very much at variance with the bland, pureed mass production sausage concoctions commonly found in supermarkets.

The salamis are dried for a minimum of 28 days as taste testing has shown that a 28-day salami has a smooth, mild flavour, whereas a 34-day salami is tangier. The bacon, smoked or unsmoked, is thick and richly flavoured. Its taste and density amazes, and it is a prime ingredient for stews and casseroles, rather than just being a “background” ingredient.

No chemicals are introduced and no water is injected into the meat; it’s just pure pork, like it should be.

In addition to the products made on site, cheeses such as mozzarella and mascarpone can also be bought. Salamis sell for $15 per kilo for the small versions, and $18 per kilo for the large. The large sausages are $8.50 per kilo, and the smaller breakfast sausages sell for $6 per kilo.

Call L’Oasi Italiana on 092 418 917 or log on to www.oasiitaliana.com for more information.

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