Pork in the Mail

An envelope arrived in the mail the other day. It contained meat. Cured meat, unrefrigerated, sliced paper-thin and sealed in plastic packages, with a nice handwritten note from Scott Buer of Bolzano Artisan Meats saying that it was shelf-stable until opened.

I don't know when it was sent; I don't know when it arrived (my mailbox goes neglected for days at a time). It had sat at unknown temperatures for an unknown period of time in its peregrinations from Wisconsin. It was meat.

Would you eat it?

Our food editor Jill, a trained food professional, said she wouldn't. And yet I opened those packages up. I served the meat to dinner guests. It was delicious: silky meat generously streaked with rich, creamy fat and salty enough to allay fears of insidious microorganisms. The paprika-laced paletilla hungara (pork shoulder), the juniper-flavored paletilla corta (pork picnic), and the peppery guanciale all did the Hereford Wisconsin pigs proud.

Bolzano sends its meat in innocuous envelopes, suppressing microorganisms and encouraging pleasure across the land. The charcuterie is available at their online store, and they also sell locally in Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay.

Buer told me via email that the "products are good for one year before opening and unrefrigerated, good for six months after opening and refrigerated." And something to look forward to: the company is "so new," Buer says, that "our longest-to-make item, speck prosciutto, still is not ready, but will be in about one to two months." You can reserve yours on the website.

Would you fear meat in the mail?

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