Italy’s Finest Meats: BenGusto.com’s Butcher Shop

Technically, my butcher shop in the small town of Neive, in the vineyard regions of Piemonte, Italy, is not the best butcher shop in Italy. However, I have given it this title, which of course, is better than any “slow food” award it could ever win.

This small, authentic butcher shop supplies the area’s best restaurants, including numerous Michelin-star joints, with fresh cut Piemontese meats all week. My Macelleria (Italian for butcher shop) is only a 3 minute drive from my vineyard home in the Langhe, and is run by a nice, middle-aged Italian man with his wife and son. The butcher selects his choice of cow, pork, lamb, rabbit, duck, boar, and veal fresh from the local farms every day. They cut all the parts buono da mangiare (good to eat) themselves, and know all the different ways to cook and enjoy their meats.

Me at the butcher, next to a little old Italian lady.

Me at the butcher, next to a little old Italian lady.

One warm summer day, I went with my father and Nonno (grandpa) over to the butcher to buy some nice spiedini for dinner, and decided to take some photos of my type of a “typical Italian butcher”.

It’s an exciting place that always has a line of more than 10 old Italian ladies, and serves items that would be exotic to an average American, such as cow tongue and brain. Every time I go, there is always the same old plump Italian farmer moving from bench to bench around the outside of the shop. He wears a beaten hat and holds a wooden cane. On the day I had my camera, the old farmer was sitting on one bench when I went in the shop, and had moved to a bench 20 feet away by the time I was out. I found it to be funny.

The old farmer watches over his small village from a bench near the bank as I go over to the butcher for meat.

The old farmer watches over his small village from a bench near the bank as I go over to the butcher for meat.

My Dad and Nonno walk into the butcher shop.

My Dad and Nonno walk into the butcher shop.

The kind Italian butcher with one of his young employees.

The kind Italian butcher with one of his young employees.

We got these beautiful spiedini for dinner that night.

We got these beautiful spiedini for dinner that night.

Traditional dried meats

Traditional dried meats

Liver

Liver

How about a nice cow tongue for lunch?

How about a nice cow tongue for lunch?

Prosciutto e Salami

Prosciutto e Salami

Tripe

Tripe

The Butcher Shop

When I came out of the store, the farmer had moved to a bench 15 feet closer to the butcher shop.

When I came out of the store, the farmer had moved to a bench 15 feet closer to the butcher shop.

3 responses on “Italy’s Finest Meats: BenGusto.com’s Butcher Shop

  1. What is that “farmer” guy up to, that’s what I want to know. He seems to have some kind of plan.

    The meat looks delicious. Not the tongue, though. The other meat.

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