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.
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.