It's not often that you find a vegetarian writing about the opening of an artisanal cured meat shop, but while I don't necessarily go for this sort of food, I do understand the importance of artisanal food purveyors.
First, let's start off by talking about the location - the spot in question is where Tuscany on Main recently closed up. The bad news for Tuscany is that they didn't make it (for a number of reasons), while the good news is that Nickel City Cheese and Mercantile (located next door) is now carrying some of their olive oils. The other good news is that the open storefront has allowed a specialty meat shop to sign onto the space. I spoke to Jill Forster (owner of the cheese shop
) who told me that she is thrilled to have Coppa Artisan Cured Meat moving in - "We've been carrying their meat products the entire time that we've been open," Jill told me. "So I know that they're going to do well there, and they will be a good fit on our block."
Not only is Coppa Artisan Cured Meat's owner Bruce Wieszala an infamous chef about town, he's a total badass when it comes to charcuterie and butchery. "I've converted a few vegetarians you know," Bruce told me. "Many people [like yourself] are appalled by the big industry practices, and there's a lot of pressure to cut out factory chicken farming, et al. What we do is completely different - the farm animals are raised locally, humanely, and sustainably without the use of hormones or antibiotics.
"Although we're not opening until fall, I am in the process of building up my inventory. Curing meat takes a bit of time (see video below) in order to mature properly... like a good cheese or wine. Once we open we'll be serving sandwiches at lunchtime, and selling specialty items that include oils and preserves. We will also have externships for students just out of culinary school so that they can learn the art of butchery and charcuterie making. It's important to get students coming out of culinary school familair with breaking down whole animals - to support the local farms and to use the entire animal without wasting anything. For the most part, culinary students have no idea how to butcher a whole animal."
Bruce's business is self described as, "Producing artisan cured, locally raised meat products. Our products will include prosciutto, jamon, capicola, pancetta, bacon, sopressata, finocchiona, lardo, coppa di testa, porchetta di testa, guanciale, bresaola, duck prosciutto, duck confit, pâtés, terrines, meat and poultry stocks, brines & specialty accompaniments."
For a real insider's look into Bruce's world of charcuterie, take a look at the following video...
Coppa gets additional points for using butcher paper to cover the front window... meat lovers rev your engines!
If you like everything that you're hearing, consider helping out this initiative by heading to Kickstarter
and pledging a monetary donation in exchange for some really tasty artisanal rewards.
425 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14222