Thursday, December 01, 2011

Marino Brothers

Last month Judy and I ate at Murial's Restaurant in Fairmont. It is a fine Italian eatery. My sister and her husband, Bill, ate with us. We celebrated our great WVU PET scan results.

Brother-in-law Bill ordered Italian sausage and peppers. They were good, but he said that he had excellent ones at a Shriner's Dinner in Parkersburg. He was told that the sausage came from Marino Brothers in Clarksburg.

I was now on a quest! After Goggling Marino Brothers, I found the location on West Virginia Avenue in Clarksburg. On Monday, we decided to try this establishment for lunch. Marino Brothers serve sandwiches, pizza, and a lunch buffet - in addition they sell meats and cheeses. We arrived to find the small block building tucked away in a residential area of the city.

We entered and Judy immediately was drawn to their selection of Italian food items.

My eye immediately focused on the many varieties of cheeses and meats!

There were selections of pepperoni and ground Italian sausage, plus...

...,lo and behold, before me was Calabrese Hot Dry Cured Sausage.

Calabrese originates from the Calabria region of Italy. It is a cheese-making area, so the dominant meat is pork (there are certain economies that based upon simultaneously raising pigs and making cheese). Calabrese is a salami; that is, a stuffed sausage which is dry-cured. Calabrese is indeed made from pork, which is flavored with white wine and various spices such as chili.

Obtaining genuine Italian Calabrese from Calabria is difficult, but not impossible, in the United States and Canada. However, thanks to the Italian immigrant community, extremely high-quality Calabrese is produced domestically, and is highly available. This particular Calabrese was produced in Canada.

The domestic variety need not be a poor copy, a mere shadow of the genuine article; firms such as Citterio provide dry-cured gourmet meats which rival the best imported offerings. Citterio USA is a Pennsylvania-based supplier of dry-cured gourmet meats; the company has 19th Century, old-country origins, which is evident in the quality of their wares.

This salami is bright red in color, and comes as a chub with a length of perhaps six inches. Since it is a dry-cured meat it is firm and dense, heavy in the hand and unsqueezable. Slicing it is demanding; a sharp knife glides through the chub smoothly but with some resistance. The casing does not appear to be tough, but rather, soft and supple, resisting the knife no more than the rest of the sausage. Slicing reveals a mottled, bright-red interior, well marbled with abundant oiliness.

The aroma is spicy and inviting. The texture in the mouth is firm; the sausage requires significant (but not objectionable) effort to chew. Flavor is full, meaty; spices are peppery with paprika in predominance. Finish is hotter than the flavor; the taste of sweet oil and paprika fills the mouth while the tang of heat warms the throat. The Calabrese is filling; a few slices should suffice for a snack or -- with some flavorful, aged cheese -- a fine European-style breakfast.

We purchased a pound and I am really enjoying it!

The eating area at Marino Brothers is small. This is one of the restaurant that my brother-in-law Bill would say, "This is where the locals eat!"

We ordered a Big John Italian Sausage Sandwich. It was so big that we shared the beast.

We left with the Calabrese sausage, stuffed cherry peppers, and...

a link of the famous Italian sausage!

It was a fun lunch and we WILL return!


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