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Knight Salami Company (San Diego)

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They're not a restaurant but they are a local source for hand made artisan cured meats such as salamis which I've seen sold at several of the local farmers' markets here in San Diego. I do like the taste of their salamis and you can tell that they're a quality product but, as happy as I am to see a local maker of cured meats, their prices are just outrageous. They sell their various salamis for $12-$15 (depending on type) per OUNCE! Ouch! That's $192 for a 1lb salami.

Sure, I want to support local artisan businesses but even Katz Deli in New York City, which is world famous for their hand crafted salamis, sells salamis for 1/4 that price. I wish Knight Salami all the best as I do with all of our local fine food makers but... come on. $192 for a frigging salami is a joke, right?

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  1. According to their website, the listed products are $12-15 for a salame that averages around 12 ounces. That would make the price approximately $1-$1.25 per ounce for those products.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jayporter

      I see oerdin's confusion in the price. The prices on the website say " “Price sold per ounce, average whole salame is 12oz.”. $12.00
      It could be interpreted as $12.00/oz.

      1. re: mattrapp

        Yes, this was my mistake. It's an embarrassing mix up. Thank you for correcting me.

    2. I have bought different things from them at the farmers market in Little Italy and their prices are very reasonable. $12 is for a whole salami

      1. for the record, the correct name is the Knight Salumi Company

        http://www.knightsalumico.com/

        1. I dropped by their table at the Farmer's Market in Little Italy on Saturday and tried three of their salumi products. They sell their salumi for $17.50 a pound, The prices are pretty reasonable given the quality, which is very good.

          1. You got the price wrong. They are outstanding salumis. I'm particularly fond of the one with fennel flavor.

            Taste Cheese and Gourmet shop at 1243 University carries Knight salumis.

            1. We love salumi. LOVE it. Buy Bertolli's Fromani on a regular basis. We wanted to love Knight's, and Rey is a great guy. But twice the salamis we bought were mushy in the middle, even spongy. Really unappetizing. (Over time, when the salumi dried in the fridge, forgotten in a dark corner of it, it actually improved.) We have no problem paying for what's good and paying to support local producers, but quality matters more than intention. When we complained at the farmer's market-- actually just brought it up kindly to the Knight rep-- we were met with defensiveness, not apology. That's when we bought our second one, and yes, it was loose and spongy in the center, as well. No more.

              2 Replies
              1. re: pickypicky

                Yeah, I remember a very similar post here on the CH boards based upon the same price misunderstanding. It'll do them good to wordsmith the pricing on their website, though to me it was perfectly clear.

                I too am a Fra Mani fan and believe that they offer a far better crafted product. However given the relative obscurity of obtaining my favorite Fra Mani product, their Gentile, I've gone through many a Knight Salumi product.

                My biggest critique of Knight's product is what I find to be the inconsistent packing of their casings, a critical skill step. In roughly 1/3 of the product that I've purchased from them I've found voids in their Salumis, an absolute no-no in the Chacuterie world as far as I am aware, and is something that I've never encountered in anyone else's Salumi product.

                However I must say that with the ever increasing demand for Fra Mani product I too notice that their product quality can vary as well, though by no means as much as Knight's. I've noticed that the Fra Mani product tends to be offered at a higher moisture content these days than they've originally put out, perhaps due to the increased demand for their product putting pressure on the very long curing times required for their larger casing products.

                However the initial moisture level of the Fra Mani product seems to be consistently lower than the Knight product. However initial moisture level in either product has not been as much of a concern to me as with the voids issue, as I continue to age all my artisan Salumi further by allowing them to hang in my pantry, particularly during the colder months, to develop more complexity and to further reduce their moisture content.

                1. re: cgfan

                  haha I wonder if he is using the Sausage Stuffer attachment on a KitchenAid, because I got that (gaps, voids) a lot when I first started! ;)

              2. Yeah, I have bought their product and although I don' t remember the exact cost, I thought it was reasonable.

                I highly recommend this place.

                1. We've picked up Knight Salumi twice from the Poway Farmer's Market in the past month. Cacciatori and Sopressata. I don't think we paid more than $7 or $8 for each whole salami, which is perfectly reasonable considering what you are getting. Unlike pickypicky's experience, the salumi we've had was firm throughout (and delicious).

                  I'm curious to know if you had priced them at a farmer's market, because if the Knight rep led you to believe you'd be paying $192 per, they REALLY need to get their facts straightened out.

                  1. had some for the first time at Red Door and then purchased some across the street at Venissimo. have been satisfied so far although a friend was disappointed with his purchase of sme.

                    1. thanks, cgfan, for an in-depth analysis re: Knight Salumi consistency. Yep. That's what we got: gaps. Bit ol' spongy gaps. Twice. But what made me madder, is that the Knight rep was defensive when we mentioned it. If you read Bertolli's bio, you'll see how long it took them to have a product (Fra Mani) that made it to retail. Bertolli is the ultimate perfectionist. Rey Knight is a nice guy. I believe he is absolutely committed to making a go of his company. However, rushing to be out there and excusing less than quality product by "We're trying hard!" is not ok with me. I'm tired of excuses in restaurant service, farm products, EVERYTHING these days. So if it's not what it purports to be-- or if the rep can't say, "Yeah, our product isn't perfect yet. We've had problems, and we're still working on getting it right," then I aint buying. Having a handmade product is no excuse for poor quality.

                      14 Replies
                      1. re: pickypicky

                        Ive been in the restaurant industry for over ten years and Knights guanciale, and pancetta are the best products in there respected catergories that I have ever used. Just my two cents

                        1. re: meaty

                          Guanciale and pancetta are probably the easist products to produce. That being said it all about procuring the right raw materials. I had a few bad eggs from Knight, but more often than not a good local made product. Working on a Coppa at home that is pretty good. If you like the finocchiona from Knight give Armandino Batali's a try, made me cry a little.

                          1. re: stevuchan

                            Sausage rolls they were serving up at the Farmers Market (Poway and LI) this weekend were really, really good. Well spiced, with a nice Gouda in the pork filling on a just about perfect roll. They were also sampling a Hungarian sausage from heritage breed pork grown specifically for the sausage, wish I had more info, but man was it good.

                            1. re: stevuchan

                              Yeah, I had one of those 2 weeks ago at Hillcrest FM, and went back to get one last week but they were sold out. I was very sad. Those things are legit.

                              1. re: stevuchan

                                The bread is from Sadie Rose. I wish they put on caramelized onions on it, if they did I think that would be the PERFECT sandwich.

                          2. re: pickypicky

                            Oddly, the last Framani sausage that I purchased seemed underaged and not quite right, so when I encountered Knight's stuff on my next SD trip I bought 2 or 3 of them and found them perfect. And I loved the fennel flavors in the finocchiona.

                            Now I'm a bit worried because I ordered 7 salumis from Knight yesterday for Xmas gifts (well, some for Xmas gifts to yours truly). I hope these don't have issues.

                            1. re: Ed Dibble

                              Ed, make sure you read my comment at the end. I think the gifts will be great!

                            2. re: pickypicky

                              "But what made me madder, is that the Knight rep was defensive when we mentioned it."

                              That is understandable. Sounds like you got pretty bad service.

                              It is tough for businesses these days. Which is all the more reason to take care of every customer.

                              1. re: stevewag23

                                thanks, SW23, for understanding. we were very kind, and since my husband is in the food industry, and Knight wanted his business, we felt we had to speak up, which my husband did gently. The excuses and defensiveness surprised us, but then not really since that seems to be the rule of thumb these days. They did ask why we didn't bring it back-- but holding it and waiting til our next farmer's market visit and remembering to bring it. well, that seemed to put it on us, not them.

                              2. re: pickypicky

                                I just want to make sure that we don't confuse what to me are two separate concerns.

                                My concern is with voids, areas in the Salumi that were completely void of the lean/fat mixture and instead replaced by a bubble of air. Though I do not make Salumi myself in my own reading I've come to the understanding that such voids can allow for the unchecked growth of undesirable bacteria. This is not to say that every Salumi with a void is harmful; rather it speaks to a deficiency in a critical skill step in what should otherwise be taken for granted given an "artisan" product. As I've mentioned above I've never encountered any such voids in any other Salumi other than Knight's, whether factory made or artisan.

                                The other concern being expressed in this thread, that of the Salumi being "spongy", though aesthetically less appealing am not as bothered as the Salumi having a void. It just tells me that perhaps the aging process was a bit rushed, which as mentioned above I've experienced (rarely) even with the Fra Mani product, though by no means to the same degree as the Knight product.

                                I'm less concerned by this for two reasons: it does not have any potentially harmful implications, and I can still get the product to the desired moisture level by finishing them at home - during the colder months I just "finish" my purchased artisan Salumis by hanging them in the pantry to continue to develop, and in the warmer months I do this as well, but often have to stop the finishing less I let the product get too dry.

                                The final moisture level could be just "Knight's style", or perhaps just a business tweak that allows for more product out of a fixed amount of aging room, or a combination of the two. I personally prefer the Fra Mani product in this regards; they seem to be finished to a moisture level closer to what I expect.

                                But a Salumi with a void? To me that's an out and out fail.

                                1. re: cgfan

                                  Semantics, I'm afraid. I said "spongy" to imply that there were holes and that the composition was not compact and continuous. So, yes, voids. Not a taste consistancy. So we are in agreement.

                                  1. re: cgfan

                                    I think you should retry Knight's product. Every one I ordered this year for Xmas turned out excellent. The copa molina along with the finnochio are my favorites, but they all had good flavor, perfect moisture content etc.

                                    Maybe they had a brief production glitch - and I've heard the same has happened at Framani.

                                    1. re: Ed Dibble

                                      I agree. I bought a finocchiona from them at the Little Italy farmers market recently and it was excellent. It's really nice to have a local cured meats.

                                      1. re: Ed Dibble

                                        So glad to hear this. I want Knight to succeed!

                                  2. I buy salamis pretty regularly from Knight Salumi Co. and have never had less than an excellent product. I have had some that seemed drier and firmer than others, but never one I would call mushy.
                                    I'm not trying to argue with those who've had different experiences, just adding my own experience to the conversation.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: juantanamera

                                      I'm always interested in supporting independents, but the product / service still has to be there. Unfortunately, I too have had issues with Knight. I purchase Knight Salumi at the OB Farmer's Martket. Each variety I purchase had soft fat globules in the middle and it was not appetizing - it was like raw bacon . I mentioned it to the guy behind the table and he said that is the way it is suppose to be. The second one I tried had an off smell and flavor like it had not been held at the proper temperature. It will give them another try at some point in the future because I like the idea of San Diego having as many as possible good independent food purveyors.

                                    2. This, in Knight's favor: my husband just told me that that Knight is making his salumi without nitrates or other chemicals, and that the issues we've experienced may be due to that. If so, then suddenly I'm very forgiving and would gladly buy his product again. (Fra Mani like most others uses nitrates.) And if that's the case, then Knight and reps need to make that very clear to buyers like me who have complained; and make his unique process a selling point.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: pickypicky

                                        Kind of interesting (Source: http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2...

                                        )

                                        Nearly every vegetable tested contained measurable amounts of nitrates, with averages varying from 1 to 4,800 ppm. For example, average levels were:

                                        arugula 4,677 ppm
                                        basil 2,292 ppm
                                        butterhead lettuce 2,026 ppm
                                        beets 1,279 ppm
                                        celery 1,103 ppm
                                        spinach 1,066 ppm
                                        pumpkin 874 ppm
                                        This compares to standard hotdogs or processed meats with average nitrite levels of 10 ppm.

                                        Also many folks claiming Nitrate free use celery juice, in place of curing agents and state nitrate free. I have a package at home I will have a look, I will also ask on Saturday at the FM. Just interested, not in any way concerned about the heath risks of Nitrates.

                                        1. re: stevuchan

                                          Thanks for the link - very interesting info.

                                          1. re: stevuchan

                                            Most nitrate free chacuterie uses celery juice, lactic acid and salt etc. for curing. The "natural" nitrates in celery juice will be converted to nitrites (like sodium nitrate) which is necessary for kill certain botulism causing organism but also to generate nitric oxide which helps to stops rancidity. You can't do any curing without some source of nitrate/nitrites. (But people are more afraid of a "chemical" sources of nitrates than a "natural" sources of it even though it makes no difference in the overall chemical processes. And using this "version" of curing is not an excuse an undercured product like some people seem to experience.

                                            1. re: honkman

                                              In complete agreement.

                                        2. I've purchased and tried the Finocchiona.Cacciatori and Sopressata from Knight. I find that I prefer the Finocchiona over the others. I think the quality has been acceptable and the flavor is good. It's a far cry from what is available from Salumi in Seattle but for a local start up I think that it's a decent value and is readily available at local farmers markets as well as a few retailers. I always purchase some Salumi when I'm near a Dean and Deluca and I've ordered it direct, but the shipping costs are somewhat prohibitive.

                                          I'll purchase the Knight products again but I have hopes that the overall consistency and flavor will improve.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Strawman

                                            Rey was mentioned in this WSJ article, good read.

                                            http://online.wsj.com/article/SB12633...

                                            1. re: stevuchan

                                              Yup, read it this morning. Funny enough, I was in Paris last Spring, and me and my brother in law were thinking of bringing back some foie gras and some cheese. We didn't think about it seriously, but it was brought up in a humorous manner. The culinary delights there are so amazing. Gourmet Lafayette, La Bonne Marche, then all the little mom and pop shops. I regret not trying more stuff, but Like Arnold, I'll be back.

                                          2. Whole Foods in La Jolla has recently got a ton of salami, and I've gone back for seconds. Really good. Does anyone know how Knight's compares? I just might give them a try.

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: royaljester

                                              Which salami at WF ? They always had a decent selection at WF (LJ) but nothing really outstanding. Knight's is better than the salami I got so far from WF

                                              1. re: honkman

                                                Maybe it's their regular salami, but they had a pile of them since a few weeks ago. Will give Knight's a try!

                                                1. re: honkman

                                                  Fra'Mani is the one WF carries. I'm not huge into their hard salami, and even Knight's I'm kind of cooling on lately. To me it tastes unpleasantly fatty.

                                                  1. re: Josh

                                                    Yeah it is a bit fatty, but definitely better than anything else I've gotten locally. Didn't know it was Fra'Mani, was going to stop by their shop next time I visited NorthCal.

                                                    1. re: Josh

                                                      Are your sure it is Fra'Mani at the La Jolla one ?

                                                      1. re: honkman

                                                        I don't know if *all* of the salami at LJ is Fra'Mani, but I know that at least some of it is. I bought some of the salami rosso there on my last visit.

                                                2. Knight was noted in a little article about artisan sausages in Sunset Magazine this month.

                                                  1. I've now bought 5 different salami from Rey's booth. The first two were great and caused us to enthusiastically buy 3 salamis about a month later. 2 of the 3 had an off flavor, almost sour-like and I was going to bring them back the next week but didn't go back to the Farmer's Market for about a month. I saw and spoke to Rey about it. He was very defensive of the issues I raised and even though I wasn't looking for a refund or anything, I think he should have taken the feedback and offered to look into it. In reading the posts, I'm apparently not the only one who had a problem. I won't buy again until I hear the consistency is there...

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: LisaSD

                                                      I'm reading a lot of funky things, like air pockets in their salami's, which is a huge no-no, and I agree that he should listen carefully to his customer base. I usually get salumi's shipped in from BOS, totally in another league.

                                                      1. re: cstr

                                                        I bought the spicy version at the Little Italy farmers market a couple months ago. So salty with huge hunks of fat. Never went back to his stand again.

                                                    2. Wanted to give a heads up to people looking for more Knight salume...I have found a variety of cured/uncured meat sticks at Siesel's. They are located on the deli/sandwich counter at the far right end in a small basket. I have bought two different ones and each time they have been quite tasty...unfortunately I haven't remembered to write down what I bought.

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: MrKrispy

                                                        Glad I found this thread and TOTALLY agree with pickypicky. I bought some salumi at ocean beach farmers market and was told it would be good up to 6 mos in the fridge. Ha ha what a joke it was hard as wood after 6 weeks. On the other hand, I bought some some dry salami from Boundin, it was in the freezer for 2 yrs then about 4 mos in the fridge and it was still fresh.

                                                        Brought to Rey at a farmers market showed him the piece of wood and could not believe he sd it was still edible. I mean you can't even slice it with a knife plus the fact it was shrunken and harden up like a dry sponge. And I even kept it wrapped in it's original wrapper plus I put inside a zip loc bag and it still shriveled up which means there's is something he's not doing right.

                                                        When a customer shows you an inedible product he should have just given me another replacement but he just acted like he did nothing wrong and asked so insincerely if I wanted another one which kinda leaves you no choice but to say no thanks bum...take a bath and try not to look like a homeless person when you're in food business.

                                                        1. re: Alice Q

                                                          And when a customer brings back an obviously inferior product s/he should not be met with defensive angry 'tude. From reading this entire thread it sounds like many who dared received the same treatment. Take the negative and do something about it to improve the product.

                                                          1. re: Island

                                                            there's no indication of any angry tude in that post. It says he was told there was "nothing wrong with it" but still offered another. Honestly, I don't know what it looked like, but when a customer has been storing something at home under god knows what conditions for SIX WEEKS and then brings it back for a refund, I think a replacement is the most he could possibly ask for.

                                                            1. re: Alice Q

                                                              Indeed. No Knight Salumi product ever lasts more than a week in my home. It gets eated. MMMmmmm... sopressata...

                                                          2. re: zoey67

                                                            Any natural salami will become drier and harder with age. Some people prefer to age salami, others don't, but what you've described is not a flaw in the product.