One thing that has really made my experience in Ascoli Piceno unique is making friends with someone who was born and raised here. The ability to be shown around by a local completely changes how you see the city. I was lucky enough to have met Simone my very first week in Ascoli Piceno, and he has become a friend to all of us. Earlier this week, Simone took us to his work, at a deli, to allow us to taste different Italian meats and cheeses.
The very first week of this trip I was given the nickname “Meatka” (a combination of meat and Mika) for my love of cured meats. I’ve strived to have cured meat everyday and successfully have not gotten sick of it. Simone showed us an array of deli meats and cheeses including, prosciutto crudo (cured), prosciutto cotto (cooked), mortadella, salami picante (spicy salami), and two different types of pecorino cheeses. Thinly sliced each meat seemed to melt in your mouth. I had never tried mortadella before, and when it was described to me as a bologna, I must say I was not very intrigued to try it. My mantra for this trip was to keep an open mind and try every single thing that is offered to me, so I tried the white speckled meat with chunks of pistachio in it and I was pleasantly surprised. Definitely heavier in fat with a more oily texture, it was a lot more mild and less salty than I imagined it would be. The two variations of pecorino cheese included one that was purely sheep’s milk and one that was a mixture of sheep and cow’s milk. The flavor was sharp and salty and tasted as if it would be perfect grated on top of some ravioli con porcini, one of my favorite pasta dishes here. Getting a VIP tasting from the expert himself cut out the hassle of having to book a tour of a deli and the comfort of allowing us to try basically whatever we wanted to!