Cutting the salami

I’ve often heard about, but never made it to, the famous parking lot events held in the small parking lot of a Berkeley food triumvirate: Cafe Fanny, Acme Bread, and Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant. The most well known of these events is the Oyster Bliss celebration that takes place in the Spring. This past April marked the 16th Annual Oyster Bliss event. Other annual parking lot events are Provence Day and Beaujolais Nouveau Day.

Salami for cutting

At Cafe Fanny the other day, I noticed a sign announcing a new event — one featuring the salumi of Paul Bertolli’s Fra’ Mani. From the sign, and in Bertolli’s words,

“I’ve been waiting for just the right opportunity to celebrate Fra’ Mani in the local community where it was born just a little over a year ago. As luck would have it, we found our home a stone’s throw away from our friends at Kermit Lynch, where I never fail to find the right wine match for my salumi. I am proud to share the work of our first year with our neighbors and friends in what has become Berkeley’s only center for seasonal outdoor Bacchanalia — Kermit’s front yard.”

The parking lot

Marc of Mental Masala and The Ethicurean accompanied me to the salami-fest on Saturday. “I know the last thing you probably want to do is go to a sausage-based event,” I wrote to him last week when I invited him. Marc’s a vegetarian. But he gamely came along and noshed on Acme bread, Fiscalini San Joaquin Gold cheese, and some pistachios as I dug into my plate of pork.

Cooking Sausages

The menu featured two choices: Fra’ Mani Grilled Classic Italian Sausage with Cannelini Beans ($12), and a Grand Salumi Platter with 7 different types of charcuterie from the Fra’ Mani kitchen ($16). I chose the Salumi platter and was served dry chorizo, salametto, salame toscano, soppressata, salame gentile, mortadella, and salame rosa. This choice was an obvious one as it gave me a chance to taste all of the salumi side-by-side as well as allowing me to taste two new products from Fra’ Mani — the mortadella and the salame rosa. The salame rosa was wonderful and studded with pistachios that added to the flavor profile. And I can’t wait to get my hands on some of the mortadella – it’s going to be fabulous in sandwiches.

The Grand Salumi Platter

The event also featured wines from Kermit Lynch chosen specifically to go with the Fra’ Mani products which were all reasonably priced at between $5 and $8. Before leaving, we tasted a sublime lemon pistachio cake and a good salted chocolate cookie from the Cafe Fanny table.

All in all, a fantastic event.

Kermit Lynch Parking Lot Event with Paul Bertolli 19 June,2007Jennifer Maiser

  • Anonymous

    I was less than impressed by the event, perhaps due to a confusion of expectations. I’m sure the salumi was great, but having to stand in a 30+ minute line to get sliced meat was not something I was greatly looking forward to. The numerous available tables and the many tables with wine but no food testifed to the slowness of service.

    Kermit’s new Prosecco was superb, went home with a couple bottles, but buying eight wines by the glass instead of being able to taste an ounce at a time was a big handicap. You’d think at a wine shop, especially one with eclectic selections at full retail, there would be more of an attempt to expose you to a range of product.

    I enjoyed a couple glasses of good wine while taking in the fine music, but there was too much evidence of this being a first-time event.

  • Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic

    Oh, I am so jealous! I saw this announced in Kermit Lynch’s newsletter and really wanted to go but I’m home in Minneapolis. I’ve also been yearning to go to one of these parking lot events for awhile.

    From the looks of the tempting photos, it was a delicious event.

  • Tea

    I’m jealous too! Wish I had been there–sounds delish.


Jennifer Maiser

“My passion for food began young.”

I am the editor of the influential website which encourages readers to support local farmers and producers.

I began my personal website, Life Begins at 30, in 2003.

I have been published in Edible San Francisco and Fine Cooking, write regularly for Bay Area Bites, Serious Eats, and have been quoted in many nationwide publications. Photography is a passion, and I have had photos printed in National Geographic Traveler and Travel + Leisure.

I contributed to a Williams-Sonoma cookbook: Cooking from the Farmers’ Market, which was released in February 2010.

I live in San Francisco, California and can often be found at local farmers markets seeking out the best of what’s in season and chatting with farmers.

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