ndujaWe carnivores who live in the Bay Area are a privileged bunch — on any given day, we can choose to eat Fatted Calf’s bacon, Fra Mani’s salami, 4505’s chicharrones and countless other artisan charcuterie around the city. To that list, I would add Boccalone’s pork ragu. It’s a lucious ragu that is intensely spiced and just perfect when tossed with pappardelle. Until a couple weeks ago, my main interface with Boccalone was to buy the ragu, or to pick up a sandwich or two for a picnic.

Boccalone is a store that is located in the Ferry Building, and is the brainchild of Incanto chef Chris Cosentino and his business partner Mark Pastore. It has been open less than a year, and attracts great attention in the Ferry Building with its pristine meat slicers and case of hanging meats. In addition to their delectable porcine products, Boccalone also offers sparkling water (like what is offered at Incanto) — I love filling up my bottle on farmers market days before I battle the crowds.

I’ve been spending more time at Boccalone these days, however, and it’s all the fault of a delicious new product called Nduja. Let’s all say it together, class: en-doo-ya. Can’t remember how to pronounce it? Ask for the “N-Judah,” like I do, and you will get a smile and the lovely Boccalone staff will hand over the $11 salami-shaped package. Nduja is a Calabrian spreadable salami that is spicy and full of flavor. I love bringing it to room temperature and eating it on fresh bread. Once it’s at room temperature, it spreads just like butter and is has a great mouthfeel. Nduja roots come from the French andouille sausage and the flavor profile is not unlike the andouille in smokiness and layers of flavor. Friends have been tweeting about mixing a dollop of it in omelettes.

Because this is such a new and unusual product, the folks at Boccalone tend to have some out on sample — I would suggest that you try it next time you’re at the Ferry Building.

Photo Credit: Bunrab.

Nduja? N-Judah? 31 May,2009Jennifer Maiser

  • Oh, I’ve heard/seen you mention that pork ragu before. I have to remind myself to try it and maybe start stocking it.

  • Marly Harris

    I just read about this treat in a NYT article. I’m dreaming of it with home-made coleslaw. I live in such a hick town (Simi Valley, California), I’ll have to order it online.

  • Kristian

    My cousins in Calabria were butchers and made nduja. When I went to visit, I would spread it on bread or take a spoonful and add it to sauce. It’s so hard to get, even outside of Calabria (I lived in Padua and the northerners had no idea of what it was).

    Now it’s just a matter of paying a high amount on shipping to see if I want it THAT badly. 🙂

  • Up until a few weeks ago I had never even heard of nduja but now I’ve got to have some.

    A nice little Italian shop not too far from me makes a few batches once in a while so all I’ve gotta do is get on their list.

  • Zachary Wise

    There’s also a great brand of nduja from Chicago, called Artisan Nduja. I had a sample at Pasta Shop in Rockridge and it was amazing!

  • Alex Stone



Jennifer Maiser

“My passion for food began young.”

I am the editor of the influential website www.EatLocalChallenge.com 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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