Fatted Calf – Napa


There are some names for which I have an instant affinity. I remember the first time that I read the word “Fatted” followed by the word “Calf” on Sam’s blog (edit: link fixed!) when I lived in Napa. I knew that somehow I would get to know this Fatted Calf myself. It took a while. They opened their charcuterie store in Napa’s Oxbow Market after I had moved back to LA, and it wasn’t until I took a mini-desperation-vacation to Napa in February of this year that I was finally able to purchase their goods and try it for myself (after driving it back to Southern California in a mini-cooler w/ ice brought along for exactly that purpose).

And it was phenomenal. The bacon and the sausage became legend in my mind.

When I took my more relaxed visit to Napa last week, I was prepared to buy more, and couldn’t help telling everyone I knew about them and offering to take orders to bring back some. So, this time, I brought a larger cooler for their meaty goods, and got a bag of dry goods besides.

Bacon… Greens Sausage… Sheep’s Milk Ricotta… Bierwurst… Sweet Italian Sausage… Those were my spectacular goods this time. There’s a certain kind of freshness and exuberance of flavor that informs every product. The texture is very important, too — being rather looser than usual in the sausage and salami, and slightly more substantial than usual in the bacon. In the best and most respectful way, you realize that the meat comes from real animals who were treated well. I’ve never had anything quite like it, and I’m quite addicted. I wish I had bought more and my next trip to Napa will probably be fueled in large part by an overpowering craving; only a few strips of bacon remain, preserved in my freezer, and they don’t ship. I am even saving the rendered bacon fat, something I’ve never done before and I don’t really know what I’ll do with it.

If I lived in Napa, I don’t know how I’d resist having something from them daily. Their offerings rotate some every week, so I wouldn’t really get bored of flavors… And one a day would be balanced by a healthy diet overall… And they also sell gorgeous fresh meat, sandwiches, Rancho Gordo Beans, and Bates & Schmitt’s apple products (I got the syrup last time), so yeah, complete meals all around… And… And… hmm, I’ve put a lot of thought into this.

I have not been completely bedazzled by the Kool-Aid, though — the Beef Jerky that I got is way too tough for me, and I don’t know what to do with the pieces that remain. And the Rabbit Pate was a bit too firm for me, though I remember getting some kind of wonderfully silky pate last time… and perhaps will again next time!

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