When you think back to growing up in America, you’re introduced to cured meats at a pretty early age. Ham sandwiches, Slim Jims, and Lunchables were a daily staple. Yes, they probably contain chemicals we can’t pronounce, but your love affair with salty, meaty treats started young. But now as an adult in this new world of fresh artisanal yearnings, what do we do? Enter Olympic Provisions.
I’ve had my fair share of salami sticks in my life, and they’ve always tasted about the same. Salty, slightly stinky, meaty, and very, very edible. So when we first stumbled on Olympic Provisions slicing samples of their salami at a farmer’s market in Portland, we didn’t have too many expectations. Good thing I never pass up free food. I grabbed one of those small toothpicks and had my world turned upside down. The salami was fresh, seasoned with more than just salt, and had a beautiful, fatty oiliness to it. I was in love.
When we decided to move out of Portland and back to our native California, one of my immediate thoughts was: how am I going to get my Olympic Provisions fix? Their different salamis take you on a European taste tour, with flavors from France, Spain, and even Greece. A couple of must-tries are their classic French Saucisson Sec. It lets you enjoy the cured meat at its purest with hints of garlic. Another is the Spanish Chorizo Rioja that packs an intense spicy punch. You can’t go wrong with any of their expertly crafted choices from their meat department. These are artisans that know how to change your perceptions of what salami, or even a frankfurter, can really be in caring hands.
A visit to Olympic Provisions’ Southeast restaurant is inspiring. In a brunch-obsessed town like Portland, you need to be doing something really special to make an impression. They find creative ways to incorporate items from their meat department into classic dishes. Their eggs benedict is elevated with housemade Sweetheart Ham and fresh hollandaise sauce. And of course you can’t not order a charcuterie board from a place that specializes in charcuterie.
We’ve met many people that don’t like charcuterie. What is it that scares people away from such deliciousness? I get it, it can be intimidating. It looks kinda raw and sometimes it doesn’t smell great. But, trust me, you’re missing out on a really important way to enjoy the pureness of meat. It’s a love affair that has led me all the way to Spain just to try their Iberico ham. So if you haven’t fallen in love with cured meats yet, I urge you to stop by Olympic Provisions and prepare to be wowed.
To learn more about Olympic Provisions, visit their website.