“Tradition should not be a cage but something that makes you free.” The comment comes directly from a master of Italian cuisine, Massimo Bottura, who many meat “craftsmen” consider as a guide at times when traditional butchers' shops can only survive the crisis and the emergence of new ethical considerations that have significantly reduced meat sale by changing their approach. Macelleria Contini is well-aware of this context: founded in Cremona in 1959, this butcher proposes traditional recipes and classic cuts of beef, sheep and goats now accompanied by innovation and creativity, turning it into one of the most famous shops of its kinds in Italy.
“We have reached the fourth generation of butchers: my father-in-law Amerigo has more than 55 years of experience and, with my wife Alice, we have tried to make our butchers' shop more dynamic,” Eurocarne Post heard from Andrè Amici, the sommelier and restaurateur at Macelleria Contini. “We use everything provided by the raw material and sell it in the form of ready meals, takeaways and street food. Our catering is not assisted: we have recently begun to offer a number of gluten-free meals for allergy sufferers in collaboration with the Passione Preparati school”.
Yet the transformation of our classical local butchers' shop into a renowned restaurant was achieved while always keeping in mind the needs of our customers. “All our changes follow up the wishes of our consumers,” Amici explains. We realised that we had to reinvent ourselves in order revive the value of meat, a key product in the human diet but one that as a result of the economic crisis and certain trends highlighting the importance of animal safety and health and even different time requirements is currently overlooked aside in many kitchens”.
The quality of raw materials is the basis for all excellence in a dynamic butchers' shop and is further enhanced by creativity and innovation taking artistic and technical inspiration from other branches of gastronomy. “Our specialities, for example, also include so-called meat pastries, while highly popular dishes are non-boiled Cremona casseroled meat ready to takeaway, as well as local salame and cotechino. Over the years we have created a full-scale brand to protect specialities made in this part of Lombardy”.
The revolution in butchers' shops is effectively dictated by new consumer requirements. “The crisis in the sector,” Amici sums up, “can only be overcome if experts invent new ways to attract customers. Meat specialists must certainly have experience but must also know how to keep up with the times”.
Source: Eurocarne Outlook