Kilmore East salami specialists The Meat Room won gold medals for five salamis at the 2023 National Charcuterie Awards.
Mild, mild pistachio, prosecco, fennel and calabrese salamis won gold with the fennel salami also taking out overall category champion for traditional salami hot/mild above 35 millimetres, beating large companies such as Barossa Fine Foods, Bertocchi Smallgoods and Don Smallgoods.
There were 725 entries across 10 classes and 40 categories with the judging week hosted by William Angliss Institute.
A panel of 17 judges, experienced across all areas of the smallgoods industry, including chefs, educators and specialists scored the entrants.
The Meat Room owner James Mele said it meant a lot to be recognised by his peers.
“Basically we thought we won’t put all of our salamis in because it’s expensive to put them in so we limited it to five to just see how it goes,” he said.
“Five gold medals were not quite a surprising result but it was good to get that result for sure.
“To get the category champion was pretty good for us, I can tell you. For the little guys versus the big guys.”
Mr Mele comes from a family of butchers with six generations on one side of his family and three on the other.
“It took three years for us to get our license to make salami. It took a lot of time, money and energy to get there but obviously we’ve reaped the rewards,” he said.
“To be able to get in front of all the big players in that industry and pick up that award was pretty cool.”
Last year The Meat Room’s prosecco salami won gold.
The fennel salami was also submitted last year but did not do as well.
“The year before it didn’t really rank – so what had changed was the question that I asked,” Mr Mele said.
“It is subjective – it was the same panel of judges – so for them to come up with that it was very interesting.
“Some people may not like a certain flavour or something along those lines but we’re very happy this one got it over the line for us.”