Recently while on a layover in Chicago for my flight to Philadelphia I sent a message to Billy Rawstrom, the owner of Maiale – Deli & Salumeria asking him what time his store close. Billy replied and I said that I would be there before the shop closed to make a few purchases. Although the store was open much to my dismay Billy was not there for he was out making deliveries (which is why there are no pictures of Billy in this post).
Maiale – Deli & Salumeria, located on Lancaster Avenue in Wilmington, DE is a small artisan sausage shop that has been grinding out handmade fresh and dried sausages for the past few years. The owner, Billy Rawstrom who is married to a friend of the family is living the dream as far as I am concerned. I give him credit for opening a sausage shop and deli in a city in a region where good Italian sausage is taken for granted and can be found in most grocery stores.
Although the name maiale “may-all-ay” is Italian for pig, there is much more than just Italian fresh or dried sausages and cured meats at the store. Billy offers a wide selection of handmade sausages of Polish, German, Mexican and American origin. However, he does not stop there. Many of the selections, either daily or as limited offerings can make one’s mouth water just by reading the names; Fire Roasted Poblano & Corn, Chicken Cordon Bleu or Broccoli Rabe & Sharp Provolone to name a few.
On this day, my brother-in-law and I purchased a selection of fresh and dried sausages. For the fresh sausages we purchased; Fire Roasted Poblano & Corn, Jalapeno & Cheddar, Chicken Marsala, Pepperoni Pizza and Chicken Cordon Bleu. In addition to the fresh sausages we also bought a stick of Tuscan Salami and Landjagger. All of the sausages were great when we ate them on Sunday, but the Fire Roasted Poblano & Corn and the Lanjagger were beyond amazing. The Fire Roasted Poblano & Corn was bursting with flavor of a well-seasoned Mexican chorizo style sausage. The Landjagger competes against any of the other dried sausages that are produced at Maiale. There has never been a dried sausage from Maiale that I did not enjoy.
There are many things to like about Maiale. Not only is the sausage and meats prepared and processed on site, but the meats are locally sourced. The casings are real, not synthetic which for me makes a big difference in the overall taste and experience of eating the sausage. Not only does Maiale sell hand-crafted sausage and cured meats, but they also provide a lunch menu (I must try the Reuben Sandwich) and a catering service. Billy also has a busy schedule promoting his hand-crafted product at many of the local farmer’s markets in and around northern Delaware. For those that know Billy Rawstrom, he will even deliver an order if you cannot make it to the store before closing.
In a time when mass produced food has become the norm and our expectations of the food we eat has been modified by our lifestyles and the machinations of big food processing companies; it is refreshing to know that Billy and those like him are maintaining the skills and arts of producing quality foods. Whether you live near the store or passing through Delaware on I-95, you must stop at Maiale – Deli & Salumeria and experience the quality of fresh sausages and cured meats that can only be crafted by the hands of an artisan.