Three generations of one Wollongong family use their social distancing time to make 101 home made salamis in a day

Keeping Italian tradition alive during COVID-19: Luigi Villella learned how to make salami in Italy when he was eight years old and on the weekend passed the tradition on to his 15 year old twin grandsons Anthony and Louis Villella.
Keeping Italian tradition alive during COVID-19: Luigi Villella learned how to make salami in Italy when he was eight years old and on the weekend passed the tradition on to his 15 year old twin grandsons Anthony and Louis Villella.

Families spending more time together in 2020 has resulted in many changes and some challenges but Wollongong's Villella family has become closer during COVID-19.

Linda Villella, of City Beach Properties, is the mother of teenage twin boys Anthony and Louis Villella and couldn't be more proud of what they did on the weekend.

Mrs Villella said her husband Pasquale Villella's family have been making home made salami for generations. And once a year his father Luigi Villella chooses a day to bring the family together to make more than 100.

15 year old twins Anthony and Louis Villella had shown interest before but never as much as they did on the weekend. Which may be in part to being one positive thing they can attribute to COVID-19 bringing the family closer as they spend more time together..

The Villella family is excited because it means the Italian salami making tradition and technique has been passed down to another generation.

Luigi Villella learned the skill from his elders in Calabria, Italy before migrating to Australia on a ship in his late teens. He has carried on the family tradition every year since and was so happy on the weekend when his grandsons were so eager to be involved.

The process involves considerable planning and preparation.and the actual salami making is always a major family event.

The Villella's no longer butcher the pig themselves like families traditionally did in Italy.

Luigi and Pasquale have a preferred butcher they call in advance to order a pig and have all the meat minced for them. The butcher also provides the casings for the salami and mixes the capsicum sauce, fennel seeds, salt and other ingredients into the mince for them.

The moon plays a part in the timing of the annual salami making event. On the chosen day the men head out early in the morning to pick up the meat around 7am as well as the special ties for the salami. They then return home to start production.

"It is an all day process," Mrs Villella said.

"The salami then hangs for a certain amount of time in my father-in-law's cellar. They separate them and smoke some of them as well. Some they make are really hot salami and some are just the normal mild salami. But they are all made with love".

Mrs Villella said she knows lots of families in the Illawarra are using the additional time they have together during the coronavirus crisis to do things at home. And she loved watching three generations of her family so eagerly working together on the weekend.

The family eat their own home made salami but also make exchanges with other families with Italian heritage in the neighborhood to try. There is some good natured friendly rivalry about who makes the best salami. But the greatest pride for each family comes from the next generation being willing to carry on the tradition.

"Over the last couple of years Anthony and Louis Villella have shown a bit of interest but this year they were actually making the salami themselves," Mrs Villella said.

"They were keen to learn how to make them properly and tie them. They learnt the whole process this year. Luigi told me he was making them in Italy at eight years of age. Children today have more distractions and Anthony and Louis's involvement was so good for me and my father-in-law to see. He felt very proud that his grandchildren were there filling the salamis up and doing them really well.

"My husband was so good standing back a little this year and letting the boys have more of a go. He was very proud to know he has now passed on this tradition to the next generation".

Mrs Villella said it was great for her sons to see and be involved in the process from start to finish and enjoy the rewards. She said it gave them a greater appreciation that not everything you eat has to come from a shop.

"They found it very satisfying," she said.

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This story Three generations of one Wollongong family make 101 salamis in one day first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.