My godmother’s husband, a foodie in the truest sense of that overused word, has been buying his sausages and smoked meats from Schaller & Weber since he first moved to Manhattan over 50 years ago. Walking into their store on the Upper East Side, which has been open since 1937, is like stepping back in time. Everything from the floor tiles and ceiling to the friendly expert butchers behind the counter make you feel like you’ve not only walked into a different era but a different country too.
Aurora and I had the same experience when we visited their factory in Queen’s. On the office’s wooden planked walls hangs a wonderful photograph of the company’s founder, Ferdinand Schaller with his wife Marianne and you get the feeling that he is still presiding over the daily activities and ensuring that the standards he put in place in 1937 are maintained to this day.
Ferdinand was a master butcher who emigrated to the US in 1927 from his hometown of Stuttgart in Germany. Today it is his grandson, Jeremy Schaller, who runs the business like his father did before him – making sure that, even as their reputation has grown to receive International awards, it still has the feel of a family run business.
Seeing the operations behind our producers has been one of the most rewarding parts of starting this business. The Schaller & Weber factory tour was no exception and the tasting that we were given in the (now retro chic) office of Jeremy’s grandfather was definitely the highlight. The obscene amount of products laid out before us, made me wish I had skipped lunch and the goody bag I was given as we left, will feed me and my friends for weeks!
Everything from the Swedish Party Ham to the Bratwurst was superb but if I had to choose just one thing to leave with, it would be the Double Smoked Bacon. I have used it in every pasta sauce and then also simply sliced and fried for a couple of minutes on each side along with creamy scrambled eggs and hot buttered toast. I come from a long line of bacon lovers and it is without a doubt the best bacon I have ever tasted. UK Customs Officials please avert your eyes – I’m taking some home to England for the holidays!