The feast of family, food and traditions poured out into the streets, taking over the lane right behind the bakery named after the late Joseph Deleo.
One of his sons, Franco Deleo, who helps run the family business with his mom, Anna Maria, and three brothers, James, John Paul and Alessandro, talked about the importance of these kinds of events. “It’s one of the ways we like giving back to the community that has continued to support us over the years.”
The community he speaks of includes current and past residents, as well as loyal customers from across the city who all share the common meeting ground of Tre Mari Bakery. Outside, they gathered around the tasting booth, cast their votes for People’s Choice award, enjoyed live entertainment and danced tarantellas as they waited for the winners to be announced.
Zen, a taste-tester, takes a big bite
David Battiston, the contest organizer, said they were at capacity in every category, Best Authentic Soppressata, People’s Choice Soppressata and Best Authentic Capocollo. “It was a testament of how popular this contest has become. People from San Diego, Texas and even Iceland reached out to us on Instagram,” he said.
Jim Ferrari, this year’s winner for Best Authentic Soppressata, decided to enter the contest at the last minute. His friends and family who swear by his soppressata urged him to participate. Ferrari, 56, has been making soppressata since he was nine years old.
“It’s a Calabrese tradition I enjoy carrying on. My father taught me everything and is looking down on me with pride today.”
Winners: Frank Carnovale (People's Choice Award) and Jim Ferrari (Best Authentic Soppressata)
While he has honoured his father’s recipe for the most part, he did make some changes to it to make it leaner and spicier. “I reduced the fat, added more lean meat and added ready cure salt and pepper sauce.” His wife Anna said that making the soppressata is the easy part. “It’s pressing them, hanging them, making sure they dry with the right temperatures and aging them that’s the hardest part. But, it’s worth it,” she explains.
Ferrari hopes his children Amanda, 23, and Anthony, 17, carry on the tradition of making them. “I know they enjoy eating them,” he says. Last year’s reigning champion and former resident of Corso Italia, Frank Carnovale, took this year’s People’s Choice Award. “I’m truly honoured to carry on this tradition and the fact that people enjoy it makes me so happy,” he said.
The Best Authentic Capocollo went to Carolos Branco and Mario Deo who made the winning entry together. Councillor Cesar Palacio for Ward 17 was among the crowd to congratulate all the winners and to cap off the event by presenting the Tre Mari matriarch, Mary Deleo, with an award for Tre Mari’s contribution to the community. “We have to thank the Deleo family for putting on wonderful events like this and for all their contributions to our community,” he said.