Signature rate: the Longview company specializes in European-style cold meats | Local company
A local meat cider reopened in March after a hiatus of about two years to update equipment and wait for the pandemic restrictions to be lifted.
The Beautiful Pig factory has been located behind the Longview home of owner Christopher Leach since around 2011. Inside the approximately 500 square foot shed, Leach now produces up to 250 pounds of cured meat per month, like its European counterparts, he said.
Leach uses salt and other spices in an age-old way to preserve meat in types of sausage like salami, pepperoni, kielbasa and chorizo. It sells finished products online and to local and regional businesses. Half of the flavors on offer are traditional, like fennel and chianti, and the other half are Leach’s creations, like white truffle and champagne, he said.
The vacuum-packed cured meat lists the ingredients, which typically include a wine or beer, and can be used for pairing options, Leach added. He said its flavors differ from those of American deli meats and called The Beautiful Pig “the only supplier of European-style deli meats in southwest Washington.”
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Hobby turned to work
He converted about a third of his oversized garage on 20th Avenue into a meat processing plant in 2011. At his plant, Leach grinds meat from Carlton Farms in Oregon, mixes it with spices and stuffs his creations. in natural casings. The meat is cooked to the criteria of the United States Department of Agriculture, but not fully cooked, then hung for about two hours to dry, he said. The process takes around four weeks for small boxes and up to two months for larger ones, he added.
Leach is a retired professional cellist who turned to fermenting beer, then cheese, then meat for fun until “this hobby got serious” and he opened The Beautiful Pig.
He said the fermentation process is very similar; the sugars are distilled into lactic acid, giving cheese and salami that familiar tangy flavor.
Leach said it temporarily closed in 2018 due to delays in receiving equipment shipped from Italy and then for its suppliers to reopen after the pandemic. He said his packaged goods are sold at Hop-N-Grape on 15th Avenue and his wholesale meats garnish pizzas at Roland Wines on Florida Street in Longview. Suppliers are also found in places in Oregon like Willamette Valley, Astoria and Portland, he added.
Leach said he was a graduate of RA Long High School, who spent about a decade in the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra before returning to Longview to teach music.
Signature Fare is a series featuring menu items and impressions of local restaurants every alternate Wednesday.
Contact Daily News reporter Hayley Day at 360-577-2541 or [email protected] for possible inclusion in the series.