Every Saturday on the annual Queen’s Birthday long weekend, Deniliquin’s Morona family gathers to make their traditional homemade salami.
About 25 close family and friends — some travelling from as far as Melbourne and Newcastle to attend — enjoy one another’s company as they chop and mince their ingredients, working to a family recipe.
The result is five varieties totalling about 150 salami sticks, and an abundance of three different flavoured sausages.
The salami is cured for three months and then shared amongst loved ones.
The tradition started roughly 20 years ago at Frank and Anna Morona’s ‘Berrima’ farm, just outside Deniliquin.
Originally from Italy, the couple started the tradition once their family began to grow.
In the early years, their children would help out with the preparation of the salami, and it soon became an annual event as the family grew.
This tradition is shared by numerous families with Italian heritage in the local area culminating in the annual ‘Salami Night Awards’.
‘‘The judges evaluate in a blind tasting of the salami,’’ Julie Morona explained.
‘‘We won it a couple of years ago but it’s not an easy thing to do.
‘‘Every year the judges change and we have no idea who they will be. We’ve even had a judge come up from Melbourne. They all have different tastes so it’s very interesting to see who and what type of salami wins.’’
The awards were started in 2004 by Martin Morona and Michael Pisasale and are held in early February at the Pretty Pine hall.
‘‘There is some very friendly rivalry among all competitors, because everyone thinks they have the best salami,’’ Mr Pisasale said with a laugh.
‘‘Everyone is always experimenting and it’s just a fun thing to do that brings everyone together.’’
The awards usually attract a crowd of about 100 people who made or helped with the making of the salami with often between 16 and 20 families entering.
In recent years people have been encouraged to bring along home made preserves, home brews and delicacies, and a plate of food to share with everyone for dinner.
The winner, of course, receives a trophy.
~ Abbey Flanagan