Growing up in a major Italian community in Australia, I've been influenced by Italian food for a very long time. Even before Nutella became commercially available on the Australian market, my Grade 2 Italian teacher was serving it to me and my classmates on little triangles of super white sandwich bread.
In my 8th year Italian High School class I was first introduced to prosciutto. We were told that it was best served with slices of fresh melon and eaten in one mouthful. The idea of fruit and meat all at once was relatively foreign for us Aussie country kids - used to a meat and two veg diet, and at first we were put off by the idea. But, as I'm quite fond of food, I took the challenge and the first bite.
From that moment, prosciutto and me, well, we were best friends. Listed as one of my favourite foods, I really don't know what I would do without it. By my late teens, prosciutto was relatively easy to come by in Australian supermarkets, and at the slightest hint of a craving, it wouldn't be long before I was savouring the taste of the freshly cut ham.
Alas, my Italian is no longer as strong as my love for Italian food. When I moved to England, I fully expected that the prosciutto that I was used to would be easily available but unfortunately, Northampton didn't deliver. For almost a whole year I had to resign myself to prepackaged supermarket prosciutto that cost £4.00 per 50 grams and tasted like 1 month old cured shoe leather. When I decided to move, I have to admit that one of the charms that attracted me to Cambridge was the neighbourhood that I was moving into. Close to the city centre and on the "wrong" side of the tracks, the area stems off a main aterial road (Mill Road) which is rich in multicultural shops and restaurants.
My favourite of these is a small Italian delicatessen called Limoncello's. Manned on a week day basis by a Milanese named Teo, the shop offers fresh, locally baked bread called Cambridge and Peterborough bread, shipped in fresh pesto, olives, cheese and an abundance of meats. This is where I find my prosciutto. Teo cuts it perfectly every time; skimming it gently across the blade of the meat slicer, the feather light slices fall onto the paper. They are wafer thin and are best eaten by themselves, completely unadulterated.
212 Mill Road