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King of Links

Taverrite’s Old World Sausage rules them all.


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Courtesy of Taverrite’s Old World Sausage

Greg Taverrite has a friend to thank for scoring one of his first sausage clients. The friend was lunching at Pizza Antica in Lafayette and demanded to see the owner. “Your Italian sausage sucks,” she told him, in no uncertain terms, suggesting that he try Taverrite’s calabrese sausage instead.

“So, I went in and apologized for her aggressive approach,” Taverrite says. He offered samples of the pork links he’d been making and selling at farmers markets. The restaurant commissioned a hot version of his sausage, and ever since, it has appeared on every Number 8—the spicy calabrese sausage, onion, and pepper pizza.

Taverrite says his sausage has “East Coast flavor”—heavy on the fennel, spices, and heat. The recipe belonged to his grandfather, who moved to the United States from Calabria, Italy, when he was young, then ran a butcher shop and grocery store with his two brothers in upstate New York. Taverrite decided to revive the family tradition from his home in Alamo about 10 years ago, finding vendors for whole-cut pork and organic spices, and going against the Northern California grain of gourmet chicken sausages. “I think my grandfather would roll over in his grave if he thought I was making chicken sausage,” he says, with a laugh.

Now, Taverrite’s Old World Sausage is sold at Whole Foods and Molly Stone’s markets throughout the Bay Area. His two newest products will hit the freezer section at Whole Foods this summer: an Italian breakfast slider, a mild, larger-than-usual sausage patty; and sausage crumbles, for lasagnas, quiches, or gravy.

Keep an eye out for meatballs this fall and more Taverrite family favorites after that.

For more info, visit oldworldsausage.com.

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