Unendurably atrocious Nduja

I want to warn you about an unutterably odious food travesty I have been unfortunate enough to experience. The Nduja sold by the company Unearthed is a phenomenally wretched, deplorable and generally half-arsed facsimile of the real product. Indeed, so repulsive is it that I fear it will not only menace but actually exterminate any possibility of the comestible acquiring the enthusiastic reputation it undoubtedly deserves.

Real Calabrian Nduja

Long-time readers will recall the glowing report of my first experience with Nduja; for those who don’t it is a spreadable Calabrian salami made from pig’s cheeks, lard and belly with 25-30% flakes of local chilli. All of these constituents are important and make it a characterful, if not unique, food to sample. Consequently, when Editor Daniel and I saw Unearthed’s offering on the shelves of Waitrose we thought ourselves in for a quality meal. Our hopes were categorically annihilated.

Unearthed Nduja is filth!

We thought we would be prepare it with pasta, the simple yet gratifying dish I expounded upon in the first article, and so scored some spiffy pasta from the supermarket as well. A few days later we were boiling this up (remember the instruction about salt in the pasta water, terribly important) and opened our two packets of Nduja – the horror. It looked like a nondescript paste of tedious redness perhaps containing meat that had been pulverised and homogenised to vapid uniformity – no morsels of pig fat or flakes of chilli could be discerned. When it came to mixing it with the pasta it was confirmed that it was just pulped slop rather than something of compelling texture. Furthermore, as we mixed the lack of lard was evident as no fatty goodness melted to coat the pasta. Portents for a quality dinner were beyond ominous.

Sheer hunger dictated we continue on to eating our dinner; alas after a few distressing mouthfuls we gave up and consigned Unearthed’s flagitious offering to the land-fill bin. This pretence at Nduja had only the lacklustre flavour of chilli powder, not the heroic personality of powerful chilli flakes. Its meatiness was vague and insipid, certainly not suffused with the savour of interesting cuts of pig’s face and fat. This was inedibly repellent, we were truly dejected having sampled it. Such woeful dross should be avoided and I cannot suggest strongly enough that you boycott this contemptible counterfeit of a great and noble food.


4 Comments

  • Kavey wrote:

    I can’t claim any nduja expertise but… I had some of on cheese toast (under the melted cheese) and I rather enjoyed it… are you giving over to hyperbole a bit here?

  • David Strange wrote:

    Hello Kavey,

    All I can say is that the editor and I found two or three mouthfuls to be as much as we could take even though we were extremely hungry (as I usually am) and we have eaten and greatly enjoyed quality nduja with pasta on countless occasions. If De Calabria can still be found on the web (link in my original article) or at Borough Market you should try their offering and see there is a world of difference.

    Heaven forbid that Elitistreview should ever stray into being massively opinionated or overly colourful in language ;)

    Many thanks for dropping by! BTW, your site is as great a read as ever.

  • Thomas Blach wrote:

    I haven’t tried this, David, though I’m similarly keen on ‘Nduja-in fact I shall be making a batch later in the week that will be ready in a month or so. This seems to me a nasty cynical company, though, selling mediocre products-and ready sliced charcuterie packed in plastic will never be anything else-to take advantage of people’s ignorance.

  • David Natt wrote:

    Haven’t had the Unearthed example, but do rate with you the De Calabria product.

    We’re hoping that DeCalabria can yet find a way to join us at our #CharcuterieFestival.

    If yes, then we will have to put on a comparative tasting…