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The Cape Region can be crafty when it comes to sips & bites

July 20, 2018

The Cape Region is home to countless small businesses that specialize in food products. With the exception of just a few, many of these local products are not available anywhere else. We have craft breweries, of course. And craft distilleries. And even a couple of craft wineries. But if you take a closer look, you'll find craft jams and jellies. Craft Angus Beef. Small farms and orchards that keep our local eateries supplied with fresh produce. Even "craft" hot sauces.

Of course we all know and love our only-in-Delaware meat producers: Hughes Delaware Maid Scrapple. Rapa Scrapple in Bridgeville. And of course Kirby & Holloway's prepared sausages, breakfast meats - and of course scrapple. And there's a relatively new kid in town who has slowly been making inroads with the restaurants, breweries and butcher shops in the area, and that's Fig's Culinary Creations.

Peter DeFiglio is indeed The Sausage Guy and he is all about "craft" sausage. So "craft," in fact, that he works closely with local chefs and breweries to create one-of-a-kind recipes specifically for their use at their establishments.

Pete is a New Jersey guy, and was part of DeFiglio's Great Valu Supermarket in Ship Bottom, N.J. Primarily a purveyor of Italian specialties, the 45-year-old grocery store planted the seed in young Pete early on. The family eventually closed the last of the stores, and Pete moved on to a corporate job. But the food industry can be habit forming, and when he started to get bored working in an office, he suggested to his wife that he was going to go out and buy "a little bit of equipment" to play around making brats, hot dogs and sausages.

"A little bit of equipment" soon morphed into a lot of equipment, and Fig's Culinary Creations was born. Pete was adamant about staying small, and has accomplished that by working one-on-one with breweries and chefs to create products to fit into their concepts. One of the best examples is Crooked Hammock Brewery's beer-braised bratwurst sandwich. DeFiglio and Crooked Hammock boss Rich Garrahan put their heads together and decided that Rich's Mootzy's Treasure brew would make for a delicious sausage. It did, and it's now a staple on the menu.

The hickory-smoked Andouille sausage at Bethany Blues in Lewes and in Bethany Beach is one of Fig's products. He even created a special hot dog to be used in a corn dog recipe for a recent charity event. He put extra effort and expense into the construction of the dog to make sure the all-important "snap" was present in the first bite. Now THAT'S dedication!

Pete's handmade products are also available at J&M Markets in Berlin, Md., EVO Brewery in Salisbury, Tall Tales Brewing Company in Parsonsburg, Md., Bad Monkey in Ocean City, Atlantic Hotel in Berlin and even at personal chef Paul Cullen's brand-new kitchen just west of Plantation Road.

Pete is working very hard to remain as small and "crafty" as he can. But one can't be an entrepreneur and not think about the future. So keep an eye out for Fig's freshly ground/never frozen beer-infused burger patties, and even specially created spice packets for restaurants and home cooks so they can re-create his sausages and spiced meats in their own kitchens.

So we can officially add Pete DeFiglio to our ever-growing list of "craft" this and "craft" that. I like to think of it as just another reason to live - and dine - here in Delaware's Cape Region. Hungry yet? See more at FigsCulinaryCreations.com.

  • So many restaurants, so little time! Food writer Bob Yesbek gives readers a sneak peek behind the scenes, exposing the inner workings of the local culinary industry, from the farm to the table and everything in between. He can be reached at byesbek@capegazette.com.