Keepin’ it local: Decorate your table with Sussex crafts
Our Cape Region is home to countless small businesses that specialize in food products. With the exception of a few, many of these products are not available anywhere else. We have craft breweries, of course. And craft distilleries. Even a couple of craft wineries. But if you take a closer look, you’ll find craft jams & jellies. Craft jerky (yup, that’s a thing). Craft bloody mary mix. Craft Angus Beef. Former restaurateur Mitch King’s Cool as a Cucumber operation gathers peaches, nectarines, plums, melons, tomatoes and local sweet corn to keep home cooks and restaurants in fresh produce. We’ve even got craft hot sauces like Rick Ewing’s Eagle Wingz, Chef Mark Schaeffer’s Murder Sauce and Travis Bowers’ Tatanka Sauce.
Delaware is rife with craft meat producers: Hughes Delaware Maid Scrapple. Rapa Scrapple in Bridgeville. And of course Kirby & Holloway’s prepared sausages, breakfast meats - and (of course) scrapple. Fig’s Culinary Creations, a relatively new kid in town, makes wonderful sausages in small quantities for sale to restaurants, breweries and butcher shops in the area.
Peter DeFiglio is indeed The Sausage Guy. So “craft,” in fact, that he works closely with local chefs and breweries to create one-of-a-kind recipes specifically for 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 stores planted the seed in young Pete early on. The family eventually closed the last of the stores, but the food industry can be habit forming. One fateful day he told his wife he was going out to 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 he has accomplished that by working one-on-one with breweries and chefs to create products to fit their concepts. One of the best examples is the line of custom sausages he offers for sale at Paul’s Kitchen, personal chef Cullen’s little deli, grocery and dining spot. Unusual blends include broccoli rabe & provolone, sweet or Calabrian Italian, chicken sausage, and even an unusual dandelion sausage that may (or may not) be on the shelves. The hickory-smoked Andouille sausage and brisket burgers at Bethany Blues in Lewes and Bethany Beach are just two of Fig’s creations. He even designed a special hot dog to be used in a corn dog recipe for a charity event. He put extra effort and expense into the construction of the dog to ensure that all-important “snap” in the first bite. Now THAT’S dedication.
Pete’s handmade products are often available for sale or as ingredients at J&M Markets in Berlin, Md., Burley Oak Brewery, Thompson Island Brewery, Northeast Seafood Kitchen, Annabelle’s BBQ & Creamery in Ocean City, Our Harvest in Fenwick, Atlantic Hotel in Berlin and Liquid Assets in Ocean City. At Paul’s Kitchen on Cedar Grove Road, you can buy sausages for your own recipes and also taste them firsthand every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 pm., in his one-of-a-kind sandwiches and dishes.
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 www.FigsCulinaryCreations.com.