Having graced the crowns of some of the world’s most famous actors, both stage and screen and politicians the world over; the Italian hat manufacturer Borsalino has been fashioning stylish fedoras for 159 years. Founded in 1857 by Giuseppe Borsalino, the former errand boy turned Master Hatter found his niche when he created his signature fedora out of Belgium rabbit fur in the late 1800s.
By 1909, Borsalino reportedly was making 5500 hats per day and up to 2 million a year during the roaring 20s when a hat was considered de rigueur for both women and men. Today, their hats can be purchased from one of their eight signature stores and from high fashion retailers throughout Europe and at Barney’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus here in the United States.
Closer to home, Borsalino fedoras can be purchased at Bernard’s on Chicago’s south side which services the “steppin” crowd – a Chicago born style of dancing to R&B music that evolved from Swing dancing in the 20s and 40s.
La Quercia (pronounced La Kwair-cha ) which means the Oak in Italian, is an American owned manufacturer of artisan delicacies. What makes this company unique is its sustainable philosophy throughout every stage of production of its Prosciuttificio La Quercia line of cured varietal meats.
Inspired by their three years living in Parma, Italy – the regional origin of prosciutto – Herb and Kathy Eckhouse applied the knowledge they learned to produce an outstanding made in America product. Sourcing for raw pork is done within 200 miles of the company’s plant in Iowa from sustainable pork farmers. And, organic spices from the Oregon Spice Company are utilized where possible as well as sea salt from the US, according to their website.
Sustainability was built into the the opening of the 2009 factory incorporating heat recovery from the refrigeration compressors to provide most of the heating in the plant, computerized compressors to minimize on-line horsepower, high density, non-ozone depleting polyurethane foam, and Freon R404A all which have far less impacts on the environment.
“Just as artisan wine depends for its flavor on the quality of the grapes, artisan cured meat depends on the quality of the meat. We think that aging can bring meat to its highest expression, developing its inherent qualities to showcase what is unique about each breed and its animal husbandry. We use heritage breeds and traditional techniques to create distinctly American tastes,” says the company spokesperson.
Among the best sellers are: Acorn Edition, Green Label Organic and Americano salami, just to name a few. Visit their website or check out the deli section at Treasure Island.
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