Back to Specialty Food News

2024 Hall of Fame Inductee: Cristiano Creminelli, Creminelli Fine Meats/Charcuterie Artisans

Cristiano Creminelli headshot

Cristiano Creminelli’s family has been creating artisanal meats and cheeses for generations in Italy, and it didn’t take him long to turn that Old World craftsmanship into a highly successful specialty food business in the U.S.

Starting out in 2007 in the basement of Caputo’s Market & Deli in Salt Lake City, Creminelli used his family’s salami recipe to build a specialty food empire, Creminelli Fine Meats, that has won numerous awards for its premium salami and other products. The growth of the company, which Creminelli founded with partners Chris Bowler and Jared Lynch, has been exponential.

Creminelli recalls attending his first Fancy Food Show in San Diego in 2008, when the Moscone Center in San Francisco was being renovated. Several large retailers and foodservice companies expressed an interest in carrying his salami, but he had to tell them he was too small to meet their demands. He did reach an agreement with Whole Foods, however, to introduce his products one region at a time.

“They said, ‘We are going to give you one region, then another and another until you have all of the United States,’” Creminelli said.

Creminelli soon relocated larger facilities, and the company has been growing ever since as its products have expanded into more and more high-end supermarkets, specialty stores, and restaurants throughout the country.

In 2019, a private equity firm acquired Creminelli Fine Meats and merged it with Danielle International, a Rhode Island-based maker of premium charcuterie and related products under the Danielle and Del Duca brands, as well as private labels.

“For me, it was like Disneyland,” said Creminelli, describing Danielle’s state of the art factory and equipment, which enabled the company to expand into more products, including prosciutto.

Now Creminelli is thinking about the next frontiers in charcuterie.

“The new trend is the charcuterie made in Spain, and that’s something that intrigues me a lot,” he said, noting that he has friends in the La Mancha area that produce some of the best hams in the world. “I hope to be able to go and spend a couple of months and learn the technique. That is my goal right now.”