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Do This: Frank Balestri's Fifth Annual Sopressata Contest

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Sep 21, 2011 6:40PM

2011_9_21_sopressata.jpg Chicago Police officer Frank Balestri is better known among local food buffs as "The Sodfather" for his homemade sopressata. Mike Sula's profile of Balestri in the Reader from January is worth the read and a detailed look into how to make homemade sopressata. Balestri's own recipe should be a bookmark for you charcuterie buffs.

Balestri also organizes an annual sopressata contest, getting the idea after visiting an Italian festival in Pennsylvania. The festival has grown by leaps and bounds. Balestri told us a few weeks back he expects somewhere between 40-50 "sod" entries for this year's fifth annual contest, being held Sunday at the Park Place of Countryside Banquet Hall (6200 Joliet Rd., Countryside; 708-588-1752).

$20 gains you entry and you're not only getting to taste as many sporessata samples as you can stomach. There's entertainment from Tony Ocean and, for folks who think Chicago Gourmet is too expensive, take the money you wold have spent on entry to that cattle call and spend it at the cash bar. This contest also has a charitable aspect - proceeds raised will go to benefit the medical costs of Nicholas Tobar, son of a Chicago cop who recently underwent heart surgery. The contest kicks off at 3 p.m.