Let me tell you about my very dear friend, Angelo.
"Angelo Ibleto, who’s been supplying Sonoma County, California, with delicious specialty meats, salsas, and garlic products from his butchery for decades, recently came up with an innovative solution for battle fatigue. The venerable Italian sent a military-size shipment of beef jerky to American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, who liked it so much they sent a photographic thank-you letter in reply. Angelo’s offers an endless and constantly changing inventory of items, ranging from garlic salsa to stuffed olives to barbecue sauce – not to mention the world famous jerky, which is made daily. His BBQ dry rub is award winning, unbelievably flavorfull, and will add zest to every dish imaginable.
"The countryside surrounding Angelo's Meat Market in Petaluma takes on a certain pungency as you approach Angelo's Meat and Sausage on Adobe Road. The air is heavy with spices, brine, smoke, and grease, all the smells of a busy smokehouse, where Angelo Ibleto and his family have been making jerky, sausages, salami, smoked ham and bacon and of course, deli items to go with them, for over 30 years.
His daughters Alison and Angela and his brothers Arturo (the Pasta King) and Aldo.
His grandsons, Jake and Bill
"Angelo's has always been famous for his fabulous salsas as well, and has a deli in downtown Sonoma, but the advantage for the consumer is shipability, with orders easily taken over the phone or by fax, e-mail, or the Web. One of the simplest things to ship is a bag of zesty beef jerky, which Angelo's sells in eight varieties, including teriyaki, plain, Cajun, hot peppered, and garlic, each for $28 per pound, which can easily satisfy ten jerky lovers, and he will ship anywhere. Angela, and Allison, Angelo's daughters, also can custom-pack a gift box with your choice of mustards, sauces, olives, and sausages from the deli.
"Angelo's brother, Arturo 'Art' Ibleto has been a field worker, truck driver, mechanic, butcher, farmer, and freedom fighter, but he's best known as the Pasta King. If you were at this very moment to ask everyone in Northern California who has ever had 'Pasta King pasta' to raise their hands, you'd see a sea of arms shoot up from Venice to Oakland, from Arcata to Yreka. At weddings, funerals, school fundraisers, county fairs, and political rallies, Ibleto's wholesome, hearty, and simple pasta keeps constituents gladly coming back for more.
"If you have an event, like a festival, a wine tasting, or a wedding and need it catered, Angelo's caters as well. Angelo still roasts whole pigs when catering large gatherings, but he has found that smaller, more diversified cuts more closely match his consumers' increasingly sophisticated taste and busier lifestyle. Angelo also has earned the title of the official pig smoker for the Bohemian Grove three years running.
"Angelo; Butcher, Baker, and Pasta Maker"
Colored Pencil by Janet Jones
"Angelo is also known for his honey, and loves tasting it right off the honeycomb. “Oh yeah,” he says with relish. 'My God, are you kidding? To be able to get a piece of honey from the comb and put it in your mouth, I think is the best thing anybody can have except maybe my beef jerky.' But Angelo doesn’t call his honey organic. After all, joked the gregarious butcher, 'you can’t tell the bees to visit only organic strawberries, you cannot tell the bees, Don’t go there'. Unfortunately, due to conditions in Sonoma County and throughout California, beekeepers are seeing a dramatic decrease in bee populations. So Angelo won't sell his honey through this web site, yet. 'I don't want to put something here that I'm not gonna sell, you know?' So for now, just keep Angelo's Honey in your mind but don't expect to buy any, yet!
"Finally, here's an option if you prefer to arrive in Sonoma with picnic-already-in-a basket. On your way into town, stop at Angelo's Wine Country Deli. The self-styled King of Jerky, Angelo Ibleto also produces 18 varieties of sausages, most of which have one ingredient in common: garlic. 'I'm a garlic freak,' the Genoa native explained to me. 'If you like garlic, there's never enough.' His sausage sandwiches provide a good start for any outdoor festival. And you never know who'll be inside when you walk in: you might see Tippy Hedron or Huey Lewis snacking on a piece of beef jerky.
"Additionally, while you're waiting for your order to be processed, look around. His walls are full of awards, newspaper clippings, and photographs of him with other uniquely famous people. Ask him to tell you about the day Sophia Loren rode on the back of his motorcycle when traffic congestion made driving impossible. Or better yet, ask Angelo about the man who tried to ask him for his opinion about the atomic bomb, or if it's humor you crave, ask him if he heard any new jokes today?
"But if you do, be prepared to be there a while, believe me, and also be prepared to laugh until you cry, which is always a treat.
"But, never, never ask him about his Grappa. You have to be connoisseur to appreciate it and to be shamelessly honest, I want to make sure that there's some left the very next time I leave West Virginia and visit with my very dear friend."
- Robert M. Henry, owner, Artist For Sale or Rent Ripley, West Virginia, also the web master.
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