It's a little hard to believe, but the Proper Sausages shop is turning 1-and-a-half today. The Miami Shores meat boutique opened March 23, 2013, after Freddy and Danielle Kaufmann's sausages, sold mostly at farmers' markets, caused a sensation in Miami.
The couple began making sausages, partly out of necessity, about three years ago, not really intending it to lead to a career. Freddy Kaufman explains, "I was moving back to Miami after being in New York for culinary school. It was right around Obama's inauguration, and I met Danielle. We were both working in restaurants -- she in the front of the house, me in the back. I was working at Michy's. I ate there all the time, and I considered it a dream to get to work there. But it's a bit of a bittersweet thing, because it's a business like any other and the reality of cooking is that sometimes it can be thankless and anonymous and you start to lose a connection to the food.
"Danielle and I would eat around town, and she was continually remarking that the sausage wasn't as good as it was in England. It was just that the quality there was something you take for granted, and it just wasn't present here. Danielle said we should be making our own, and we did and got a really good response from friends. We started selling them at farmers' markets, and we took pride in the quality of the meat and in breaking all these sausage-making traditions. Before you knew it, we were opening a shop that sells meat and bacon and wine and beer. But it all starts with Danielle being attuned to the fact that there wasn't a proper sausage in town."
Kaufmann says that the shop's success has been "fantastic" and that Proper Sausages is just "inches away from being able to roll out e-commerce capabilities." He says they rely on both repeat customers and new people learning about the sausages from friends and through social media. "We're trying new things as much as possible."
The shop hosts intimate wine pairings, like this Wednesday's bacon and rosé pairing, which is nearly sold out (call the shop at 786-334-5734 to see if there are any spaces available). Kaufmann says the tasting will consist of five bacon-centric plates paired with five rosé wines.
If you don't immediately think of rosé and bacon, Kaufmann wants to open your eyes to the possibilities. "We've been able to taste a lot of wines and rosés here. I see now how that the refreshment of a rosé pairs nicely with how savory bacon can be. Bacon can be smoky, and it's nice to have something that can cut through that. That's one of the reasons why I like to consider a pairing with something off the beaten path. It's easy to pair beer with everything we do here, but this opens your eyes to rosé.
Proper Sausages is also bracing for its busiest time of year -- fall. "Football season is great for us. People come in and they start salivating, and you know they're just thinking that they're going to tailgate with our sausages and that it's going to make the experience the best."
Kaufmann is also gearing up for Thanksgiving, where the shop sells humanely raised turkeys, and then Christmas, when sausages are used in stuffings and as hearty meals for holiday get-togethers.
Kaufmann says he hopes to host more events and tastings and hopes the small craft food movement grows in Miami. "Let's develop farmers' markets that are food-driven. We're still getting there. We need generations of chefs that realize there are other ways of being fulfilled in a career than as a chef. It just takes a little while for people to realize we need cheesemakers and butchers. You need to have people learning about food."
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