September 8, 2011

New Cheeses & Iberico Ham

Iberico Ham

We’ve always wanted to carry more meats such as Prosciutto, Serrano and Iberico hams. We’ve struggled selling through these meats quickly enough.

We just found a source for delicious, fabulous Iberico ham that is pre-sliced and packaged. The meat is incredibly good! Rich, delicious with a melt-in-your-mouth feel!

Fermin Jamon Iberico – Prior to 2005, it was impossible to import Iberico ham to the United States. Popularly known as Pata Negra or black hoof pig, Fermin Iberico ham is made from the Iberico pig, a special breed native to Spain. This breed is considered the best for producing high quality, dry-cured hams with unsurpassed taste and aroma.

Immediately after weaning, the piglets are fattened on barley and maize for several weeks and then allowed to roam in pastures and oak groves to feed naturally on grass, herbs, acorns and roots. The hams are first salted and left to begin drying for 2 weeks. After that they are rinsed and left to dry for another 4-6 weeks. Fermin Iberico hams are air-cured for a minimum of 28 months using artisanal methods in the mountains near Salamanca, Spain in western Spain near the Portuguese border.

Fermin is the first Spanish Iberico ham producer to be able to import Iberico to the United States. Enjoy! $12.99 each.

New Cheeses

We just brought in three new cheeses from Italy and a new one from Spain.

The cheeses made in Tuscany are produced at Caseificio Bertagni by a father-and-son team, Bruno and Verano Bertagni in the town of Pieve Fosciana. This small town is about 50 miles northwest of Florence.

Mention Tuscany and even the most jaded among us envision romantic village, gorgeous vistas, ancient buildings and sipping wine at a table in the local village. Tuscany is home to some of Italy’s best food and wine, including the local cheese. Ideally, you would be in Tuscany nibbling at a plate of cheese and sipping the local wine. With that being difficult for most of us, we are bringing a bit of Tuscany to you with these 3 cheeses!

Rogers Collection, a superb Portland-based importer of the best cheese, meats and more from Italy, Spain, France, Greece and South Africa, brings these rich, delicious cheeses to America. They ONLY work with small, family-owned and operated producers. These are hand-crafted works of deliciousness.

Formaggio al Tartufo Caciotta (Tuscany) – This is a true Caciotta, or cheese with black truffles. It is studded with shavings of real black truffles in it. Most truffle cheeses are made with truffle aroma and not with real truffles. You can see real truffles throughout this cheese! The richness of the sheep’s milk enhances the flavors of the truffles. This is a small wheel (a little more than a pound). The rind that is edible. Aromas of earth, hay and truffle. It ages for only 30 days. Cow’s and sheep’s milk cheese. Pasteurized. The sheep are from the rare breeds of Massese and Garfagnina and they live on 17 small farms in the mountains between northern Tuscany and Emilia Romagna. Food and wine ideas - This would be GREAT shaved or grated over pasta or polenta. $22.99/pound. Pair this up with Perazzeta Sangiovese Toscana “Sara” ($12.99) or Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva “Rancia” ($42.99).

Marzolino al Pomodor (Tuscany) – This is made in a traditional Tuscan method that involves rubbing the rind repeatedly with olive oil and a dried Pomodoro tomato paste. It has a delicious, sweet earthy taste and a crumbly texture. It’s not “aggressive” in its flavor, but it is rich! Great with quince paste or fig cake or spread. It ages for only 30 days. Cow’s and sheep’s milk cheese. Pasteurized. $22.99/pound. Food and wine ideas – I love just eating this. Putting slices of it on a simple pizza with slices of tomato and green olives would be great! Pair this with Le Gallozolle Chianti ($11.99).

Tuada Pecorino Sheep’s Milk Cheese (Tuscany) – 100% Sheep’s Milk Cheese. Hand-made in Tuscany. Aged 5 months in cellars with a coating of ash and olive oil. The cheese is kept on beech wood boards while it ages. The cheese is hand-turned regularly so that it develops a consistent texture and density throughout. Tuada means cellar in Tuscany. The milk comes from Garfanina sheep. The taste is wonderfully sweet with an earthy flavor. The texture is much like Parmigiano-Reggiano. When the milk arrives at the creamery, it is pasteurized and the starter cultures are added. After the curds form, they are cut with a special tool called a chitarra and then are further broken down into smaller pieces with the same tool that is used in the making of Parmigiano-Reggiano. It looks like a giant balloon whisk on a pole. $24.99/pound. Food and wine ideas – substitute this for Parmigiano or Piave Vecchio. Grate or shave it over many foods, including salads. This eats beautifully by itself. Pair this with Tre Donne Joan d’Arc ($21.99) or Elio Perrone Barbera d’Asti ($18.99). Winner, Gold Medal at the European Mountain Cheese Olympics, Sheep Cheese Category

Veigadarte Goat Cheese (Spain) – This is a semi-aged goat cheese that is in a 2-3 pound log. If you are familiar with Bucheron, you have a good idea how this cheese looks. It’s aged 1 month. The cheese is made by an artisanal cheesemaker, Mr. Joaquim Villanueva Casado, using milk from 2 breeds of goats, Verata and Avila. This is high in butterfat and has that characteristic “tangy” citrus flavors of goat cheese. It has a pleasant “funky” sweetness around the riper outer edge. A cheese such as this ripens from the outside in. This cheese has an ash rind that develops a bloomy white mold. The black ash actually attracts the white mold and the color contrast is beautiful! It’s snowy white in the center and a creamier beige around the outer part. Pronounced “vayj-uh-dart-ay.” $22.99/pound. Food and wine ideas – spread on crackers or fresh bread. Pair with a vibrant white such as Avinyo Vi d’Agullo ($14.99) or a Verdejo.

1 comment:

iberico ham said...

It is at this time that iberian ham, snuffling on the sandy ground for charming acorns (bellota) fallen from the trees. Across in Portugal they are known as "porco de raça Alentejana", but to everyone in Spain, these fat pigs with slender legs are known simply as "pata negra" because of their trademark black hooves.