Ihsan and Valerie own and run the Formaggio Kitchen family of stores. As is true of any folks passionate about their jobs, work intertwines throughout all aspects of their lives. Their travels – frequent and far-flung – are largely dictated by the food producers they want to meet or to revisit, by rumors of new and exciting foodstuffs and/or food conferences such as “Cheese,” the biennial Slow Food festival held in Bra, Italy. Their larder and wine cellar are stocked with favorite items they have imported or new items they are testing out. Even when on holiday, they are in direct communication with all three stores, coordinating deliveries from Europe and generally checking to make sure everything is on track. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Meats & Charcuterie’ Category
Posted in About Us, Cheese, Christmas, Gift Giving, Gifts & Wares, Grains, Rice, Flours & Beans, Hanukkah, Herbs, Spices, Salts & Peppers, Holiday, Jams & Preserves, Meats & Charcuterie, Olive Oil & Specialty Oils, Pasta, Staff Profiles, Wine, tagged Arraya, Bleu des Basques, Comté, food, food gifts, gift ideas, Ihsan Gurdal, rillettes, robiola, Sainte-Maure Belgique, Saveur du Maquis, Vacherin Mont d'Or, Valerie Gurdal on December 12, 2012 | 4 Comments »
Posted in Cheese, Chocolate, Christmas, Coffee, Gift Giving, Gifts & Wares, Grains, Rice, Flours & Beans, Hanukkah, Meats & Charcuterie, tagged charcuterie, Cheese of the Month, cheese of the month club, Chocolate, coffee, fondue, food, gift guide, gift ideas, grilled cheese, presents, truffles on November 14, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
We know that shopping for friends and family isn’t always easy. So, we put our thinking caps on, brainstormed, debated and created some exciting new bundles of goodies! We think there’s something for most every kind of foodie on your list:
Truffle Kerfuffle – Many customers come to us for all manner of truffle products, so this bundle was a no-brainer. While we don’t include an actual fresh truffle, this selection of products delivers the gorgeous, earthy truffle flavor in a variety of ways. (more…)
I first joined Formaggio Kitchen as an assistant to Julie, our charcutière. As she taught me to make the shop’s range of sausages, pâté, and other cured meats, she talked a lot about sourcing—what she buys from farms in Connecticut, the turnaround time needed for an order of rabbit from Vermont, the best uses for bellies from Massachusetts-raised Berkshire hogs, and the like. For Julie, small, local farms are a natural and non-negotiable part of her work. (more…)
Posted in Education, Meats & Charcuterie, Producer Profile, United States, tagged bacon, curing, Edwards of Virginia, food, ham, Magalitsa bacon, Mangalitsa, Red Wattle on March 8, 2012 | 3 Comments »
We keep an impressive pile of cured pork legs in the shop. The Italian prosciutto and Spanish jamón are justifiably well-known. Also nestled in there, however, are two domestic treats that I advise you not to miss: Mangalitsa and Red Wattle hams. The latter is particularly American, hailing from a centuries-old tradition of pork curing in Surry County, Virginia.
We source our Mangalitsa and Red Wattle ham from Edwards of Virginia who, in turn, sources pastured, humanely-raised Mangalitsa and Red Wattle pigs from small farms in North Carolina and Iowa, respectively. These heritage breeds are prized for their well-marbled, toothsome, flavorful meat, not to mention a wickedly decadent abundance of fat. Mangalitsas resemble a cross between a sheep and a pig – they’re sometimes called “wooly pigs,” for good reason – and they’re related to the wild boar. Like their boar brethren, Mangalitsa meat is lightly gamey, with a sweet, nutty, intense flavor. (more…)
Posted in About Us, Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge, Meats & Charcuterie, United States, tagged Bon Appétit, food, Good Food Awards, Meats & Charcuterie, pâté, rabbit, Rabbit Pâté on January 18, 2012 | 2 Comments »
We are excited to announce that Julie’s Rabbit Pâté was a winner in the ‘Charcuterie’ category at the 2012 Good Food Awards and was recently featured in a Bon Appétit magazine article entitled, “America’s Best Charcuterie.”
Choosing a favorite pâté is a little like selecting a favorite child. Each has its own attributes and unique characteristics that differentiate it from its siblings. That said, our house-made Rabbit Pâté would be a strong contender for the top of my “favorites” list. Wrapped in rose-hued Prosciutto di Parma and encased in amber-colored Madeira aspic, this pâté is our most intricate and, in my opinion, visually appealing.
One of my favorite things about cooking at Formaggio Kitchen is the wealth of wonderful ingredients at our fingertips. Working here as a chef is like being a kid in a lollipop factory. It is as much a treat to cook as it is to eat here, and often the ingredients that we get to use in our recipes add up to more than the sum of their parts. Such is the case of the Rabbit Pâté. (more…)
When I first signed on as the charcutière at Formaggio Kitchen, I was excited to work with meat. “What does the position entail?” I asked Ihsan, the shop’s owner. “You’ll be making sausages, curing meat, breaking down whole pigs and rabbits. Stuff like that,” he said. “And pâtés. Lots of pâtés.” That stopped me in my tracks. Sausages, great. Butchery, no problem. How hard can meat curing be? But pâtés? This was another story.
Pâté was mysterious, classic and tricky-sounding. I accepted the position with a bit of apprehension. Now, entering my third holiday season at the shop, pâtés have become one of the items I particularly look forward to making. And we make a lot of them! (more…)
Some months ago, Giovanni Bianchi of the prosciutto curing house, Pio Tosini, visited our shop in Cambridge for a staff tasting. Giovanni’s family has been curing prosciutto in the Parma region of Italy since 1905 and today, Giovanni, along with one of his cousins and an uncle, continue the family business.
The tasting had one of the strongest turnouts ever from among staff members – it was the first time we had had someone from one of our prosciutto curing houses visit the shop and everyone was curious and excited. The evening was fascinating and involved some delicious prosciutto tasting, a good amount of talking and lots of questions! At the end of the evening, Giovanni was kind enough to encourage staff members who might be visiting Italy to get in touch and he would be happy to show us around the Pio Tosini facility. Recently, I was fortunate enough to be traveling in the area and took him up on his generous offer. (more…)
Our kitchen takes great pride in the quality of their ingredients. Whether it is grass-fed hanger steaks, locally-grown heirloom tomatoes for a late summer chilled soup or organic Baldo rice from Lombardy in a rich risotto, we strive to let the beauty of each ingredient shine through. This pride is especially evident in our housemade pâtés, rillettes, bacon, pancetta and other cured and prepared meats. Our charcutière, Julie starts with whole cuts of pork, chicken, duck and rabbit and transforms them into small works of art displayed in our meat case.
Julie sources local, humanely-raised and in some cases, grass-fed meat for each of her creations. Pâtés are seasoned with a variety of ingredients including mushrooms, orange zest, pistachios, and golden raisins while cured meats such as bacon, guanciale and pancetta have simple herb and salt rubs that keep the meat’s flavor in the forefront. Julie also makes a variety of fresh sausages with ingredients that vary throughout the year. (more…)
I wish I could say that my first introduction to guanciale was in Rome, perhaps at one of those little family restaurants in a tiny alley just off the Campo dei Fiori…
The Pasta alla Carbonara was so amazing I just had to ask what
was in it. They explained to me that the secret ingredient
that makes carbonara better in Italy was guanciale.
Alas… no. (more…)
Posted in Classes, Meats & Charcuterie, tagged bacon, BBQ, Beer, butchering, butchery, chicharrones, demo, food, ham, hominy, pig, pork, posole, rillettes, sausages on March 28, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
On Wednesday evening, I had the good fortune to be able to sit in on a pig butchering demo here at the shop. The demo was conducted by Julie, our in-house charcutière, and Jason, the chef at our South End location. What a pair they made! Jason did the butchering and Julie spoke about how she uses different parts of the pig to create her delicious porky products.
This demo (and the one happening this coming Wednesday) were a first for Formaggio Kitchen, inspired by Cochon 555 a pig-themed event that is happening in Boston today. It turns out that there are a lot of fellow pork lovers out there and we were overwhelmed by the response to the first demo we scheduled – so much so that we scheduled a second and still had a lengthy waiting list! Hopefully we will get to do this again soon! I even hear some buzz that we may do a similar type of demo with spring lamb… Stay tuned!
A lot of careful preparation went into the class. I happened to be working on the Sunday three weeks ago when Julie and Jason broke down a small pig from Falter Farm, MA in order to figure out how they wanted to organize their presentation. (more…)