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Archive for the ‘Meats & Charcuterie’ Category

Charcutière Julie Grinding Meat

Charcutière Julie

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…)

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Prosciutto Pio TosiniSome 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.

Formaggio Kitchen Staff Pio Tosini Prosciutto Tasting

Giovanni Leads a Pio Tosini Prosciutto Tasting with Staff

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…)

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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.

Formaggio Kitchen Housemade Charcuterie
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…)

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Guanciale = pork jowl

Guanciale done three ways...

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…)

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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.

Getting started!

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!

Setting the stage!

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…)

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The first round!

Just thought I would share a few photos from the staff charcuterie tasting we had at the shop on Tuesday night…

Guanciale lardons

Julie, our brilliant in-house charcutière, took staff members on a tour of some of the different products she makes.  This involved a lot of delicious eating (and drinking!) as well as some serious discussion. We talked about the differences between mousse and pâté (the former does not contain any meat, only liver), about nitrates and nitrites and about the role of salt in curing, to name only a few topics that came under discussion…  (more…)

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