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.
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.
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.
Julie makes a variety of fresh, cured and cooked charcuterie for our shop. We sell them throughout the year, but her recipes vary as the seasons change. We sell her bacon, pancetta, fresh sausages, rillettes and pates along with a number of other specialty items.
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. Alas… no.
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.