Staff Charcuterie Tasting: YUM! - Formaggio Kitchen

Staff Charcuterie Tasting: YUM!

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… 

Ardèche jams & cornichons

The first round of tasting included Julie’s housemade bacon, pancetta, guanciale and lardons (made from the guanciale).  This was followed by some crunchy baguette, slathered with chicken liver mousse and duck pâtéArdèche jams were paired with both – red currant with the duck pâté and rhubarb with the chicken liver mousse.

Hot dogs - just out of the oven!

The third round of tasting included pork rillettes (again, slathered on baguette) and a delicious salad topped with duck confit that had been crisped up with a stint on the stove and then in the oven. The final round of tasting was a line-up of hot dogs, all of which are available at the Super Bowl BBQ this weekend!

The bacon, pancetta, guanciale and lardons were a great place to start and it was interesting to have them clustered together.  All quite commonly used for cooking, I found myself thinking about what I might use each item for as I tasted it.

Pork rillettes

Hot dogs - ready for eating!

The guanciale was the most porky to me and it yielded delicious lardons that were nice and crispy.  The pancetta reminded me a bit more of salami in terms of flavor profile – perhaps it was because it had been rubbed with nutmeg, peppercorns, thyme and garlic?  The bacon, with its maple syrup rub, not unsurprisingly made me think of a big breakfast with eggs and sausage…

Everything we tasted was quite scrumptious but I have to say that the chicken liver mousse was a revelation to me!  Spreadable and tasty, it was fantastic with the rhubarb jam and also with the accompanying Beaujolais…

Chicken liver mousse and duck pâté

Duck confit salad

On the cheese counter, we often get to taste things but not always with a condiment and a glass of wine in hand!  Accompaniments like these can catapult something from the realm of delicious into the realm of the sublime.  For me, this was the case with the chicken liver mousse.  Also transcendent and transformed by its accompaniments was the crisped up duck confit and salad.  The salad (containing apples) neatly balanced the salty, crunchy, flavorful savory-ness of the duck.

It was hard to share.