Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sausage Class

(picture via Wiki)

This weekend I participated in a whole hog class offered by Il Mondo Vecchio. Mondo is a new USDA dry cured facility in Denver where some very talented chefs are creating salumi. Now, don’t confuse salumi with salami…that is a no-no… silly American.

Salumi (sing: salume) are Italian cured meat products and predominantly made from pork. The term also encompasses bresaola, which is made from beef, and also cooked products such as mortadella and prosciutto cotto. The word salumi is not a misspelling or variant of salami (sing: salame). Salame is a specific type of salume. Examples of salumi are Prosciutto, conna, bresaola, cotechino, guanciale, lardo, panchetta and soppressata.

I have always been fascinated by dry curing meats and jumped at the chance to participate. These guys are spectacular. We were first shown how to piece out and butcher a small pig and saving each piece for its specific use. We even separated the face from the skull to create Porchetta di Testa, although I am not sure if our Porchetta is traditional or not because we stuffed our pig face with Italian sausage and then rolled up. I think traditionally Porchetta is just stuffed with other parts of the head and then rolled.

(Lardo picture via Boston.com)

Once we completed the butchering seminar we got to sample some of Mondo Vecchio’s products:

Duck Breast Prosciuttinni dell’ Oro – Duck Procuitto
Guancie Baciate – cured pork cheeks
Calabrese Style Vino e Pepe Nero - spiced with, Red Wine, Black Pepper and Spice.
Pepperoni Piccolo - Classic flavors with a touch of heat, anise and spices.
Portuguese Longanzia – spiced with sweet smokey paprika with hints of Sherry wine.
Salsiccia Cinese - Lop Chong Chinese Sausage - one teacher was quoted as saying: "It is a roller coaster of flavors in your mouth".   This sweet and spicy Asian salumi was fantastic from start to finish - from the sweetness of soy and pomegranate, gingery notes with a slow heat finish.
Salsiccia Francese - French Saucisse Sec - Classic Dry Sausage a reflection of tradition from the French Mountains made with Pork, Sea Salt and Spice
Nonno's Italian Sweet Sausage
Spanish Style Chorizo

Once we completed our tasting (my personal favorite was the Pepe Nero and the fresh sweet Italian) we went in to try our hand at making sausages. We made breakfast sausage, chorizo, Italian sausage (for the Porchetta di Testa), pancetta, pepperoni, lardo and procuitto. In the end, we divvied up all of our fresh pig parts and sausages and will return in 2-8 months for all of our dry cured creations.

I had such a fantastic time! Their next class is featuring lamb and it is scheduled for March 20th. Hurry and sign up it is well worth the time and expense. Now I just need to find a charcuterie class!

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