Wednesday, 31 December 2008

New Year Munch.

As you all probably know, I work in what I rate to be one of the best delicatessen counters I have ever seen. Despite the slightly odd characters that frequent it sometimes, it really does offer a massive selection of cheese from all over europe and both air cured and freshly cooked meats.

For New Year's eve I have picked up a few different bit and pieces including some:

Fiocco di Spalla

This is a delicate air cured meat that comes from the front portion of the rear leg of a pig. It is salted then cured for a minimum of 8 months. It has a taste similar to serrano ham but with less of a salty kick and is slightly firmer in texture. It is best served sliced as thin as possible as antipasti.


Another air cured meat, this time from the rump of the cow. Originally from the Lombardy region of Italy it is salted and dried for between 2 and 3 months. It has a beautiful rich taste that is fairly robust and will stand up to being added to other ingredients.

My favorite way of using it (other than as antipasti) is to make a dressing with lemon juice, white wine vinegar and the best quality olive oil you can lay your hands on. Peel and roughly chop some ripe peaches or nectarines. Dress some peppery tasting salad leaves (rocket or watercress are ideal) with the dressing and add the chopped peaches/nectarines. Add a few very thin slices of bresaola and shave some Grana Padano cheese over the top. Ideal for a summer salad to eat on its own!


This is the pig equivalent of Bresaola, made from cured fillet it is very low in fat content and has a beautiful silky texture, a delicate spiced taste with a little salty kick. Again best served wafer thin as part of an antipasti platter, but could be used as a substitute for proscuitto.

As there are some committed vegetableists at the party I also picked up some cheeses


An unpasteurised sheep's milk cheese covered with a bloomy white mould, matured for between four to six weeks. It has a mild, creamy taste with a hint of hazlenutty earthyness. Perfect with oatcakes which, with their own nutty, baked flavour perfectly enhance the taste of the cheese.


An organic cheddar covered in maroon wax has a fine grained, salt-sweet taste with a slight hint of apples. It is best served either with bread as the strength of the cheese will overpower most crackers or, serve with a crisp fragrant apple such as a Braeburn or Cox. A bold red wine such as a good Zinfandel or Barolo is a good choice here as the general theory of ' the harder the cheese the more tannin needed' applies. Kendal Jackson's Zinfandel 2005 reserve and Tesco's Finest Barolo 2004 are both excellent choices and are both priced at £12.99.

Anyhow, I shall update you as to how the selection went down at the party and i'll update you soon on some new foodie stuff!