March 2010 Tasting: Procuitto, Serrano, Iberico with the addition of the three year aged, 5 Star Iberico
I do almost all of my shopping at Farmer’s Markets and the Italian Centre Shop, South. When I did the January Tasting, is was inspired by seeing the Iberico procuitto there for $150/kilo. What could be that good? I had to buy the others to compare it to what I knew. That’s how I taste and learn about everything. My taste memory is about as long as that of a gnat. I remember good and bad; yummy and yucky, but not the subtle nuances of flavour and texture that are so important to me when experiencing new food in comparison to what I know.
It was the January tasting that I learned from Fiona, one of my readers, there was actually a 5 Star Iberico that is acorn fed and that the fat on that procuitto is apparently worth the $300/kilo it costs. In her words: ” “¦. expensive stuff but ethereal in taste and texture.”
When I called Adamo at the Italian Centre, he explained the one they had was a 2 year aged Iberico, and the 3 year aged one he had not ordered yet. I asked him if he could order just one, but it didn’t sound hopeful. Yet, here it is! There must have been a lot of interest in getting this into the store after the aged 2 year Iberico titillated.
So, by looking, can you tell which one it is?
This time, I will tell you: the top is the Serrano; in the middle is the acorn fed Iberico; the bottom is the two year Iberico and that leaves the Prosciutto di Parma on the right. The orange hue of the Jamon Serrano and the waxy firmness of its texture definitely set it apart on any plate. I would now know the 5 Star Iberico. It is very moist and fatty and lush. The 2 year aged Iberico is very similar to the flavour notes in theÂ di Parma, but darker in colour and more toothsome in texture. The di Parma is delicate pink, tender, buttery and the perfect compliment to almost anything!
Now, guess which is which. Answers are at the bottom.
The acorn fed Iberico smelled nutty. Truly. It was scented with the floor of the forest after the rain and the fat melted almost immediately upon entering my mouth. The flesh stood on its own and was wildly familiar, in a good way. Yet, there was a strength to the flavour that begged a pairing. I wasn’t eager to have another piece on its own. There was nothing “prociutto-ey” about it. Nothing. Except that is was dried cured pork. I love it. I wished I had the famous Njeguski Prsut to place beside these four stellar beasts. Honest to goodness, there would be no comparison whatsoever.Â You may have to climb to the top of Mount Lovcen in the depths of the Mountains off of the coast of the Adriatic Sea in Montenegro to get to it…but, it is worth it. I will never forget the power of the flavour of that ancient meat.
However, in our fine city, we have the Italian Centre Shop, South. Go and buy a little of each. Have your own tasting. You will enjoy it. There is not a possibility I would waver in that belief.
A Procuitto di Parma
B 3 year aged acorn fed Jamon Iberico
C Jamon Serrano
D 2 year aged Spanish Jamon Iberico
How good were you?