Sunday, January 25, 2009

Christmas Charcuterie 2008

Upon getting the  Christmas tree up, we planned a nice evening of charcuterie and wine in front of the tree along with a crackling warm fire.  Usually we head to Bristol Farms or Whole Foods for our supplies but there was a new option in town.  Surface Culver City recently opened their new cheese and charcuterie counter and we were dying to check it out.  The staff at the counter were friendly, inviting and experts on their craft.  Customers are encouraged to sample the meats and cheeses and ask many questions.  In our case, a group consisting of us and 3 strangers were treated to a sampling/class on featured cheeses.  Next we sampled and chose some fine meats.  Here's what we came home with:
- Jamon Iberico - Amazing!!!  Carved off a massive leg of pork set on a jamonera.  The pork
 comes from the Black Iberian Pig which feeds on acorns.  Eating this delicacy was almost an out of body experience.  Perfect blend of flavor and fat!  Viva la Pig!!
- Framani Toscano - This salami comes from Armandino Batali, father of Mario.  When Mario was in the process of opening his LA restaurant, Pizzeria Mozza, thieves broke in and seemed to target one item, Salami from Mario's pops.  Though I don't condone, I now see what they were after.  Each bite was an explosion of flavor.  Memorable and fantastic.
- Lomo Empuchado - Called the "prince of dry cured sausages in Spain" by a few reputable websites, it is pork loin seasoned with garlic and paprika and air dried.  We picked it simply because we had never tried it before.  Good call!  It was lean with an intense flavor.
- Epoisse Berthaut - This is one of the "stinky" cheeses - which means its good!  In fact, this cheese is banned from the Paris subway system.  It comes for the Burgundy region of France.  Creamy and flavorful.  The stink only ads to the enjoyment.
- Truffle Tremor - Goat milk cheese infused with truffles.  Creamy and velvety, this is one of my favorites!!  From the Cypress Grove Creamery.
- Gruyere Cave Aged - Not your normal Gruyere.  Hailing from Switzerland and aged in natural caves in the Alps,  this was a must buy as soon as we sampled it.   This will be included next time we make fondue or mac n cheese!

Our feast was paired with some house reds and finished with a scotch taste off!  The holiday songs were rocking and we had a wonderful time.
Dec. 12, 2008 will be remembered for great food, fine wine and loving company!

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