web analytics
≡ Menu

Off the Deep End – chocolatesuze’s Cheese & Prosciutto Party

Cheese Platter

Aren’t parties such a great excuse to get together and enjoy the pleasure of each others company over food & beverages?

One such party organised by chocolatesuze started off as a simple gathering over cheeses she’d obtained from a prior trip to the Hunter Valley. By the end, the guests of the party had sampled what I would regard to be some of the best prosciutto, jamon & other equivalent products available in Sydney, with one unanimously clear favourite.

The evening began at Sahara, as previously posted. This was to ensure that we had something substantial to eat, so that we wouldn’t gorge on cheese and prosciutto in a fit of hunger-fueled frenzy. That we would take our time to savour the nuances of aromas, flavours and textures.

Well, at least have the option to do so at any rate.

A generous platter of cheeses was laid out before us by our vivacious host. Unfortunately, no notes were taken as to the types of cheeses on offer. If you know your Hunter Valley cheeses, feel free to leave a comment as to what’s what.

Edit: Looks like I have the names now, thanks to chocolatesuze. They are (from top left to bottom right) Southern Blue, Harrigan’s Irish cheddar, Ash Brie, Windsor Red, Mersey Valley cheddar & Smoked Applebox.

By request of the host, each of us were asked to bring along some prosciutto to be shared amongst the dinner guests.

Well, there was a little more prosciutto than that…

If food bloggers are known for one thing, it’s that when it comes to food, we don’t do things by halves. Not by a long shot, if previous experience is anything to go by (this is just the stuff that I’ve blogged). However, even by the standards of my esteemed colleagues, I think I’d gone somewhat off the deep end.

It started off innocently enough. I went to my usual go-to vendor for prosciutto, AC Butchery in Leichhardt. Having sampled a number of prosciutto products there and realising how much of a difference in taste and price there was, before I’d realised what I’d done, I’d travelled around Sydney to places such as Hudson Meats in Surry Hills, Terry Wright in Randwick, a couple of Portuguese butcheries in Petersham, as well as Pino’s Dolce Vita in Kogarah. Though the trek around Sydney to find “the best” was ultimately a self-serving one, I don’t believe the host or the party guests were complaining.

In total we ended up with something along the lines of eleven cured pork products, including the aforementioned Italian prosciutto, Portuguese presunto, Spanish jamon & even a prosciutto salami. Though I can’t speak for the other contributions, of the ones that I’d purchased, the prices spanned a broad range, from as low as $2.60 for six slices of presunto all the way up to around $26 for an equivalent six slices of jamon Iberico which is priced at a whopping $395/Kg.

By far and away, the one most highly regarded was also the most expensive, namely the $395/Kg  jamon Iberico sourced from Terry Wright. None of the other products, including a jamon Iberico purchased from another vendor, even came close to being this good. The heavenly sweet and nutty flavour of the meat, likely due to the acorns that the jamon Iberico pigs are fed on. The depth of flavour was phenomenal! The texture of meat and richness of the fat that melts away almost in an instant, made for a very luxurious mouth feel. Sexy has never tasted so good!

For reasons that elude me now, we decided to fry the presunto that was sourced from Talho Portuguese butchery (the one priced at $2.60). Prior to the fry treatment, it was somewhat dry, a little chewy like beef jerky, and quite salty. After the judicious application of heat, this turned into an uber bacon – ultra crispy and insanely salty. More so than in its uncooked state.

I’d love to see how well this would work in a club sandwich.

Some ciabatta from Haberfield Bakery was also brought along. It served more as a symbolic gesture of balance and moderance than a practical one. A visual reminder that we should buffer our over-indulgence in copious amounts of rich, creamy cheeses and salty prosciutto with something neutral.

Not that it did any good.

What started off as a simple gathering over a sample of cheeses ended up becoming a study of some the best prosciutto, jamon and other similar products that Sydney has to offer. It was something that none of the dining guests would have anticipated beforehand, myself included.

I’d felt for the longest time that prosciutto was the king of cured meats, at least of this nature. Now, it’s dead to me. Every single jamon product, whether it was Serrano or Iberico, regardless of how much it cost or where it was purchased, was categorically better than any of the prosciutto that was purchased, which including Pino’s Bangalow Sweet pork prosciutto from Dolce Vita.

I’ll close this post with some questions that I pose to you.

Would you or would you not agree that jamon is superior than prosciutto on the whole? Can one fairly compare the two? Would it be like comparing apples with oranges? Where do you feel is the best place in Sydney to source prosciutto or jamon?

Please feel free to leave a comment below and let me know what you think. Would love to read your thoughts on the matter.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Simon Food Favourites April 14, 2010, 12:06 am

    looks like a great spread of food. i still have samples of pork products from the best bacon launch week to get through and i have one of the suppliers wanting to provide me some more samples so i might end up having a similar event where i’ll need to share everything with some pork lovers. the pink cheese looks interesting. what was it? i’ve never seen something like that before. perhaps beetroot infused?

  • chocolatesuze April 14, 2010, 12:20 am

    oh man i was in porky heaven! so much tastyness! thanks again for travelling everywhere to get us such an awesome spread!

  • Helen (Grab Your Fork) April 14, 2010, 12:34 am

    oh this was an indeed a magical evening. i wish we could do it all over again… should we? lol

  • Ellie (Almost Bourdain) April 14, 2010, 12:09 pm

    Wow! so much lovely cheese and ham. Any wine to go with them?

  • Y April 14, 2010, 5:03 pm

    Mmmm what a delicious way to spend an evening!

    Dipping the fried presunto in chocolate might be a good way to temper the salt levels.. (just sayin’..)

  • Mark @ Cafe Campana April 14, 2010, 6:48 pm

    I love the colour of the Windsor red. I still haven’t had Jamon. I really should give it a go.

  • Fouad @ The Food Blog April 14, 2010, 8:26 pm

    Sounds like such a great night! Man, I love cheese and ham.

    Simon, I would have to agree that jamon is in general better than prosciutto, and yes, you can compare the two, without any doubt. The fact is, jamon is aged for much longer and the acorn diet gives unparalleled depth of flavour. Eventhough pigs that make Parma ham are given the whey left over from making parmesan, the flavour will just not be as good. And I don’t think we are the only ones to realise that. The Italians are emulating the Spanish techniques to better flavour their hams. Yay!

  • Trissa April 15, 2010, 2:22 am

    Talk about cheese and prosciutto overload! I’d say, I prefer Jamon (but not by much) but at the end of the day, regardless of jamon or prosciutto, you have to buy the best quality you can afford. For instance, if you buy poor quality jamon and good quality prosciutto, you’d much prefer to eat the prosciutto. My favourite? San Daniele for Prosciutto and Jamon Iberico/Pata Negra for the Jamon!

  • Simon April 16, 2010, 8:21 pm

    Hi Simon FF! I’ve since updated the blog with the name of the cheese. The colouring is due to the infusion of wine into the cheese.

    Hi chocolatesuze! You’re welcome. Glad you enjoyed it so much :)

    Hi Helen! Perhaps we should. Who knows what new products or vendors are out there in the marketplace since that time :)

    Hi Ellie! You know what, I can’t recally. The pink cheese has wine infused into it. Does that count? :)

    Hi Y! LOL! Are you just sayin’ cause you’ve tried it before? :P

    Hi Mark! Really? Never had jamon? Go to a decent buther or deli and try it out sometime.

    Hi Fouad! Cheese and ham go so well together huh?

    Good to see that I’m not the only one who thought that :)

    Hi Trissa! Quality certainly does matter. However, in the case of the ones I’d purchased, I’d purchased similar priced jamon and proscuitto. The jamon still was a clear favourite.

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge