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.