Guys, it’s already March! We’ve dabbled in spring, I pulled out a pair of shorts, and then I had to dig my snow boots out again. It’s been a crazy few weeks for us here at Caputo’s. We’re adding new brands of chocolate and delicious new treats to the cheese and charcuterie cases almost weekly. The influx of exciting new ingredients and the crazy weather have us craving all sorts of things.
Here’s what we can’t keep our hands off of and how we play on consuming them:
CHEESE: Testun al Barolo
Testun al Barolo is a semi-firm mixed milk cheese from the Piedmont region of Italy. The cheese has a beautiful, complex flavor thanks to the sweet and grassy milk from alpine pastures and its aging process. It ages for a minimum of four months in small oak barrel under the residues of the Nebbiolo grapes, the grapes for making Barolo wine. The fruity wine flavors seep into the crumbly paste, adding sweetness and complexity to the paste. There’s no better presentation, in my opinion, than our testun cheeses. The packed Nebbiolo on the rind of this cheese is intriguing, lovely, and a fun center piece for a cheese plate.
CHOCOLATE: Rozsavolgyi Csokolade Trincheras
Don’t let the name scare you. I know, it’s a mouthful of letters in an intimidating order, but this bar is so worth fumbling through the pronunciation. Our friends at Roszavolgyi in Hungary are making beautiful, award-winning bars we can’t help but devour. Awarded a Silver Medal by the Academy of Chocolate in the “Bean-to-Bar Best Dark Bar” main category, these cocoa beans from Trincheras, Venezuela are roasted at very low temperatures to preserve every little bit of their natural taste. Guys, this is the stuff dreams are made of. Just wait until you hear what Matt has to say about this one.
SAVORY: Salumeria Biellese Culatello
Prosciutto is often considered the king of Italian salumi. This is the one cured meat that will forever reign in our hearts. Salumeria Biellese makes their culatello in the most traditional and delicious way. Only the largest muscle mass from the hind leg of heirloom breed pork is used. Simple seasoning and over a year’s worth of curing results in a supple, delicious cured pork that is second to none. Slightly drier than traditional prosciutto and more robust in flavor, culatello is a remarkable item perfect for serving alongside other fine charcuterie. Wrap spears of asparagus, layer on flatbreads and pizza, or add to your favorite pasta and vegetable dishes.
SWEET (But also savory): Fennel Pollen
This is the main event, the creme de la creme, the Justin Timberlake of the NSYNC lineup for March. Blame Matt. I got so excited about this that we’re dedicating an entire week of March to this one ingredient. If you are familiar with the flavor of fennel, this is the more heavenly, aromatic, fantastic version of ground fennel seeds. I really can’t say enough about how much I love this. It belongs in cakes, on top of roasted chickens, as part of a crust for roasted red meats, even in semifreddo. Intrigued? Fennel pollen week will convince how versatile this is, and how desperately you’ll need a jar of your own.
I can’t wait to share our recipes this month. As always, eat deliciously, and feed those cravings.