The former home of Reis 100 is made over into a small-plates restaurant with dishes like duck hash, a pork tonnato sandwich, and air-cured Mangalitsa ham.In the few months, I expect people will be hearing a lot about hams made from our pork, made by Johnston County Hams.
You can see photos from my visit to Johnston County Hams here. You can see Christoph Wiesner (world-renowned Mangalitsa expert) showing Rufus Brown (Johnston County Hams curemaster) how to eviscerate a Mangalitsa hog here.
I suspect the ham served at Reis 100 is coming from Spain. It will be interesting, in the next few months, to see how Johnston County Hams's hams compare to the imported stuff. There's a lot of variables that impact how a ham tastes. A bit like cheese, you can age the hams a long time or a short time. From what I've read, the Spanish hams age a lot longer than the ones Johnston County Hams will start marketing.
As with cheese, how long to age the ham is partly a function of taste.
One thing that surprised me in the last year was that I found out that the Wiesners were making city hams and selling them. City hams are quickly produced hams - brine injected and cooked. In the ham world, they are low on the totem pole - which is why I was surprised Christoph was making them. Nevertheless, if you can sell them and get a good return, that's what you do; you can't ignore what your customers want.
The fact that even Mangalitsa city hams can taste excellent enough to be fancy food reminds me that the number one thing that goes into making a good food is excellent raw material.
For instance, I'm thinking now of making a few bacon covered donuts, to sell at the farmers market. It all sounds silly, except when you make it with really great bacon.