Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ham and Time

I recently wrote about The Herbfarm making a quick ham.

Yesterday, I talked with Shane Petersen* of Suisun Valley Farm just yesterday. He sold the French Laundry a Mangalitsa. He visited, and Devin Knell had him taste some of their Mangalitsa ham.

The French Laundry's hams were made from quite old (approx. 18-month) pigs fattened in California by Red Mountain Farm. I tasted some of the products from those pigs in early 2009. The hams from that batch have dried out and matured about 18 months.

One can make hams quickly or slowly. If you make them the slow way, like the French Laundry and Johnston County Hams, you have to be able to delay gratification a ridiculously long time.

* As it says on their twitter profile, they are also producing Schaerbeek Cherries. Those are the cherries the Belgians use to make Kriek lambic.

Although the Schaerbeek cherry is in the sour cherry family, like the Balatons and Morellos, it takes longer to fruit, has a lower yield - but tastes more complex than the other Morello cherries. In that way, it is like the Mangalitsa pig.

To make the beer Shane wants to make, he's imported the best-tasting cherries in the world, just as Wooly Pigs had to import a herd of special breed pigs to produce the best pork made in the USA.

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