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Uncommon Flavors of Europe

The Uncommon Flavors of Europe


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Asiago PDO, Pecorino Romano PDO, and Speck Alto Adige PGI—two indispensable cheeses and a unique, lightly smoked, air-cured ham—represent all the quality that Europe offers. Behind the production of these uncommon foods are core values supporting environmental protection, sustainable agriculture, local farmers and producers, and safe, traceable food production. 

Speck Alto Adige PGI

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This smokey Speck is slow-cured in the South Tyrol region of the Italian Alps. Speck is the one of the most treasured foods to come out of Alto Adige - a distinctly flavored, smoked, cured ham that represents well the character of Alto Adige’s cuisine, which merges Northern European and Mediterranean traditions. All natural ham is dried with real European sea salt and seasoned with local herbs before being smoked with local beechwood. Imagine Prosciutto, but delicately smokey. Speck could be classified as uncommon for several reasons.  The region of Alto Adige borders Austria, and most of its inhabitants speak both Italian and German.  Speck is a nod to this blended culture, as it represents both Mediterranean (cured) and northern European (smoked) methods of curing meat.  

ASIAGO PDO

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Asiago Stagionato contains some really freaky tropical fruit notes (primarily pineapple with hints of guava) and a savoriness reminiscent of Vietnamese grilled pork. What you end up with is a cheese that eats like a meal. Rich and satisfying as it hits on all of the scientific labels for taste. Spicy and intense, it pairs with more robust honeys, like the chestnut variety, as well as fruit pastes like membrillo.  Grate it over pasta or risotto, or melt into crisps for cheesy alternatives to croutons.  If serving on a cheese board, pair it with wines from the region: Valpolicella for reds, or Moscato for white.   

PECORINO ROMANO PDO

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Pecorino Romano is a savory warrior delivering sharp thrusts of sea salt, umami, and seasoned meat to the palate with a lingering zest at the finish. Its firm, granular paste maintains a glossy mouthfeel as a result of the incredible richness and abundance of butterfat content in the sheep’s milk it is produced from. This cheese transcends the ages—it is as relevant to the contemporary dinner table as it was to ancient Roman banquets. 

Pecorino Romano has been produced in Lazio for over 2,000 years, and was one of the primary sources of nutrition and sustenance for the Roman army.  The dominant flavor is sea salt, but well-made Pecorino Romano DOP balances that we flavors of fresh milk and grass.  (Fun fact: the Italian word for salt, sale, is the basis for the word salary, a result of Roman soldiers being paid in salt).

Pecorino Romano DOP is aged for a minimum of five months, and serves as a more formidable grating alternative to Asiago or Parmigiano Reggiano.  Pair with dry reds or Trappist beers and dry salami.  (Fun fact #2: while most aged cheeses very low in lactose, Pecorino Romano DOP is actually 100% lactose-free.)

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