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Posts Tagged ‘serrano ham’

Tool and Gadget Envy

I must admit, I’m a sucker for the latest cooking tool, appliance or gadget. A walk through Williams Sonoma, Sur la Table, or Crate and Barrel is like a walk through wonderland. I just know that shiny, beautiful Cappuccino machine would look so cosmopolitan on my countertop. That set of Global knives would tell everyone who steps into my kitchen that I am a professional. That beautiful new ceramic tart dish would make my blueberry tart taste like something you’d serve to the Queen of England.

Jamonero Love

Recently a whole new item has caught my eye and that is the artisan crafted jamonero, or ham carving stand. The Spanish name is so much more interesting than the English one and jamonero is not hard to pronounce. Say it with me… jamonero. The jamonero is the latest tool I have developed a crush on.  It has the warmth and solidity of natural hard wood, the strength of chromed steel, its hand carved acorns provide a touch of artistry and its shape is solid and curvy. What’s not to like?

Ham it Up Like a Professional

The jamonero is an essential tool for presenting and slicing bone-in Spanish Hams. Simply place a beautiful, meaty Iberico Ham (commonly known as Pata Negra) or Serrano Ham on a jamonero for slicing and you can expect a round of applause. My favorite jamoneros are hand crafted in the Salamanca, Spain workshop of Don Paulino and his family. These works of art are made from African Sapele wood, Beech or Walnut accented by the shiniest chromed steel you’ve ever seen. And Don Paulino’s works of art include everything from his small portable jamonero (just in case you need to take your bone-in Spanish ham on the road) to his gigantic rotating jamonero table from which knife wielding Spaniards can slice 6 hams at once.  My favorite jamonero is called Lisboa.  The African Sapele wood gives it the color of autumn leaves and it uses a special rotating clamp that allows me to turn the ham without taking it out of the holder, an ingenious feature that allows me to carve each and every tasty morsel off the ham with ease.

Once this beautiful ham work of art is ensconced comfortably in my dining room, I will have all the tools I need to put on my ham carving show with an Iberico de Bellota ham from Spain as my guest of honor. This time I am sure that my jamonero love will not be an unrequited one. What’s more, it will be a love that I can share with all of my friends as I carve of long thin strips of Iberico ham for them to enjoy.

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City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia by Santiago Calatrava

City of Arts and Sciences by Santiago Calatrava

Old City by the Sea

Valencia. It’s not the first city we think of when someone mentions Spain. But it is quickly becoming a destination. The third largest city in Spain, Valencia is located in a region called the “Valencian Community” and is scenically located on the Eastern coast of Spain adjacent to the gulf of Valencia and the Balearic Islands. In the past, the Visigoths, Arabs and Romans have all left their mark on the city of Valencia, but today creative geniuses like architect Santiago Calatrava and Chef Raul Aleixandre (a disciple of culinary superstar Ferran Adria) are shaping the city and its culture. Today, Valencia offers more than oranges, paella and the Tomatina. With its innovative restaurants, hip enclaves and unique boutiques it is no longer just an old city by the sea.

Chef Raul Aleixandre of Ca' Sento Restaurant in Valencia

Chef Raul Aleixandre of Ca' Sento Restaurant in Valencia

Taste Valencia!

During the month of November, Solex Partners is celebrating the culinary contributions of Valencia with “Valencia in Chicago“. The region is known primarily for paella and citrus, but it has so much more to offer. The delicious products that have made their way to us for this celebration of Valencia include Bomba rice, a rice that explodes with flavor; cheeses from organic producer Quesos de Cati; the Spanish classic Serrano ham; flavored oils from Oleum Vitae; savory Rosquilletas (bite sized bread sticks) that are the ideal cheese accessory ; rich chocolate from Valor and Piquillo pepper jam from Jalancina.

 If you are lucky enough to live in Chicago, you can visit the many innovative restaurants that will feature foods from Valencia on their menus for “Valencia in Chicago”. Or you can visit the many gourmet food stores that offer artisanal Valencian foods.  But even if you are miles away from both Chicago and Valencia, you can experience Valencia for yourself. During the month of November, this blog will feature stories about the foods of Valencia along with ideas for how to share a little of Valencia with your friends and loved ones.

Paella Valenciana

Yum! Paella Valenciana

Rice Transformed

Stay tuned for the next blog which will be on Paella, one of the most significant culinary gifts Valencia brings to Spain and the world. And be sure to register to receive or newsletter. The November issue will feature a Paella recipe that you will want to try for yourself.

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