What is it that makes a great piece of meat? Is it the delicious taste? The criteria of production? Or the centuries old traditions still practiced today? It's all of the above, and more! Find out what sets these extraordinary gourmet meats apart:
Prosciutto di San Daniele
Prosciutto di San Daniele is an air dried cured ham named after the northern Italian town of San Daniele where it originates. It is made from a specific type of pigs that are raised and fed according to certain criteria. The production of Procsiutto di San Daniele is controlled by the Italian Consortio del Prosciutto di San Daniele. The authentic product is guaranteed by the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) label, a branding mark with the initials SD, and the production date.
For the production of Prosciutto di San Daniele the hams are repeatedly rubbed with sea salt, washed, and massaged into their characteristic shape. Eventually, the hams are rubbed with a mixture of flour, lard, salt, and pepper and are left to air dry in strictly controlled environments for at least eight months. The entire production and ripening process takes a minimum of twelve months, producing a ham with superb flavour and very little fat.
Prosciutto di San Daniele is traditionally cut paper thin using special slicing devices. Its extraordinary taste is best enjoyed on its own, or with a slice of cantaloupe, or in sandwiches with mozzarella and arugula. In Italy, Prosciutto di San Daniele is also used in a wide range of dishes, from risotti to pasta and pizza toppings.
Wagyu is an umbrella term for a number of Japanese cattle breeds that produce extremely tender, finely marbled, and juicy meat with extraordinary taste, considered by many chefs and gourmets as the best beef. Aside from its culinary properties, Wagyu beef is naturally high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The biggest Wagyu producer outside of Japan is Australia, which also exports to Asian and US markets, followed by New Zealand and the US. However, Wagyu cattle raised outside of Japan is not fed the same diet as authentic Japanese Wagyu, and is often a crossbreed between Wagyu and other cattle such as Angus.
Kobe beef is the meet of a specific breed of Japanese Wagyu cattle that is raised and fed according to specific standards. The meat is prized by gourmets in Japan and increasingly in the US and the UK for its exceptional taste, tenderness and fine marbling. Kobe beef is a registered trademark in Japan and must fulfill certain criteria in order to be labeled as such. For example, the meat must be from animals from the Tajima-ushi breed who were born and farm raised in a specific region of Japan. The marbling ratio of the meet as well as the amount of meet per animal are further characteristics of authentic Kobe beef.
Due to rising demands, farmers in the US have tried to produce meat similar to Kobe beef from American Wagyu and Angus cattle. However, the results are not the same, as the animals are fed a different diet.
Kobe beef is prepared in a variety of ways in Japan and is served as shabu shabu (thin slices of beef and vegetables boiled in dashi broth), teppanyaki (beef, seafood, and vegetables cooked at high temperatures on an iron plate), and steak.
Escargot, the French word for snail, refers to specific types of farm raised snails that are highly valued for their meat and unique taste. The snails are taken out of their shells, cooked and then put back into the shells. The entire snail is typically served with butter, garlic, and herbs, and eaten using a special set of snail tongs and a snail fork. Escargot is considered a special delicacy in France where it is widely popular.