Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Maestro of my Maestro

Orlando, the Maestro's Maestro
now mine too!

no man works alone, Dario's team

Since Renaissance times, apprentices have worked with masters to learn.
In many ways, nothing has changed.
Although downtown Florence may look like any other town with 
Footlocker, Disney Store, and McDonalds,
if you look hard enough, 
you will still find artisans producing products as their fathers did 
and their father's fathers did.
I feel honored to be a friend of Dario Cecchini's, my meat master.
His butcher shop is like an artisans workshop.
Faith Willinger called him the " Michelangelo" of butchers.
His shop is the Uffizi of beef!
I went to hang out the other day in the Bottega, which is always the best way to learn.
While he works, he holds court more than just selling meat.
Food and wine are flowing,
 old friends and new friends,
 passer-bys and those that go out of their way to find Dario.
As friend enter, Dario stops work to catch up on news.

This is the Italy I moved here for.

Friend are more important than work to Dario, here with Loys

Dario Cecchini with Vincenzo Chini, artisan butchers.
Vincenzo is in Gaiole and raises Cinta Senese pigs
Their fathers and grandfathers grew up together.

Dante From Udine, closed his restaurant and now teams up with Dario
He is  a Maestro at the art of hand-cutting prosciutto.

Hanging on the wall are Dario's guanciale, cured pig cheeks.
It is mostly used in Rome for making Amatriciana sauce, instead of pancetta.
I had a chance to ask Dario's Maestro, Orlando, who has known Dario since he was child, when Dario's father would go to buy their meats from the company that Orlando worked for.
Passing on tradition and also maestro's!
I took advantage of my luck and got more tips on my Capocolla.

Orlando's advice for final curing.
Wash the salt off the meat and let sit at room temp until dry.
Make a rub with garlic and black pepper.
( no more salt!)
I also added chili, a southern touch.
I then re-wrapped the coppa and have hung it to dry in a cool room.
I was inspired by the Coppa I had in Calabria

from the chili festival in Diamante, Calabria
Love the way they form them with the bamboo sides.
Spicy capocollo.

Here is my version, thanks to Maestro Orlando.

ready to be tied and hung for aging.

Here are Dario's Guanciale, made from the hog jowls, or pig cheeks, aging hanging from the rafters

Now the most  important ingredient:
See you April 21!
it should lose about 50% of it's present weight.
It is important to tie it tightly as it will get smaller as it dries too.


Anonymous Mrs. Jay said...

Can I just say how insanely jealous I am of you! You are so fortunate to be able to hang out with and learn from Dario and his team! I would give ANYTHING to be able to do that! I so wish that I could afford to take a course on preparing salumi and prosciutto, as well as the fine art of butchering meat. I can't wait until April to read how your coppa turns out!

2:56 PM  
Blogger Divina said...

@MrsJay- Thanks for the nice note.
I am going to dry cure some duck breast over on the other blog.
Something anyone can do at home.

3:15 PM  
Blogger James Melendez said...

I could cry seeing those cheeks curing. It's so beautiful!

9:38 AM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

Just stopped by for a visit. I wanted to say Hi and nice Blog!


1:37 PM  

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