by Mei Leong
Within Xarcuteria’s fridge hangs a great selection of cured meats, from common varieties to the weird and the wonderful. There’s chorizo in its fresh and cured forms, roughly or finely ground salami and fuet, a skinny, white powdered, dried Catalan sausage. I went straight for the morcilla, a blood sausage bulked up with rice and rich in spices. It’s a lot more delicious than it sounds. When fried it softens up so it’s squishy and spreadable and incredibly more-ish with lots of crusty bread and olive oil.
And of course there’s jamon, king of hams. Like with all good things, it comes in different grades. The best jamon is iberico de bellota, made from pigs whose last months before slaughter were spent free ranging in oak forests and eating acorns. The resulting jamon is rich, oily, slightly stiff, earthy and sweet. It’s available here in both shoulder and leg cuts.
The shop staff generously encourage us to taste before buying (which is good idea since it’s $200 plus per kilo). The shoulder has more fat, which tastes incredible, but if you like leaner ham, go for the leg.
On the shelves there’s all sorts of Spanish goodies to get acquainted with, like tins of Ortiz anchovies (I always gasp at the price of these), olive oils, squid ink and bomba rice. Talking about rice, Xarcuteria takes orders for personalised paella pans, which I think would make a wonderful gift. These pans can even be brought in empty and picked up later, complete with paella and ready to eat.
There’s a nice, if slightly scant, cheese selection on offer. With cheeses from Spain as well as from France, I caved and got a block of (the very French) Comte. (It was delicious.) There’s also an excellent selection of house made charcuterie. Somehow, a block of terrine made its way into our basket…
Shop 1, 1 Leura Avenue, Claremont Western Australia 6010
T: (08) 9385 4696
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