One day I came across something called “guanciale” in a specialty food store charcuterie (or cured meat) department. It looked familiar in shape, so I started asking some questions. Turns out it’s the Italian version of, you guessed it, a good old fashioned hog jowl. The process was a little different, and I discovered that chefs and foodies around the globe use it like they would pancetta or great quality bacon. At that moment, the challenge was on! How could I take this culinary classic and put my own special Surry County twist on it? The end result is our Surry Farms Jowciale, and yes the pun is intended. Continue reading
As a curemaster, you can bet I’ll be eating an Easter ham for the holiday. In today’s modern world of climate control, we can produce hams year round. But back when my Pop-Pop started the business, the Easter ham was the first ham of the season.
People called it a “Corned Ham”; ham just barely cured with salt or even salt and sugar, because it was still so mild and sweet. Sometimes it hadn’t even been smoked yet. It didn’t have any of those complex flavor notes that make a dry cured ham so special and it didn’t even look like one of our dry cured hams.
According to a recent article from delish.com, Pork is known throughout the world as a symbol of “luck” especially in time for the new year: “Due to pigs’ dining habits, many countries, including Austria, Cuba, and Spain, view pork as a good-luck food. As pigs root for food, they keep their feet planted and push their snouts forward, signifying progress and future properity.” If you’re in need of a little more hog-inspired luck , the Edwards Virginia Ham Shoppe of Surry has what we call a “Good Luck Pig.” Otherwise known as a “Glucksschwen,” the Good Luck Pig gets its lucky fame from German folklore where it is believed that during hard times, “having a pig meant you were very lucky indeed.” We hope you all find a little luck this upcoming year and have a Happy New Year!
Being in the curing business, I have to admit to a special fondness for all things pork during holiday times. When Nana, my Grandmother, was in charge of the festivities, she always served our extra special Wigwam ham hand picked by Pop Pop, my grandfather. This ham has been aged for about a year and has a really intense hammy flavor. We only had it at Christmas time, it was that special. Later on, when my Mom took over the holiday cooking, she would make these fantastic rolls from mashed potatoes. Dad would carve that Wigwam and lay a warm slice in one of those little fluffy rolls, and man, that was heaven. Continue reading
Here’s what specialty food magazine “The Nibble” had to say about some of our hams: “We were a bit taken aback to find that a gourmet ham would come frozen. With all the frozen foods we’ve tried this past year, we’ve come to expect a bland or artificial-tasting product. But Virginia Traditions has challenged our prejudice. Smoked over a hickory fire, this boneless spiral-sliced Virginia ham is lightly coated with a brown-sugar glaze, giving way to a balanced explosion of robust, maple-like flavors, without even a hint of freezer flavor.” Continue reading
As you may remember, the Curemaster had an interview earlier this year with Anthony Dias Blue, host of Blue Lifestyle. If you missed it, listen to it here. Anthony had some kind words for Edwards in October. He began by saying, “There is no substitution for a good ol’ fashioned country … Continue reading