Notable Nosh: Gio Brand™ Spanish Deli Sampler
Just the other day, out local Co-op started stocking a whole range of deli meats and cheeses all packaged under the Gio trademark, which, I discovered is associated with Daniele Foods of Pascoag, Rhode Island. As you can see, the Spanish Deli sampler package I ended up buying contains Salchichon, which I have never heard of, Serrano Ham, which I have heard of but never tried, and Chorizo, of which I have eaten many varieties. To be honest, I really wasn’t expecting too much from a vacuum-sealed deli product but, aside from the fact that the purportedly self-seal package ripped badly on opening (thus rendering it un-sealable), I was very impressed and pleasantly surprised indeed…
This is my first experience with this particular sausage (and I’m not entirely sure how to pronounce the name). As I suspected, and confirmed after a little research, Salchichon belongs to that broad class of cured and fermented, dried sausages generally known as Salami. This type is traditionally made from a particular breed of Spanish white pig and, while I can’t verify that with respect to this product, the package does list pork, as well as white wine and unspecified ‘spices’.
As a salami, this was very mild and didn’t have that rather sharp quality that many people like, and expect, in a fermented sausage. It was, however very tasty, with a nice soft texture in comparison to the tougher, sometimes waxy quality one finds in other varieties. I would definitely buy this as a sandwich meat.
Serrano Ham is essentially one of Spain’s two answers to the more well-known Prosciutto, the other being Jamon Iberico, which is generally more expensive and, supposedly, better quality. In both taste, and (especially) texture, this was the equal to any supermarket, pre-packaged Prosciutto I have ever had, but it definitely does not have the sweet, almost apple-like notes and depth of flavor that a good Prosciutto di Parma can deliver when served directly after slicing from the leg. I can only guess that, as with Prosciutto, the best quality Serrano Ham never makes it to the vacuum-packed deli market. Still, that being said, I thought this was pretty decent and I was impressed by the fact that the ingredients consist only of pork and salt.
My wife and I both voted this the star of the trio. Chorizo seems to have been getting more well-known and popular in recent years and there are many varieties available with a wide range of quality. This is one of the nicest I have had from the supermarket. Many chorizos can be quite fiery, which is alright too, but this had a lovely delicate sweetness with just a hint of paprika but towards the end. It also had a faint, rather curious taste that I can only describe as ‘woody’ and, while that may sound odd, or even unappealing, I like it very much.
Well, I suppose the best endorsement for this sampler that I can make is in the words of my wife who said ‘We have to buy these meats again’. I served us each a little sampler plate along with some sliced tomato and Provolone, all drizzled with olive oil infused with garlic and basil. It was an excellent lunch…