Specialty Food Magazine

MAY-JUN 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 65 of 103

Bringing Fat Back Many nutrition-savvy Americans seem to have lost their fear of fat, Biggs says, a trend that makes her exceedingly happy. She makes pancetta with a particularly fatty Vermont pork belly; while custom- ers used to prefer more meat in their pancetta, they now reach for her fattier version. "People understand the value of fat in quality meat. They realize the flavor can be superior and that they just need to use a little less," Biggs explains. Though it isn't best for the bottom line, Cauthen often encourages her customers to buy smaller amounts of her fatty meats than they intended: "The fattier the meat, the less you need of it. Our pancetta is at least 50 percent fat, but it's meant to be a punc- tuation mark, a flavor enhancer, not the main meat. Nobody needs to eat a half-pound of pork belly—they need 2 ounces." Bailie, too, has seen consumers' attitude about animal fat evolve. "People are less afraid of fat. They understand that duck confit is very healthy fat, for example; my customers are raising their kids on it," she notes. "Fat carries flavor so well. Whatever you are curing or brining with it, the flavor will shine through. Our bacon is super fatty and we sell tons every week." Exotic Meats in the Spotlight Similar to a changed attitude about fat, Americans have become less squeamish about other meats. Cauthen's sales of offal, scrapple, head cheese and esoteric terrines are up as "people venture out of their comfort zone a little more confidently," she says. Rillettes, which used to be off-putting to some, need only the slightest hand-sell today. "I tell people it's simply a meat—let it come to room tempera- ture and mash the fat on top into the meat. Then they are hooked." Like many up-and-coming domestic charcutiers, Belmont Butchery produces guanciale, an uncured Italian-style bacon made with pig jowls. Cauthen describes it as "piggy gummy bears." It can be sliced thin and served on a charcuterie platter, but it's more traditionally served as lardoons in pasta carbonara, for example. "So many recipes call for guanciale, and chefs were forced to substitute pancetta because it wasn't previously available," Cauthen notes. Non-pork charcuterie sales have seen a boom, D' Artagnan's Daguin reports. "Smoked duck breast and duck prosciutto are really growing," she notes. "And merguez—spicy lamb sausage—has emerged as a best seller, particularly for the growing market that doesn't eat pork." Les Trois Petits Cochons' sales reveal shoppers branching out into less-familiar meats, says marketing director Camille Collins. Sales of rillettes de canard, smoked duck breast and duck leg confit are booming, and to provide more pork-free options, the company recently introduced three new preservative- free, pork-free sausages at San Francisco's Winter Fancy Food Show: Merguez, Chicken Andouille and Chicken with Spinach & Gruyere Cheese. At Alexian, Cummins points out, "One or two of From left: SchoolHouse Kitchen Sweet Smooth Hot Mustard, Formaggio Kitchen Rabbit Pâté, Quince & Apple Shallot Confit with Red Wine, Alexian Pâté Pheasant Rosemary Pâté MAY/JUNE 2012 59

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