Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My new obsession - Lardo

My latest obsession is a bit of a naughty one – lardo. One Saturday morning the husband and I decided to visit an Italian smallgoods deli/café in Kogarah, a southern Sydney suburb. We were both expecting this small deli filled to the brim with Italian delicacies and we were half right – Pino’s Dolce Vita Fine Foods was full of Italian delicacies but not small like we had envisioned. The shop was about triple the size we were expecting and twice as good. Attached to the deli-style shop front is a small café, this leads out to a big dining room (where the owner told us they host dinner parties and live cooking demonstrations). From the moment you enter the shop front you are smacked in the face with the delicious smells of ageing cuts of meat,
Photo courtesy of Pino's Dolce Vita Fine Foods
and homemade sausages,
Photo courtesy of Pino's Dolce Vita Fine Foods
and don’t get me started on the shelves of dried pasta and sauces. 
Photo courtesy of Pino's Dolce Vita Fine Foods
We took a good look at all the products on offer and that’s when the husband pointed it out – the lardo. For those of you who don’t know what lardo is (I certainly didn’t until the husband told me), it’s an Italian charcuterie made up of pure pork fat that has been cured with rosemary and a few other herbs and spices. Most people would balk at the idea of eating pure pork fat, and once upon a time I would have to, but since I’ve been with my husband, I’ve been introduced to a wide range of foods I would never have eaten. Yes, once upon a time I was a fussy eater (I still am with some things, don’t get me wrong). We scooped up the chunk that was on offer and the owner’s son kindly sliced some of it up for us. Next we moved on to the prosciutto, and then the sausages and then the pre-made (but homemade) involtini, and of course the fresh Italian bread. 
But I’ve gotten off track. It’s all about the lardo. I have no photos for what I’m about to tell you but you will have to believe me that it was great. For dinner, we topped the Italian bread with slices of the lardo and proscuitto and indulged completely in the salty flavours and doughy bread. If I had of had a minute between each bite I would have drizzled over the top some good quality extra virgin olive oil (we have a great bottle given to us from the owners of an Italian restaurant in Tuscany). Other things you can do with lardo: melt under the grill onto bruschetta, melt over toast and sea urchin roe, fry potatoes or meat in melted lardo in a saucepan. The list is endless and dependent on your tastes. We will definitely be trying the bruschetta one (I have bruschetta marinating in my fridge as I type ready for tonight).
Everyone must visit this shop, you will never want to leave, and will be planning your next trip back before you’ve even left the building. The owner and his sons are very helpful and polite (they didn’t mind if I asked about touching the hanging sausages – I was told no but he thanked me for asking first).

Do you have a food that you would normally balk at but now love to eat?

Pino's Dolce Vita Fine Foods
Shop 10, 45 President Avenue, Kogarah, NSW, Sydney Australia

(02) 9587 4818

Shop front Photo courtesy of Pino's Dolce Vita Fine Foods

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