The Cured and Crafted event came to Philly on February 20th. It’s an opportunity to go hog wild by eating as much prosciutto and drinking as much craft beer as possible, while celebrating the 50 year anniversary of the Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma. (Have I told you lately, that I love beer?)
I was hooked and purchased two VIPP (Very Important Prosciutto Person) tickets and, along with my lovely assistant, Elaine, we went to this event teamed up with DiBruno Bros. and Big Bite Philly, too!
We walked right in and were greeted by Joe of DiBruno’s, who stood there all night carving prosciutto. His arms are now officially called “guns!” Then off to the second floor landing where the VIPP Lounge was located – a comfy area with cocktail tables, chairs and a great big, red velvet sofa. But, the main attraction, of course, was Scott, the culinary lounge lizard a/k/a cheese monger from DiBruno Bros. with his awesome display of prosciutto hand-twisted into roses, a huge wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano, a smelly, soft cheese with truffles running through it that he dredged half of a dried fig on – WOW!
Elaine and I ate two whole plates; unfortunately, by the time we realized we should have taken pictures, we ate all the cheese…twice! We wanted to start the evening off slow, so we started with a light beer – after about 20 minutes, when we were nice and relaxed, we walked downstairs to start our prosciutto and beer pairing tasting, by eight of the City’s greatest Chefs.
It’s always fun running into our culinary tour partners at these events; we were lucky enough to hang out with Cathy Lee, Chef Joe Cicala, and Chef Angela Ranalli of Le Virtu. The chefs paid homage to the region of Parma with homemade Prosciutto di Parma Agnolotti en Brodo with Black Pepper and Stracciatella, which tasted just like Nonna’s, and it was paired with Peroni beer…Salute!
Our favorite pairing of the evening was Chef Jeremy Nolen of Brauhaus Schmitz, who paired Ommegang Brewery’s Rare VOS beer with Prosciutto di Parma, sautéed potato dumplings, tomato marmalade, and grated aged Gouda – it was a great sweet/savory/crisp bite and sip…Prost!
And least, but not last, dessert – yes dessert with beer – try it, you’ll like it! Chocolate Stout Cupcake with Parmigiano-Reggiano pretzel crust, mascarpone cheese, candied Prosciutto di Parma, and topped with a rice crispy treat. I have made my share of rice crispy treats through the years with my kids and they always tasted like chemicals…horrible. I am happy to report that Sweet Box makes the best ones I have ever tasted; they are sinful and addicting! The cupcake was a great contrast to the saltiness of the prosciutto and was balanced in flavor with the beer.
The winner of the event was Chef Luke Palladino’s Fresh Prosciutto di Parma Involtini with Truffled Burrata, Caviar and Liguarian Oil (a rollup) (I have a deconstructed photo – Jen, I don’t know if you want to use it, very poor quality) paired with Flying Fish Brewery’s Abbey Dubbel. It was hamazing and porktastic; he was voted top pig and deserved to bring home the bacon…Cent ‘Anni!
A good time was had by all – it was hamtastic! The venue was great – if you haven’t been to the Power Plant Production’s building (formerly the Wilbur Chocolate Factory) located at 230 North Second Street in Philadelphia’s art district – try to get a sneak peek – with its 1920’s old world architecture, it’s a great place to be swined and dined! The Italians were preparing for the wearin’ of the green next month, sort of like getting a pre-tan for vacation in Mexico…Sláinte!
• Michael Klein, Editor/Producer of Philly.com’s The Insider
• Anthony Gargano, Sports Radio host 94WIP
• Danya Henninger, Local Editer, Zagat, Philadelphia
• Kevin Giunta, Executive Chef, DiBruno Bros.