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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Number 34: Chorizo from Fatted Calf Charcuterie

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 12:00 PM

  • Lou Bustamante
SFoodie's countdown of our favorite 50 things to eat and drink, 2012 edition

In the Bay Area, "chorizo" usually refers to the fresh, spicy Mexican sausage that fills tacos and tortas in the Mission. The occasional bit of Spanish-style chorizo that turns up in paella is often little more than a dried-out paprika delivery system.

That's what makes the chorizo at Fatted Calf such a revelation. Cured in small batches by master butcher Taylor Boetticher and his crew, the sausage is as traditional as they come, a mixture of local heritage pork, salt, garlic, black pepper, and Spanish pimentón (paprika). The irregular chunks of spiced pork and fat are compressed in natural casings and then allowed to air-dry and cure in the shop to concentrate and marry the flavors, deepening the richness of the pimentón. The meat has the texture of good salumi -- firm yet tender.

Fatted Calf's Spanish-style chorizo is available in whole loops or in halves ($20/pound, around $15 for a whole loop). Make sure to buy extra if you are planning to cook with it -- inevitably, you'll find yourself snacking on thin slices, finally giving in to building a meal around a stack of sliced chorizo rounds.

Fatted Calf, 320 Fell (at Gough), 400-5614 and at 644 C First St. (at Oxbow Public Market), Napa, (707) 256-3684.

Other favorites in this series:

35: Silvanas from House of Silvanas
36: Linden Street Brewery's black lager
37: Aged oolongs from Red Blossom Tea Company
38: Broken Record's crawfish grits
39: Cebiche mixto from La Mar 
40: Nutella-hazelnut hand pie from Black Jet Baking Co.
41: Fifth Floor's burger
42: Perbacco's agnolotti dal plin
43: Iced coffee from Sightglass
44: Cypress Grove's Purple Haze Chevre
45: Lechon from Tastebuds Cuisine
46: Duck with beets from AQ
47: Tai nigiri at ICHI Sushi
48: Fish with explosive chiles from Spices! 
49: Baker & Banker Bakery's blueberry cream cheese muffin
50: Kufta tajine from Cafe Zitouna

Lou Bustamante tweets at @thevillagedrunk. Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.
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