MasterChef: Do You Know Your Pancetta From Your Prosciutto?
Yotam Ottolenghi is back -- and he wants to put our delicatessen knowledge to the test.
Sure we're all very skilled at devouring the contents of a cheese board or charcuterie plate, but could you actually name over 40 types of unlabelled cured meats, mystery dips and anonymous cheeses?
It proved a challenge even more nerve-wracking for our contestants than last week’s sauce taste test.
Ottolenghi's delis in London are world famous -- and a little different from a traditional neighbourhood deli -- boasting an abundance of sweet and savoury treats on generous platters. The legendary cook said ahead of the challenge that there's something very magical about walking into a deli.
"It's like an Aladdin's cave, you come in and you see beautiful stuff and you just want to buy and eat everything!" Ottolenghi said.
IRL deli master Luciano Gianpietro told 10 daily that he'd have no problem identifying the items from an array of smoked meats, cured fish, aged cheeses and assortments of olives.
"A lot of people don’t know the difference between the San Daniele and the prosciutto di Parma," he explained, saying that it takes a practised palate to distinguish between the two cured pig products from northern Italy.
Gianpietro's family hails from Abruzzo in Italy, and he was exposed to the art of deli meats from a young age during his childhood in Sydney when his relatives would get together in winter to produce homemade salami.
The smallgoods aficionado works at Panetta Mercato in Sydney's inner-west and previously worked at the legendary AC Butchery in Leichhardt which closed its doors for good last year.
While our contestants probably wished they had Luciano whispering the answers in their ear during tonight's challenge -- the deli master did offer us some advice for novices who want to put together an impressive smallgoods spread this winter.
"I have cycles I go through every few months, I go through different crazes.," he said, thinking about his own personal faves.
"At the moment I’m enjoying pancetta, a nice cured pork belly, and my favourite cheese at the moment is a Manchego cheese with black garlic through it," he said of the Spanish sheep milk delight.
"But I'd also recommend someone start with a parmesan or a Reggiano, a nice aged cheddar, and probably a double cream Brie," he said, walking through his extensive cheese aisle.
And for a simple cured meats selection? Some of that famed San Daniele prosciutto, a good quality ham and a nice aged salami with garlic or truffles.
The best thing about shopping at a deli is that you don't have to actually cook anything once you get home, just have an eye for arranging everything onto one big appetising platter or board.
A fair warning -- you might want to have a cheese platter on hand to minimise cravings if you want to rewatch the ep on 10 Play!