Monday, April 28, 2014

Charlito's Cocina -- Turning Out Small Batches of Hand-Made Dry Cured Meat That is Out of This World Good! (Review)

Disclosure:  I was sent samples from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.

Charlito's Cocina

The True Charlito's Sampler 

"Founded in 2011, Charlito's Cocina aims is to explore and utilize the rich gastronomic traditions used to preserve food prior to the days of refrigeration and freezers. It is in the spirit of this robust tradition that we strive to create delicious, shelf stable foods using the cleanest, most well raised ingredients possible.  All the meat we use is 100% pasture raised, heritage breed pork. The salt we use is all hand harvested fleur de sel. And, all of our products are made by hand, slowly, in small batches. You will find a hand-written batch number on every item."


You know you have a great product if the likes of Oprah and "Real Simple" magazine feature your products.  Well, this is the case with Charles Wekselbaum, founder and head salami maker of Charlito's Cocina, based out of Long Island City, Queens in NY.  Charles, who is also known as Charlito, hence the name of the business, started his made by hand artisan charcuterie business back in the summer of 2011.  At that time, he started off making a meatless fig salami, but soon added many more great products.

Recently, I had the opportunity to sample both the "Fig" salami and dry beer salami, which are just two products that make up the popular The True Charlito's Sampler 
available for purchase online at Charlito's Cocina for only $75.  In addition to the two products I was sent to sample, this gift set also includes 1 Salami Picante (Dry cured spicy salami), 1 Chorizo Seco (Dry cured chorizo), 1 Camp Seco (Dry cured country style sausage) and 1 Trufa Seca (dry truffle sausage).

Growing up, I used to love traveling in Boston with my parents to the North End, and visit a handful of bakeries and butcher shops.  We would always leave with homemade Italian cookies, freshly baked Scali bread and dried salami and pepperoni to bring and made sandwiches with.  Ahh, I am getting hungry just thinking about it.  This is one thing I miss about not living closer to Boston, in that I can't take a quick drive into the city when I am craving homemade sweets and gourmet artisan salami and other dried meats.  But, thanks to my recent Google search, i stumbled across Charlito's Cocina, and now have an alternative that can be ordered online and delivered right to my door.  

And, the next time I visit NYC, I will be making a stop at the Sporgasburg, Brooklyn's Flea Food Market, as Charles has a stand here.  :-)  I found this out over the weekend after talking with a friend from NYC.  I couldn't stop raving about how wonderful the handmade fig salami was, and had I had to get more.  I didn't even have to mention the company name, as she knew based on me just talking about fig salami.  I guess people from Brooklyn are all too familiar with Charles and his amazing line of artisan salamis.  I guess I was the only one who wasn't in the know. :-)  Now I am, and I can't stop talking it up with family and friends.

This past weekend, my husband and I enjoyed sampling Charles' two products he so kindly sent my way.  We first started off by sampling his popular Vegan fig salami, which is made entirely of Black Mission figs, red wine and Baker's bourbon.  I am not usually a fan of fig, but the pairing of the Black Mission figs, along with the red wine and bourbon make for a great combination.  This sampling gave my husband and I a reason to pop open a bottle of wine, and enjoy the "fig" salami, along with the Charlito's Cocina Cerveza Seca (Dry Beer Salami) with local gourmet cheeses, once the girls finally went to bed.  

Usually we don't have time to enjoy a nice cheese and artisan dried meat plate unless we are dining out at a fancy restaurant without the girls, which has been limited since their arrival.  SO, it was nice to be able to sit at home, enjoy a few glasses of wine, while sampling these delicious salamis.

My husband was an instant fan of Cerveza Seca/Dry Beer Salami, as it had a rich flavor from being cured with brown ale.  
Cerveza Seca - Dried Beer Salami

I am not usually a beer drinker, but my husband pushed me to try this salami.  He said it didn't taste like beer, but instead had a molasses-like taste.  I didn't believe him, so took a bite.  Wow!  What a rich flavor this salami had.  I couldn't stop picking up pieces of this dried salami to enjoy with brie and other cheeses I put out.

It is has been so long since I have been to Boston to visit the North End to purchase dried salami, but I don't feel like I am missing out anymore, as I am in love with Charlito's Cocina and their dry-cured sausage products.  I can't wait to pick up more of Charle's products including his Campo Seco-Dry Cured Country Style Sausage, Chorizo Seca and Black Truffle Salami, to name a few. :-)

If you are a fan of dry-cured sausage, or are intrigued by the popular Vegan "Fig" salami, you will want to check out Charlito's Cocina, and purchase a sampling of these handmade in small batches salami's.  And, with Mother's Day, and even Father's Day fast approaching, a sampling of Charlito's Cocina sausages would go great at a brunch, paired with cheese and fresh bread or crackers.  

Check out some of the gift sets available for purchase from Charlito's Cocina that would make for great Mother's Day gift ideas this year...

The "Real Simple" Mix (as featured in Real Simple Magazine)

The "Real Simple" Mix 

(as featured in Real Simple Magazine) 

Only $40.00

The "Diet" Charlito's Sampler (4 pieces total)

The "Diet" Charlito's Sampler (4 pieces total)

Includes: Includes a sample of 4 of our dry-cured salamis (Chorizo -8oz, Truffle- 6oz, Beer -6oz, Country- 6oz)

 The Oprah Magazine Gift Set
Includes: Dry-Cured Black Truffle Sausage (6oz), Opinel Folding Knife, Engraved "Charlito's Cocina" Red Alder Wood Cutting Board

Campo Seco - Dry Cured Country Sausage (2 pieces)

Campo Seco - Dry Cured Country Sausage (2 pieces) - Only $30

the "please no truffles!" mix
- 1 Campo Seco - Dry Cured Country Sausage (6oz)
- 1 Chorizo Seco - Dry Cured Mild Chorizo (8oz)
- 1 Cerveza Seca - Dry Cured Beer Salami (6oz)
- 1 Fig "Salami" (5oz)

Once you sample Charlito's Cocina dry-cured sausages, you will fall in love, just like my husband and I did.  Now, I know why my friend and so many others are already familiar and fans of Charlito's Cocina.  Their cured meats and Vegan "Fig" sausage is out of this world delicious! :-)

Disclosure:  I was sent samples from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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