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Boccalone Lardo available at Rockridge Market Hall (Oakland)

OMG.

Did someone know about this, and not tell me?

I went to Market Hall today because I failed to find pancetta at the Oakland Whole Foods yesterday (which, first of all - what? I mean, they had some sliced packaged stuff they were calling pancetta, but no real pancetta). While I was waiting for my number to be called, I spotted - it an unassuming, creamy white block with specks of herbs on it. Lardo!

I ordered 2 oz, sliced paper thin, and tore into the package like a kid on Christmas morning as soon as I got home. I've had lardo at a few restaurants (on crostoni at Delfina, which I remember being rosemary-heavy; melted, on pizza at Dopo, just the slightest whisper of pig, but also, strangely, a flavor reminiscent of chicken broth; in a couple of restaurants outside the Bay Area as well, some of them tainted by oxidation), but this lardo is in a different class. What sets it apart is the remarkable sweetness - it's like eating bacon buttercream. I nearly fell over, delirious from the deliciousness. Then I had three more slices (the last one on toast). Now I feel a little ill, and will probably have beans and kale for dinner to make up for today's dietary indiscretion. Whatever, it was totally worth it. Tomorrow I may have to make lardo pizza.

(If someone finds out that all the Bay Area restaurants actually get their lardo from Boccalone, I'll be embarrassed... but there's no question in my mind that what I just ate 5 minutes ago was way better than what I've had at the restaurants.)

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  1. They're also carrying the Boccalone Pancetta Piana and Mortadella, both of which are super.

    1 Reply
    1. re: lexdevil

      Ah ha! I *knew* someone was holding out on me. That's like... a total violation of the East Bay Pork Pact!!!
      : P
      It's actually been a while since I've checked out the salumi offerings at Market Hall, and I was impressed by the Boccalone selection. They also had the coppa di testa and the ciccioli (as well as a number of hard salamis).

    2. I doubt it's circulated that far yet around the Bay Area. Chris Cosentino and Mark Pastore love their hoof-to-snout approach to the pig, and how can you not love them for it?

      FYI:
      http://www.chow.com/grinder/tag/bocca...

      1. Thanks for the report! When I was in Bergamo in Northern Italy, I had my favorite lardo dish of all time: creamy, piping hot polenta with thinly sliced lardo arranged vertically in a wheatstack in the center of the polenta, melting as I dug in. I haven't found any lardo here that I've liked, but since I love the cured meats at Incanto, I'm going to get some of the Boccalone lardo and try it on polenta.

        BTW, not surprised about Whole Foods and the pancetta. They don't carry real pancetta at the SoMa SF store either. And the deli people are very challenged when you ask for prosciutto, so I just get pancetta from Fatted Calf and prosciutto from AG Ferrari or Lucca Ravioli.

        2 Replies
        1. re: farmersdaughter

          Oh... polenta. Great idea. Maybe I'll make polenta to finish it off.

          When I lived in the South Bay, I made the mistake of getting prosciutto sliced at the Cupertino Whole Foods - it came out raggedy and torn - bought all of my Italian meats at Cosentino after that. Thought it was just bad luck, but maybe it's a chain-wide problem of not properly training people to slice.

          1. re: daveena

            That's not a chain-wide problem--the California Street Whole Foods in San Francisco does a fine job with prosciutto; in fact some of the best we've ever gotten locally was the first cut off a fresh leg of prosciutto di parma. The aroma and subtle tastes were amazing.

        2. In San Francisco, DeLessio on Broderick carries some of the Boccalone products. I think I've always seen mortadella, we've gotten pancetta piana, various dry salumi, and a few other items.

          Funny you should mention a flavor reminiscent of chicken broth--for Easter, we had some of the Boccalone prosciutto cotto, otherwise known as Italian cooked ham. It was delicious, tender, delicately flavored, but I was pretty sure I detected a hint of poultry flavor, which I chalked up to the breed of pigs they're using.

          -----
          DeLessio Market & Bakery
          302 Broderick St, San Francisco, CA 94117

          1. Any pointers on where one can obtain lardo in SF ? The polenta and pizza sound like must-try ideas right now.

            7 Replies
            1. re: osho

              Try looking at DeLessio. Boccalone products are generally only sold direct to the consumer, but they're also available at a few places where they trust the vendors, such as Market Hall (oakland), and DeLessio (San Francisco). Does anyone know of other retail locations?

              1. re: SteveG

                They have some products at Bi-Rite but I don't think the lardo is there.

                1. re: SteveG

                  Steve, Cheers for the tip. I did call DeLessio and they pretty much have all products from Boccalone except the lardo, which is a special order item. They've kindly agreed to order some for me this week.

                  On a funny note, at the Market St location, they didn't have the faintest idea what lardo was !

                  Thanks for your help.

                  1. re: osho

                    Did you order it from the location inside Falletti Foods? What was the minimum order? Would love to order some and save myself a trip across the bridge.

                    1. re: farmersdaughter

                      Concur with the 'trip across the bridge' sentiment :-)

                      I ordered it from the Broderick St location. They will have it on Friday PM.

                      1. re: osho

                        Lardo is now readily available at the newly opened Boccalone retail location at the Ferry Plaza.

                    2. re: osho

                      Just bought some lardo at DeLessio on Broderick on Sunday; it looks like they're carrying it pretty consistently, and I counted around 10 boccalone products.

                2. What's Boccalone? A local producer?

                  And speaking of proscuitto, I noticed they were selling whole ones at Costco the week before Easter. (The Martha Stewart hams at Costco are pretty good hams.) Didn't get th proscuitto, but they were about $130 each...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bryan Gros

                    I've seen whole proscuitto at Costco before.

                    Boccalone is the artisan salumi line put out by Chris Cosentino of Incanto.
                    http://www.boccalone.com/index.cfm

                    In the beginning he was only doing it as a direct to consumer subscription basis, but I guess he's got production going well enough that he can sell some at retail. I had some of the pancetta piana a while back and it was mind-blowingly delicious.

                  2. OK, so now I must have some of this lardo. Unfortunately, we're on a relatively tight budget. I don't deny myself anything, I just buy miniscule quantities of my favorite splurges. So, even though I don't want to, I must ask: how much is this velvety, fatty, piggy delight?

                    Also, I'm just dying looking at their website. I would so totally love to be in that Salumi society where you pick up packages of assorted salumi twice a month in either SF or the EB (there are 2 sizes-- "the piglet" and "the boar"). Unfortunately, my husband probably thinks paying rent is more important than sampling assorted tasty salted pig parts :(

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Hunicsz

                      It's $18.50 a pound - and remember, fat is much less dense than meat. So 2 oz costs a little more than $2, and gives you enough to eat a few slices plain or on toast (yesterday), pop a few slices on plain pizza dough baked on a pizza stone (today), and a few slices to top polenta with (tomorrow)!

                      Market Hall does have a pretty good selection of the salumi, so it's the perfect way to sample some of the other products, without committing to the Salumi society.

                    2. Stopped by the new Boccalone shop at the Ferry Building (the huge, prominently displayed slicer looks as though it does double duty as a particle accelerator) and asked the friendly proprietress for recommended uses for the lardo. She suggested thinly sliced, with peaches. Farmers market had already closed, but this is definitely on my to-do list. The shop has a full complement of salumis, some in chunks sealed in vacuum bags or you can have them sliced on the spot. There's an on-site drying cooler hung with dozens of salumi, sausages, etc. Add a stop at Cowgirl Creamery and one at Acme and you have a picnic from paradise.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: dordogne

                        If you look closely at the cooler picture you may be able to see the lardo hanging there.
                        http://sf.eater.com/archives/2008/06/...

                        Well I can see it in the picture I took.

                      2. late answer you'd say :), never is too late ...
                        try your lardo (colonnata is an italian dop, but i prefer the lardo d'arnad from val d'aosta NW mountain italy) on slices of warm brown bread with drops of honey on it, or jam like prune one (not too sweet).
                        enjoy, if you read it
                        eat well

                        raffa, italian chef in paris

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: sono1pera

                          Yum... I remember having some Colonnata lardo in Corniglia in this tiny restaurant - we had it with some tomato slices - yummy! I will have to go to Boccalone to check out their selection!