Jamon Iberico de Bellota at TORITOS
- Charles Yu Jun 22, 2008 07:59 AM
FYI, as a 'special of the day item', Toritos is serving the rare 'Jamon Iberico de Bellota' at $15 an ounze. The ham, cured from black pigs that fed on acorns, was much much sweeter, less salty and full of 'umami' than their ordinary but already superb cousin the Jamon Serrano and Jamon Iberico.
BTW, another great dish we tried on the night include a lightly seared, sashimi grade 'jumbo' size scallops from Hokkaido, Japan. Sooo sweet and perfectly cooked.
Looks like ordering the 'special of the day' is the way to go for nice surprises.
I've heard that there have also been sightings of this ham at Mistura, Pangaea, and for retail purchase at Olliffe, if you're not fond of your firstborn anymore.
Did you actually see the 'bellota' tag at Torito's? Last time I was there I received serrano - again $15 - but I don't recall there was a size mentioned on the serving.
Some restaurants in Toronto are serving Iberico that isn't bellota and just calling it 'Iberico' on the menu - and some servers are not totally familiar with the difference.
Incidentally I've seen the 'real' bellota for sale retail, and it was roughly $10 per small piece/slice (very thin and about 2/3 the size of a piece of peameal bacon (and I emphasize much thinner). I figured it was roughly $500 per lb 'retail', which would be over $30 per oz. I would love to find it at $15 at a restaurant - but would expect more like $45 based on regular markups.
More and more I wish I'd been even more of a regular at Chiado where a decent sized serving was $25 - but that was before they were 'busted' by Agriculture Canada.
I did not actually see the 'Bellota' tag. However, our waiter/bar tender, who was Swiss/Spanish, did emphasize to us that their special Iberico ham was not the corn fed version but the acorn fed one. From what I understand about Iberico ham, acorns fed black pig is 'Bellota'. No?! BTW, 'mail order' Bellota is selling in the states for US$75 per 8oz
PS: Welcome back from Japan! How many Michelin star restaurants did you end up going to?
so... for how long is the "the special of the day item" kept on the menu? is it literally for the day? or can i still go next week?
i did like torito when i went last year. i assume it is still a little gem.
I was at the Cheese Boutique tasting evening at Coupe Space last week and Afrim brought Bellota to the event. He imported a small quantity and I think he mentioned that he was selling at at $600.00 a kilo. I am assuming that he is likely the one selling it into the below mentioned restaurants.
It was amazing, but not good enough to justify the insane price jump from the other high-end Spanish products IMHO...
Mr. Rab and I made our first visit to Torito last weekend (and we're kicking ourselves for not listening to board recs sooner... this place is fab!). We did try the acorn-fed pig in question, and for $15 we received about 5/6 slices of this ham which I think tastes much like Charles describes (slightly darker, sweeter and perhaps more supple than the usual variety). We did much ham-tasting in Spain, and this stuff is indeed quite special (and distinct from the regular serrano).
Other menu highlights for us included a yellow tomato gazpacho (season special, I think, so snap it up) with shrimp and avocado (yum!), and a merguez sausage special served over a salad of tomato and cucumber that was spicy and delish. Even the patas bravas with chorizo seemed extra-special here (good sausage!), although we didn't really find any mis-steps (Mr. loooved the sardines too, I just don't care for oily fish).
If I were to pick, tortilla was a slight disappoint (felt it couldn't get enough eggy height as a personal pie) - but it still reminded us of Spain.
The almond tarte was served with a compote of fresh cherries that really knocked it out of the park.
Wine list is carefully and passionately (is that word too much??) selected by the Swiss/Spanish barkeep who also served us (charming, BTW). We literally drank ten glasses of various stuffs over a few hours (and felt it the next day)... loved the Caracol Jumilla, although what I really couldn't get enough of was the vino tinto de verano.
Again, this place is lovely (whether or not you choose the Bellota).
it's great to hear that Toronto has finally started importing these majestic ham!
Just saw the latest report in Toronto Star about Iberico ham (not the superior Bellota kind, http://www.yourhome.ca/homes/article/...) selling for $350/kg at Longo's, Scheffler's Deli in St. Lawrence Market, Pusateri's, and Olliffe at the Five Thieves in Rosedale.
It's hard to believe Toritos is selling these ham @ $530/kg when other retailers are selling over $600/kg???