Kurobuta Salami and Cheese Pairings with Chef Ji Hye Kim
General notes: I thought the salamis needed some time to air out and come to room temperature for the best flavor. I'd recommend unwrapping and letting it hang out for at least 30 minutes before serving, bringing them up to room temperature.
Truffle Salami with Kunik
Kunik is a triple cream goat and Jersey cow's milk cheese, with a fluffy white bloomy rind. Made by Nettle Meadow Farm in Thurman, NY, this cheese is more flavorful, sumptuous, and richer than other soft goat's milk cheeses. I love the luscious texture and the subtle mushroom notes from the rind that complements the truffle in the salami very well, without overwhelming it. You first taste the rich creaminess of Kunik along with the notes of mushroom from the rind, which slowly gives way to the subtle but generous truffles in the salami. Love this combo.
Finocchiona with Malghese
Malghese hails from Lombardy, Italy. This washed rind cheese resembles Taleggio, but I prefer it for Finocchiona. With the addition of sheep's milk, Malghese has milder aroma but more robust flavor and meatier texture that can stand up to the fennel and wine notes of Finocchiona salami.
Sopressata with Ossau Iraty
Soprassata tastes to me like a classically well-made salami. I loved this one because it's very well balanced and I can really taste the high quality and flavors of good pork and pork fat from the Kurobuta. Ossau Iraty is a mountain style sheep's milk cheese from the French Pyrenees that's equally balanced. Its unctuousness from the rich and fatty sheep's milk mirrors the beautiful pork fat in Sopressata and both have delicious nuttiness. That Ossau Iraty pairs well with many red wines probably helps this pairing too.
Calabrian with Wilde Weide Gouda
When people make and label a salami "Calabrian", I often find the spice level and chili flavor a bit on the milder side than I desire. This one was different! The spice level was robust, without overwhelming the flavors of pork. My official favorite is Finocchiona but I have a soft spot for this one for sure. I knew I needed something that plays well with that Calabrian chili heat. I picked Wilde Weide Gouda because of its sweetness, with specks of amino acid crystals. The nutty sweet notes balance out the spices. You can eat a lot of this combo.
Final Note from Chef Ji Hye: All these Kurobuta salamis are really delicious! Thank you for sharing them with me and giving me an opportunity to play a cheese monger again.