A Taste of Italy in Virginia
From home-grown herbs and produce to Eastern Shore oysters and Edwards Surry ham, The Winery takes great care in selecting the finest quality meats, fruits and vegetables to serve to its guests.
The Williamsburg Winery’s commitment to incorporating fresh, locally-sourced ingredients into its menus continues to grow.
“The best thing about it is it’s literally a piece of Italy right here in Williamsburg,” said Simon Smith, The Winery’s Vice President of Food & Beverage.
What is charcuterie?
The word charcuterie is French and refers to the art of preparing and assembling cured
meats – which is meat preserved through the removal of moisture, mostly by covering it in salt. The process was invented thousands of years as a way to extend the meats’ shelf life.
But, now many people use the word charcuterie to refer to an assortment of meats that are paired with different accompaniments, such as toast, fruit, cheese, and jams.
“Charcuterie is a conversation starter and it goes perfectly with wine,” said Smith. “What a nice way to spend the day, sitting outside on the 1619 Wine Pavilion with a glass of wine and authentic Italian charcuterie made in Virginia. How cool is that?”
A New Friendship
The Winery’s Head Chef David McClure knows something special when he sees it.
That’s how he felt about Filippo Gambassi, owner of Terra di Siena and his products.
“When we met him and tried his charcuterie, I thought I definitely want to work with this guy,” said McClure. “I was blown away by his passion and that he was doing this all himself.”
Instead of simply exporting his traditional Tuscan cured meats, Gambassi, a native of Italy, chose to expand his family’s business into the United States. He moved to Richmond and set up a production warehouse where he follows the same meat making processes as his family in Italy. He offers traditional Italian-style pork charcuterie such as pancetta, salami, guanciale (jowl), and capocollo.
“When we say its ‘traditional,’ that means it is made with a lot more care – it’s not mass produced,” explained McClure. “There are no nitrates, all natural casings and nothing added. It’s just salt, turbinado sugar and his spices and the pork. We knew right off the bat that this was an amazing find, so that’s why we started using it.”
McClure started incorporating Gambassi’s charcuterie in January and within a week it was offered in the gift shop and within three weeks it was in both restaurants. It is also available as a signature catering item.
“He hand delivers it every two weeks,” said McClure. “You don’t often think of charcuterie being fresh, but literally as soon as it's done curing, it comes to us.”
McClure enjoys the product so much that he uses every last ounce.
“I save the fat off of it and render it down and even use the skin,” he said. “That’s how good this stuff is.”
*On March 27, enjoy a cooking demonstration followed by a three-course wine-paired dinner featuring authentic Italian cured meats from Terra di Siena.