Give some of the most well-known Wisconsin chefs a whole heritage hog to create a unique dish, and then invite the food lovers of Southern Wisconsin to dress up, mingle and sample said dishes. I can’t think of a better way to raise awareness for a really interesting and important cause like heritage livestock while also raising money for a worthy organization like Slow Food Madison.
We started in the charcuterie tasting room which featured a few of the most quality meat producers in the state. Jordandal Farms had a few offerings, the best being a simple but flavorful nitrate-free bacon. Bolzano, out of Milwaukee, allowed us to sample their perfect salami which I would gladly feast on for the rest of my life. My husbands favorite was the melt-in-your-mouth slow roasted red wattle from Black Earth Farms, but their presentation was beyond lacking: a bored woman sitting behind a crock pot. Really? Garin and Mathias of Underground were there, blowing everyones mind (as usual), with a gorgeous presentation as well as a variety of the highest quality chacuterie including my personal favorite, the buttery and smooth soprasetto.
As we continued on to the heritage tasting rooms we were particularly impressed with the James Beard award winning Sanford (MKE) and what they had to offer. Their pork loin in a shellfish broth had a lot of bold flavors but none over-powered the other and it was simply delicious. So much so that my husband had to grab seconds! They also prepared a heritage pig corn-dog with a side of foie gras mustard, it wouldn’t have been much except for the mustard was just so unique and delicious.
Another restaurant that really brought it was Roots, also out of MKE. They offered their out of this world pork belly, which I had been fortunate enough to try previously and it was as perfect as I had remembered. They also prepared a couple unique variations on old-standbys like pig fat ginger snap cookies and a PB&J knock-off of pinenut and cashew butter and “pig fig” jam sandwich.
I genuinely hope that this becomes an annual event, because I am sold!
For more information on Slow Food Madison and all of their upcoming events: http://www.slowfoodmadison.org/