Joselito, the legend continues

In Paris, Yannick Alléno gave his take on the prosciutto par excellence, a masterpiece about to celebrate its 150th anniversary

23-07-2018

Joselito Lab act six, in Paris, France, on the Champs-Élysées at Yannick Alléno’s Pavillon Ledoyen. It took place last June 29th at lunchtime, while they were putting on the barriers and bleachers for Bastille Day, celebrated on July 14th, and the last leg of the Tour de France on Sunday 29th. The day had little of the grandeur Françaiseatmosphere and more of the bistro one of the rougher neighbourhoods. No tablecloths and an informal service, with renovations taking place also in the building hosting the centennial restaurant, given it dates back from 1779.

Learning how to hand-cut a Joselito Gran Reserva 2013 prosciutto on June 29th 2018 at Pavillon Ledoyen in Paris 

Learning how to hand-cut a Joselito Gran Reserva 2013 prosciutto on June 29th 2018 at Pavillon Ledoyen in Paris 

The project of José Gomez Sr. and Jr. starts from the wish to have chefs of the highest standards, only those with three stars, interpret their masterpiece, Gran Reserva. It’s not an easy task, given that Joselito is already perfect by itself. In fact, it just needs Champagne and bread, nothing more, to offer the utmost pleasure. Using it as an ingredient opens unexpected outcomes, and is a work uphill.

Belon oyster, purée of Joselito pork fillet and oscietra caviar, the perfect creation and interpretation given by Yannick Alléno to Joselito

Belon oyster, purée of Joselito pork fillet and oscietra caviar, the perfect creation and interpretation given by Yannick Alléno to Joselito

Sixth year, sixth interpreter. Yet 2018 is a special year too, because el mejor jamon del mundo celebrates its 150th anniversary so there’s a second event scheduled in October. Alléno follows Ferran Adrià in Spain, Massimiliano Alajmo in Italy, Jonnie Boer in Holland, Seiji Yamamoto in Japan and Joachim Wissler in Germany the last autumn.

A Spanish journalist takes photos of the formidable tapas during the event dedicated to the excellent Joselito: Chorizo marshmallows and corn

A Spanish journalist takes photos of the formidable tapas during the event dedicated to the excellent Joselito: Chorizo marshmallows and corn

Following the programme, in Paris the event started with the product by itself, a Gran Reserva 2013 hand-sliced by an assertive hand on an especially hot Friday. Outside, the pork cooked on the spit at both ends of a table on which a Joselito ham dominated next to a bottle of Dom Pérignon 2009. The best marries the best. And for the best I also mean the person who had the task of cutting, thanks to his ability to explain each part, because flavours, fat and textures are not uniform within the leg. Given the same applies to industrial products, think of how this can be relevant in free range pigs that live in the wild and have at least two hectares of fields and woods available to them.

Joselito pork cooked slowly and at length on the spit

Joselito pork cooked slowly and at length on the spit

Then when we sat around the table the champagne was replaced by a wine I found thrilling, Vega Sicilia Unico 2008. Though I did understand Alléno’s choice of focusing on smaller portions and an informal service that would recall Spanish tapas, I thought it quite daring, given the quality of food and wines. It was like having pizzerias as your inspiration, when using Italian excellences. It’s ok, but you risk complicating your task by entering a foreign world.

The photo doesn’t pay justice to the quality of the pork and its cooking. The quality was entirely in the food 

The photo doesn’t pay justice to the quality of the pork and its cooking. The quality was entirely in the food 

In similar moments, I prefer the sacredness of service. Dom Pérignon is no ordinary bubble, Joselito not just any ham, and Alléno’s recipes are not chromatic whims for the web, and this event confirmed it once again. I would have preferred to be guided carefully, having each step explained to me. For instance, the Golden apple cake with Abanico Joselito, a cut that wraps the ribs behind the pig’s head, deserved a standing ovation. The conchiglie with chanterelle mushrooms and ham was very maccheroni cheese and fun. The roasted pork was moving. 

In the kitchen of the Pavillon Ledoyen in Paris 

In the kitchen of the Pavillon Ledoyen in Paris 

See, if I could relive that day, I’d serve first the Gran Reserva 2013 with Dom Pérignon 2009, then the cochon grillé with its chips that melted in your palate, and Vega Sicilia Unico 2008. With no boundaries to pleasure.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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