Eating Carnivorously in Paris - Part 3: Belotta
We started off by sharing a starter of roasted red capsicum with Spanish anchovies. This was accompanied by pickled garlic, which was a little tart to taste, crunchy in texture and with only a hint of garlic flavour. The lack of the strong pungency of garlic from a whole clove was surprising.
This little piggy tasting plate consists of three different hams made from piggys of three different regions.
It was served with crushed potatoes with mushrooms. This had a nice woody flavour, imparted by the mushrooms.
This little piggy tasting plate consists of ham and two sausages made from Iberico pig (read offcuts after we are done with the legs).
This was served with crushed potatoes with chorizo. This was much better than the crushed potato with mushrooms. The saltiness of the chorizo complemented the potatoes nicely.
The prime cut of the ham is the thigh, and in this case they are muscular from all the free-range exercise. It is served thinly sliced and unaccompanied by anything that might detract from the taste. That wondrous taste and texture of the meat is rich yet subtle. It wasn’t as salty as I thought it would be. The texture was delicate and smooth, but the most amazing experience was the sensation it created....
But I digress; let us get back to the fat. A slice of this ham will coat one’s mouth with that glorious fat. The smoothness and sensation is like chocolate slowly melting in your mouth, coating it with a velvety lining. It takes a bit of getting used to but once accustomed, the experience is sublime.
The grand cru tasting plate will set you back €33. The chorizo and other various tasting plates cost between €20 and €25. It is a little pricey for slices of ham but consider that jamón ibérico de bellota sells for over US$100 a pound; this is the perhaps the most expensive ham in the world. However, one can also indulge in take-away ham sandwiches, which start at €7.50. The Royale sandwich is priced at €12.50 and that is an experience in its own.
So the next time you are frantically shopping in Paris and need a little break, why not grab a sandwich or even better, take a seat at the counter and enjoy the superb hospitality of the counter staff - a few very charming waiters who gave us a complimentary champagne while we waited for the lunching patrons to vacate their seats. I believe some flirting with my wife was involved.