Mercado Famous Wants to Make Spanish Charcuterie Part of Your Everyday Cooking Routine

Credit: Mercado Famous

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Until recently, I always identified as a cheese girl. There was never really a question or a moment of doubt in my mind when the time came to order a pre-dinner snack or a dessert. It was always the cheese board. I’d had a good bite of cured meat here and there, but it was usually more expensive than the cheese alternatives, or I just didn’t trust it to be as satisfying as a Gruyère.

Of course, this was only the case anytime I wasn’t at a Spanish restaurant or gathering. Something about cured meat from Spain feels so much more emblematic of what charcuterie should always taste like. Whether it’s the quality of the meat used or Spain’s own special little secret, the layers of flavors like nuts, herbs, and smoke are deeper in Spanish cured meats than in the best prosciutto I can recall. Mercado Famous, a Spanish charcuterie brand launched earlier this year, delivers the best of Spain in this category.

Making Spanish Cured Meats A Staple

Before meeting and starting Mercado Famous, Aaron Luo and Carmen Chen Wu were two children from Chinese backgrounds growing up in Spain and learning to appreciate the country’s national treasure: jamón. After moving to the U.S. together, living here for eighteen years, and failing to find cured meats that were affordable and as delicious as the stuff they’d been raised with, the two knew the only solution was to bring Spain home themselves.

Luo and Wu wanted to create a product that embodied the festive and generous spirit they used to feel while sharing chorizo and jamón with their families and friends in Spain. They also wanted to make cured meats that were fairly priced so that consumers would be able to keep them in their kitchens as everyday pantry items.

Only three of Mercado’s six cured meats.
Credit: Khiara

A Slice Of The Best Stuff

My favorite part about Mercado Famous cured meats is knowing that what I’m eating was made with the same level of quality and care as the charcuterie Spaniards snack on. All of the company’s products are 100% organic and cured in Alberca, Spain, a town that’s a three-and-a-half hour drive west of Madrid. The jamón and lomo ibérico options come from hybrid Ibérico and Duroc pigs who subsist on a cebo diet of grains and legumes. Mercado even sells pata negra, a type of Jamón Ibérico made from free-range pigs whose diet consists only of acorns, making for a particularly rich and nutty flavor. And if you really feel like springing for it, there’s a whole leg on offer with a step by step carving guide to help your wildest jamón dreams come true.

Though my favorite was the chorizo ibérico because of its spicy, smoky notes, there’s definitely something for every charcuterie lover. I live in a world where you can never have enough salt, and the jamón serranía exceeded my salt expectations with just a little bit of sweetness to round it out. The lomo ibérico was the most subdued of the three meats I tried and also a little smoky. And while it’s undeniable that Mercado’s meats can stand and astound on their own, you might be surprised to discover the ways they can be integrated into cooking. (Yes, cooking with cured meats!) While cultivating their love of Spanish cuisine as children, Aaron and Carmen noticed how embutidos (the Spanish word for cured meats) were used to prepare hot meals, something also done in Chinese culture. The recipes on the Mercado Famous blog speak to this and offer a jumping off point for you to get creative in your kitchen.

The stunning colors of Mercado charcuterie.
Credit: Khiara Ortiz

To enjoy Mercado embutidos, all you have to do is soak the trays in warm water for two minutes before peeling them open. Doing that will soften the meat up just a bit and release more flavor, making you feel as if you’re sitting in a tapas bar halfway around the world. Does anything sound better? 

5 more reasons to love Mercado Famous

  1. If you’re lost and don’t know where to start, Mercado makes it easy to shop charcuterie with its Bundle options. To name a few, enjoy the Party Pack, La Familia, and The Grazer.
  2. Got a charcuterie-loving friend’s birthday coming up? Not only can you shower them with Mercado embutidos, but surprise them even more with one of the brand’s many merch options—hats, hoodies, t-shirts, and aprons galore.
  3. We love it when food brands have an easy subscription service so we don’t have to think about remembering to replenish our pantries. Mercado Famous offers just that on a monthly basis, plus a 10% discount to sweeten—or salt?—the deal.
  4. Got loved ones abroad that you know would love a little cured meat? Mercado ships to every continent except for one (sorry Antarctica). Check out where you can make it rain Mercado Famous on the brand’s FAQ page.
  5. Everyone has a few eggs and some bread in their kitchen in times of desperate hunger. Mercado’s chorizo is waiting to elevate your breakfast (or breakfast for dinner) game.

Stock your pantry with Mercado Famous here.

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