Saint-Rhémy-en-Bosses, (Valle d’Aosta) — The first jubilant sagra for summer takes us quite close to the Gran San Bernardo Pass on the Swiss border where we stayed a weekend to see what Saint Rhémy’s famous ham was all about. The alpine views are absolutely stunning and made a perfect setting for the much anticipated 36° Exhibition of the Jambon de Bosses.
Already a bona fide glutton of fine prosciutto? Well here’s the scoop on this DOP certified cured ham. Produced exclusively at Saint-Rhémy’s high altitude, the seasonings that attribute to such wonderful flavor is a mixture of salt, pepper, garlic, sage, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, and juniper berries. The end result is a much-appreciated product that brings people to the sagra from miles around. As one person advised us, “Get to the sagra early or risk not having anywhere to sit down!”
The sagra was held at the Crevacol ski lift and there were three jambon producers selling from well-stocked booths. It was a carnivore’s dream. Whole legs, sectioned portions, or thinly sliced to order, jambon was jamming. There were other food vendors selling lardo, pancetta, goat cheese and gigantic loaves of dark organic bread that we were unable to resist. I cut my husband loose for a few minutes and he comes back with almost 20 euros worth of cheese! Down at the food tent, a line had already formed (so we were warned) by those who came solely for a sitdown hamfest. Plates of everything from sliced jambon, melon and jambon, jambon panini and other local dishes were on the menu. The wine had already begun to pour when we initially got there but I’m sure it continued to flow well into the dark evening hours with much singing and dancing.
These half rounds were almost two pounds each. Dense, chewy, and flavorful, the bottom loaf is a multi-grain while the top is pane nero, or black bread with walnuts. Dark and rich with a hint of sweetness…I’ve never had bread this good.
Jambon de Bosses is compact in flesh with a moderately sweet aspect hinting of the herbs and spices that went into the curing process. The best way to savor this is with farm fresh butter, black bread, honey, and walnuts.