Chorizo is the ruby-red Spanish sausage that has taken over the world with its heady fragrant punch of Spanish paprika or pimentón. The richness of pork and pork fat is balanced with a fresh acidic finish, an artefact of the lactic fermentation every good chorizo goes through as it cures. There are two styles of chorizo on the market: semi-cured and cured.

The semi-cured chorizo is soft to the touch and has a smooth skin. It has undergone fermentation rendering it quite acidic but it has not been air-dried so still needs to be kept in the fridge – and needs to be cooked.  This is the one you add to Spanish stews, and grill or flame. The cured chorizo has a tougher wrinkled skin, is deep in colour and is dense and hard to touch. Slice this for your charcuterie board or tapas plate and serve with ice-cold beer or a glass of tempranillo or other Spanish red wine.

The fresh ‘chorizo’ you see in butchers’ shops and supermarkets is not traditional chorizo but a fresh spiced sausage often made with industrial premix.

1. La Boqueria 

This is a classic semi-cured chorizo made by Catalan-born Spanish smallgoods maker Emile Gomez. It is the one many Spaniards use when making cocido madrileño or fabada asturiana. It’s made in Sydney with pork, pork fat, salt, herbs and high quality pimentón. Slice and add to a stew or cut off a slice, grill and add to a dish.

2. Carne-Sal-Tiempo

Meat, salt and time – that’s the translation of the name of the Melbourne company that makes this excellent cured chorizo. Carne-Sal-Tiempo is the brainchild of David Roberts, former head chef of Movida. He uses a touch of fino sherry in the mix, adding a nutty layer to the full-flavoured pork and sweet pimentón. The chorizo are fermented then cured for 6 to 7 weeks. Slice and serve with beer, wine or even a glass of fino sherry.

2. San José

José Coutinho is a Portuguese-born charcutier making authentic versions of Italian, French, Portuguese and Spanish smallgoods in his salume ‘studio’ in the foothills of the Adelaide Hills. He uses the best ingredients, great pimentón and gives his chorizo a light cold smoke. It’s so gentle that it simply adds another aromatic layer to this masterfully dense, flavoursome and truly delicious chorizo.

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