The Under-the-Radar Delivery Service That Lets Me Enjoy Restaurant-Grade Tapas at Home
While I love dreaming up big cooking projects, tossing a ton of ingredients into my trusty Dutch oven, and letting it simmer for hours, I often run into a problem when I’m hosting or hanging out around the house: The smells of delicious braising meats and veggies make me hungry, and since I had just spent so much time making the main dish, I’m not usually in the mood to spend even more time on appetizers. That’s why my favorite appetizers for both solo lounging in my apt and hosting dinner parties are charcuterie or a good ol’ cheese board. Meats, cheeses, and snacks are always crowd-pleasers, and guests can make their own culinary adventure by mixing and matching whatever they want from the spread. However, the same salami and cheddar situation from the deli section of the grocery store can get a little stale, so opting for some high-quality meats and cheeses is a great way to make your cheeseboard more show-stopping — and delicious. One DTC company I recently got to test out and love is Mercado Famous, online purveyors of incredible Spanish meats.
What Is Mercado Famous?
Mercado Famous is a one-stop shop for exquisite Spanish ham and sausage. I’m talking about chorizo, lomo Ibérico, jamon Ibérico, salchichón Ibérico, and more. They hand-select the best cuts from partner farms that have been practicing their craft for generations, and they import and ship their wares all over the contiguous United States, straight to your door. What makes this ham so special (and worth the price!) is the distinct taste and texture of the meat. The pigs are fed on acorns, natural pastures, and other organic foods in an 100% ecological farm, according to the site. “Our Ibérico pigs roam free across the Dehesa — a protected reservation network of meadows and forests along Spain’s Iberian peninsula with a perfect balanced micro climate,” the brand explains. “They move freely and eat at their leisure, and, come fall, they feast on acorns from the trees overhead. Happy pigs, Happy meats.”
All of their products are also made in Spain, and they don’t require refrigeration — you just have to keep them in a cool, dry place and away from direct sunlight. (But you should pop them in the fridge after you open them.) You can order meats a la carte, in bundles, or (if you’re feeling ambitious) a whole leg of ham.
Why I Love Mercado Famous
It’s hard to explain just how delicious this ham is if you’ve never tried it. It tastes so much better than anything you’d be able to get at your local grocery store, and it lasts for a super long time (mine had a two-year shelf life). And, since it doesn’t require refrigeration, it saves you space in your fridge. Plus, it’s a great thing to keep on hand and forget about (if you can!) until you have people over and are in need of a charcuterie centerpiece. I got the Grazer bundle, which comes with a pack of Jamon 50% Ibérico, Chorizo Ibérico, Lomo 50% Ibérico, and Salchichon. The Jamon 50% Ibérico was my favorite, but honestly, they were all top-notch. I broke some out on New Year’s Eve, thinking I was going to get away with just putting out a single pack, but my guests devoured the whole bundle before midnight.
I’m not alone in my love for Mercado Famous’ delicious wares, either. “I found Mercado through Instagram and saw that their meats were organic, so I thought I’d give em a try!” one reviewer wrote. “This bundle was delicious, I served it as an appetizer for a dinner party my husband and I had for his close friends. All the men enjoyed it and I was happy knowing it was tasty and organic.” So, if you’re looking to bring the flavors of a Spanish tapas restaurant into your kitchen — no matter how far you are from Spain — this is the answer.
Buy: The Grazer, $49.95 (normally $54.80)