Bacon aside, much of the best cured meat hails from Europe. But trade restrictions have left Americans in the dark about number of regional hidden gems, like cecina, a dry-cured smoked beef from northwest Spain that dates back to the Roman era. Spanish specialty food store La Tienda is changing that, having partnered with New Jersey-based gourmet meat company Braaitime (a purveyor of biltong, a South African jerky) to bring cecina to the U.S. for the first time in nearly two decades.
Made in accordance with long-held traditions of Léon, La Tienda‘s cecina is made from cured, salted, hormone-free cuts of beef that have been cold smoked with oak wood. The beef, deep red in color and high in protein, is sliced thin just before being shipped out. Akin to jamón, cecina is best served room temperature, drizzled with olive oil and paired with a glass of red wine.