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New convivium tastes turkeys

Jan. 10, 2008

by Cerelle Centeno

A group of foodies in Columbia, SC is in the process of creating a Slow Food convivium. In an effort to spread the word and to begin hosting events, we held a turkey tasting on December 16. The mission of the tasting, presented to us by Emile DeFelice, owner of Caw Caw Creek Farm and Slow Food USA Ark of Taste committee member, was to evaluate a standard turkey compared to a heritage breed. Emile suggested we all bring a side dish made with local ingredients and the convivium-in-the-making’s first event was born.

It’s an interesting challenge having to evaluate the flavor of a turkey. To submit a heritage breed – in our case, the White Holland – onto the Ark of Taste we needed to report on aroma, appearance and flavor of skin and the flavor of both the dark and white meat. We compared all of these aspects to that of a “standard bird.” Both birds were cooked with the same brining process. Here’s a look at the two birds photographed by our Treasurer, Jennifer Sipala – the standard is the obviously plump one on the left and the heritage bird is the svelte one on the right.

What struck us was how we’re so used to the taste of the standard bird that the “earthy” taste of the heritage breed was surprising. Furthermore, we were disappointed to learn that much of the “plumpness” of a standard bird is really just water. And you can see for yourself that the heritage bird looks more like a bird.

As for the local sides, we enjoyed a couple of turnip dishes, broccoli and of course, collard greens and Carolina gold rice (actually, rice pudding made with Carolina gold – delish!). It was a wonderful afternoon spent discussing turkey, the Columbia convivium and our favorite local restaurants. We encourage anyone living in or around the Columbia area to join us for future Slow Food functions!

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