Italians take eating and drinking very seriously and no more so than Stefano Artosin, Executive Chef of Anantara Layan Phuket Resort and Nicola Pandolfo Testino, Chef de Cuisine at Age. For both, eating and drinking isn’t merely their job, or a pleasurable pastime, it is ingrained in every part of their daily routine. From their first espresso and chocolate croissant in the morning, they are consumed by food and the intricacies of dining – when you dine and with whom you share meals is all part of the obsession.
“For me food is an expression of my Italian roots, my culture – much the same as it is for Thai people. Food is in everything we do – how we socialise, celebrate, love and nurture,” says Stefano. “Being able to source sustainably produced produce is a particular passion. Right now, I am infatuated with Ibérico pata negra ham. And not just any Ibérico ham. I am talking about Joselito which is widely acknowledged as the best Iberian ham in the world.”
Joselito’s story began in 1868 in Guijuelo , in the province of Salamanca, one of the main Spanish producing areas for Iberian hams. Joselito ham is produced from semi-wild pigs of the Ibérico breed which feast only on acorns and grass. They’re fat, black, with very little hair, have slender legs, long snouts and black hooves which is where the term pata negra (black leg) comes from.
The curing process dates back centuries – curing and salting ham is an ancient method used to preserve fresh meat. Joselito use salt sparingly in the aging process, which results in some hams not surviving the 36-month ageing process, which makes them infinitely more valuable.
Descriptions of good ham vary but a great Pata Negra is dark red in colour and is well marbled. It is served as paper thin slivers that melt on the palate.
“My favourite time of day is aperitivo time – the golden twilight hours between work and dinner,” says Stefano. “Typical aperitivo fare includes olives, cold cuts, cheeses and bread. Usually accompanied by a good glass of wine or a Campari spritz. This month we are inviting guests to join us for a fun aperitivo at AGE – An Aperitivo with Joselito.”
The special tasting menu will include Jamon Joselito, Chorizo Vela – a mixture made exclusively by Joselito seasoned with sea salt, paprika, garlic and sugar, Lomo (cured pork tenderloin), Saucisson dry-cured sausages and Coppa – a savoury cured sausage, very popular in Italy, and made from selected aged neck and shoulder of pigs. Selected antipasti will include Spanish pickled vegetables, dry aged wagyu beef brisket – grilled over coals and served with polenta, Arroz y pescado (Ibiza stye paella) and a delicious dessert basket.
Come and join Nicola and Stefano in their Jamón Ibérico obsession.
Where: Age Restaurant Terrace
When: Friday 11 November, 6:00–9:00pm
For reservations and more information, please contact +66 317200 or email