It's perhaps best described as "cecina", a form of Spanish cured meats utilizing Mediterranean sea salt, and then air dried. It has the look and aroma of biltong, a South African variety of cured meat.
Tapa Doble currently offers this Garlic & Rosemary variety, with a Picante variety coming soon.
Beef, salt, vinegar, sugar, garlic, coriander, rosemary, black pepper & other spices, E202, E252.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a light vinegar flavor and a light saltiness. Some of the coriander is faintly noticeable.
The chewing flavor starts with some of the natural meat flavors mixed in with the vinegar and coriander. It tastes very much like classic biltong.
As for being marketed as a "Garlic & Rosemary" flavor, I'm not picking up much of those flavors. I can get a light seasoning from the chewing, and maybe a touch of garlic, but I don't taste anything resembling rosemary. However, I can pick up a light flavor of rosemary when gathering together the bits of seasoning in the bottom of the bag, I just can't taste it on the pieces of meat.
Otherwise, the flavors that define this meat snack is largely the classic biltong flavor, with that, raw, air-dried, natural meat flavor, the light vinegar and coriander, and a moderate saltiness. But it's altered with a touch of black pepper, giving it bit of a peppery pungency.
Here and there I can pick up light bursts of black pepper.
And for being biltong, it's pretty good, and I find it quite addicting. It seems to have a little more of the natural meat flavors than other biltong brands I've tried, and little less of the vinegar and coriander.
It's quite mild and tolerable for sensitive palates.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced into small, bite sized pieces.
This is semi-moist with a dry surface feel. These pieces are very soft and tender to the touch. Chewing is quite easy.
The chewing texture starts out feeling soft and tender, and quickly chews down into a soft mass. It's like eating thin slices salami but without the oily touch and without all the fat.
In terms of fat, I do see some bits and chunks on some pieces, and they seem to add a pasty coating in my mouth. I also found some scant, but large, unchewable pieces. Otherwise, it's mostly meaty, and not too stringy.
As for clean eating, it's quite clean, leaving no residue on my finger tips. There's a good deal of tiny meat fragments and coriander seasonings that tend to fall out of my fingers as I pick up to eat.
Tapa Doble sells this Garlic & Rosemary variety from its website at a price of €20.00 (appox $25.00) for 10 packages, as part of their 8+2 deal. Each package contains 40g (approx 1.4 oz). Shipping would approximate to $12.00. That works out to a price of $2.64 per ounce.
For general biltong snacking purposes, at the $2.64 per ounce price, it's a good value. I'm getting a good overall biltong flavor, decent meat consistency and good chewing texture. Compared to other brands of biltong I've reviewed and seen on the market, it's very competitively priced and offers a lot of snackability.
This biltong (or cecina) from Tapa Doble offers a great tasting, classic flavor of biltong in the true South African tradition, but adds a bit of black pepper, just barely enough to notice, breathing a little extra life into a tried and true recipe.
Even though its marketed as "Garlic & Rosemary", I didn't really get much of those flavors, maybe just a hint of garlic, but none of the rosemary. It's because of that this didn't reach my top rating.
Otherwise, as a biltong it's quite good. I especially like how the aged meat flavor is more defined in this than other brands of biltong I've reviewed, and I do like the light addition of black pepper.
My recommended beer pairing, go with a German-style bock or märzen, the darker malt will compliment the natural meat flavors.
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