When I get asked the question that is inevitably posed to food people—What would you want your last meal to be?—I usually say, “Whatever it is, I hope I don’t know it’s my last meal, so I can relax and enjoy it.” While I’m not particularly interested in outlining a fantasy menu, there are some foods—both raw materials and finished products—that I genuinely crave and hope to be able to enjoy many more times before I join that big dinner party in the sky. Here, in no particular order, are seven of them from around the world.
Torta del Casar: Sheep’s-milk cheese from Extremadura, Spain: salty, opulent, bitterish. When it’s ripe, scoop it up with a spoon. tienda.com.
Ston Oysters: The last place you’d expect to find oysters—a seaside village near Dubrovnik, Croatia. But they’re extraordinary: salty, crisp and clean. Get them at Konoba Bakus. At B.A. Radovani 5; bakus.hr.
Hatch Chiles: Mildly spicy but extremely flavorful chiles from New Mexico. Fry them, pickle them, love them. $ hatch-chile.com.
Golden Russet Apples: English in origin and rather ugly (squat, with green to brown skin) but tart, sweet and luscious. Find them at Meadowbrook Orchards, in Massachusetts. $ meadowbrookorchards.com.
Sicilian Spleen Sandwich: This funky, spongy but crisp-edged fried spleen with caciocavallo cheese on a soft roll is strangely delicious at Pani cà Meusa Porta Carbone in Palermo, Italy. $ At Via Cala 62; 39-091/323-433.
Pão de Queijo: Puffs of white cheese and manioc starch are ubiquitous in Brazil, but those at Pão de Queijo Haddock Lobo in São Paolo are sheer heaven. At Rua Haddock Lobo 1408; 55-11/3088-3087.
Omble Chevalier: Native European arctic char from the Alpine lakes that’s best cooked à la meunière. It’s delicate and sweet, as at L’Auberge du Père Bise in Talloires, France. At 303 Rte. du Port; perebise.com.
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