Julio Llop, Executive Chef

By Kimberly Giles

How did your interest in Charcuterie begin?

When I was growing up in Argentina, every winter my family slaughtered two hogs and made everything from prosciutto, chorizo, boudin noir, boudin blanc, pancetta, etc. to head cheese. It was my favorite time of the year because the family and community would gather for the weekend for the event.

What regional ingredients do you utilize in your charcuterie?

We grind and season our own pork for our pork meatballs, we make Spanish Butifarra sausage from scratch using an authentic Catalan recipe from my grandfather. We make house-made chorizo to go with a new mussel entrée. We also serve a Texas Wild Boar salami. From time-to-time we offer a locally grown lamb entrée.

What is your optimal Charcuterie board presented with?

We prepare in house condiments for all of our boards (both cheese and meat), including an apple mostarda (particularly good with pork), tomato jam and garlic caramel. Garlic Caramel is particularly good with grilled beef and with an aged Gouda. Tomato Jam pairs best with tart goat cheeses. Finally quince paste is a perennial favorite with guests on our charuterie boards. All our boards come with house-marinated olives, cornichons and housemade crostini. No board would be complete without a thirst-quenching ice cold beer or a great glass of wine.

What community organization are you inspired by or involved with?

We participate in the annual Food Pantry “Empty Bowls Project,” the “PAWS” fund raiser for area animal shelters, the Friends of the Public Library’s annual fundraiser, the Pound House fundraiser, the Hill Country Conservancy fundraiser, and DSISD High School fund raising efforts. We live in and support our community. We also have ties to area wineries. We now proudly feature the wines of Hilmy Vineyards, Alexander Vineyards, Westcave Cellars and William Chris.