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Jun 22 / scott.campbell

Lyon, Part Deux

My colleague Brady and I are back in France this week to hold a water activity seminar and do customer visits. Laurent, who runs the Europe Office for METER, is also with us. Last time, we saw the inner workings of the fine food market called “Halle de Lyon”. This time we went to Carrefour, which for the French is a little like dropping from Le Bec Fin to Wal-mart. However, you’re unlikely to find a meat counter like this at a Walmart supercenter:

They sported a nice selection of product, including regional and international fare. We picked four products, all of which had been pre-cut: a chorizo-like product, some cured pork tenderloin, “viande des grison deme” (a dried block of beef), and Coppa, just to compare to ones we’ve measured before. The most unique to me was the beef block, which had a water activity of 0.902:

This tasted very nice, and at about $30/lb, it should. It had a mellow flavor with a pleasant savory aftertaste. If beef jerky were more like this, I’d probably buy it more, but not at $30/bag. Best enjoyed in moderation. We measured the dried tenderloin next.

Very translucent, without almost any fat. This was also quite flavorful, if somewhat simple. It was also cheaper. Its water activity came in at 0.908. The chorizo looked to be the wettest of the group, although we were assured it was a dry-cured product. To me, it had the feel of a cold-cut:

It’s water activity was 0.921, so it was actually higher, although not nearly as high as a cold cut would be. I must be unaccustomed to the paprika spiced flavor of some chorizo, which tastes more like rubber to me. This was the case with this product, as well as the smoked paprika product we got from Salumi a while ago. Lastly, for comparison, the Coppa, which had a Water activity of 0.911:

That’s all that was left after we ate most of the package prior to testing. This tasted just like most of the Coppa I’ve had before, and paired nicely with a crunchy Carrefour baguette. Needless to say, it’d be nice to have a meat counter like this less than 5000 miles away from where we live.

Download The Food Manufacturer’s Complete Guide to Water Activity—>

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