Bugin, the Piedmontese gin born to pair with meat
Bugin, the Piedmontese gin born to pair with meat
Mauro Schiavo has selected 9 Piedmontese botanicals and created a gin to cook meat and cured meats: find out all about the Bugin.
It could only be born in Piedmont, the kingdom of quality meat, an Italian gin dedicated specifically to this world. And to create it could only be a person like Mauro Schiavo with decades of experience behind him and as a barmanA distillate with specific characteristics to accompany meatthan as a butcher and manager of the family butcher’s shop. Thus was born the Bugin, the Piedmontese gin specially designed to accompany and prepare meat and cured meats . The name of the distillate, in fact, derives from bogin , which in Piedmontese means veal . After years of study, Schiavo has selected local plants as botanicals, harvested on the family farm or in the Alps. Here then, in addition to juniper, we find yarrow, artemisia, angelica, arquebuse, genepì, tansy, thyme and zedoaria. The botanicals are distilled individually by heat in a bain marie alembic still. After a month of rest in stainless steel tanks, the mixture is filtered and finally bottled, ready to be served at the table or as an ingredient. But how? How can you fully enjoy Bugin? We got it told directly by its creator .
How did the idea of Bugin come about?
From the desire to create a different experience for our Tasta butcher-laboratory where we let you taste how, in our opinion, the meat should be cooked. We therefore started from the aromas that we thought could be used to give an edge to the combinations with cured meats and meat and we decided to use local herbs usually not present in the kitchen, apart from thyme, which could guarantee a more aromatic profile. complex to our ingredients. And then they are all aromatic notes that wines are unable to give.
So gin as an accompaniment to our dishes?
Not only that, indeed especially within the preparations. For example, we use it in the processing of our cured meats. The recipe is still that of my grandfather, we only went to change the alcoholic part. In fact, in tradition, both in cooked and raw salami there has always been an alcoholic ingredient which could be red wine, marsala or vermouth. We, on the other hand, use gin which guarantees different notes and we have also introduced it in the processing of cured meats such as coppa, loin or lard.
And what about the meat? Can we use the bugin to cook it?
Certain. In our opinion it is very good in marinades, to blend a cooking, for example, a roast, or sprayed on the knife beat. The botanicals we have selected give that aromatic part that would otherwise be missing and create a different experience.
The combination of gin, especially gin and tonic, with food is nothing new. But using it as an ingredient is original. Did something like this already exist?
In Northern Europe gin is used in cooking, especially with game. In Italy it is not yet so frequent. There are chefs, even well-known ones, who do it but there was not yet a gin created especially for the kitchen. At the beginning, we too used gins from other manufacturers and selected the products based on the chosen botanicals so that they matched the other ingredients of our recipe. From there we thought of creating a gin that would pair well with meat, regardless of its seasoning.
What were the other products missing then?
In reality, something was not missing because each gin is a world of its own. In our opinion, the problem was that they weren’t born for that purpose. Usually the gin was created to be paired with a tonic or a cocktail, while the Bugin was designed more for use in the kitchen or in the laboratory. Then it also lends itself well to a gin and tonic, as some of our customers do who do not cook, but our goal was another.
Speaking of gin and tonic, given your experience as a bartender, how can you prepare it with Bugin?
I always recommend a neutral, classic tonic, so as not to enhance or dampen the scents of gin or a tonic with thyme and / or rosemary that we think goes well and does not risk losing the sense of the product.
Have you tried other combinations besides meat?
We are working to insert Bugin inside a blue cheese but we are still selecting the artisan who would produce it. We would like to propose a platter of cold cuts and cheeses with gin and create a complete experience.
And what’s your favorite way to use Bugin?
What I like most is as a base for gin and tonic in combination with cured meats. In the kitchen, on the other hand, I would recommend using it in the marinade, for example of a tagliata. Let it rest for 12 hours in gin, salt, pepper and herbs and then cook.
From your experience as a bartender and as a producer, how can you explain this flourishing of Italian gins?
Gin, in my opinion, is one of those spirits that can be created at will. Unlike a rum or a whiskey, which have certain characteristics, a gin can be distilled just about anywhere. You go to choose the characteristics of any part of the territory or of the final result you want to obtain and you can create the recipe. In Italy we understood that there is a lot to say about the territory, we have an enormous variety of botanicals, from citrus fruits to aromatic herbs to berries and many small businesses have been born to enhance what our country has to offer.