Dry-aged to perfection

What makes the new range of dry-aged beef at Intermarché Carvoeiro so special?

Why bother maturing meat? Well, the difference isn’t just in the appearance of the piece of beef that you’ll see in the butcher’s window, it’s more about the taste and the tenderness. When you buy a piece of meat, it has taken some time to become edible – at least seven days for red meat. This is the minimum time for the enzymes present in the piece of meat to begin to act, to break the muscle fibres and weaken the collagen in a way that will be more digestible. The beef goes through a series of natural processes that transform enzymes, create proteins and turn the fat into an inosinic acid which is the precursor of the fifth flavour, known as umami, the taste that translates as “delicious” by the Japanese.

International retail group Les Mousquetaires, the parent company of Intermaché, has been affiliate partners with Jean Rozé Butchers since 2001, and the French “king of meat” have devised their very own patented technique to deliver this succulent and intensely flavourful beef using a Himalayan salt process.

Boasting high-performance equipment, SVA Jean Rozé controls each stage of meat processing: from slaughter to the finished product.

We spoke with the store manager at Intermarché in Carvoeiro, who now stock this fabulous meat: “In layman’s terms, it’s basically salted beef with Himalayan salt,” he sums up. “It’s important to mention that the meat goes through a rigorous selection, that combined with the unique maturation method in France develops the tenderness of the flesh.”

According to the manager, the maturation method must meet very complete fat and colour index specifications for the selected meat. “This method consists of exposing the meat to Himalayan salt stones, but never putting it into direct contact with the beef. The salt is ‘agitated’ through the air, and its minerals settle on the flesh,” he explains. “This process is what tenderises the beef.”

There are two defining phases to the method. The first involves a 15-day maturation in the presence of the Himalayan salt stones. This is followed by another 15 days, where the product is matured in a vacuum. “As in winemaking, the maturation process can only be applied to exceptional meats, such as Charolais, Limousin or Aubrac meat”, all of which are recognised for their taste and quality.

You will find an excellent selection of the unique, matured beef at the butcher’s counter in Intermarché Carvoeiro and, thankfully, it’s a fraction of the price of some others in the market, which fits with their ethos of “offering the best quality for the best price”.