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Sweetbreads @ Biltmore


Wednesday, July 10, 2013
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For the uninitated, eating organ meats can be, well, kinda gross, as offal tends to pack a bit of unfamiliar grit and goo as well as a distinctively gamey flavor. After trying eyeballs, hearts, testicles, livers, and other since-forgotten body parts, I’d say that sweetbreads are the easiest foray into this increasingly popular culinary genre — so long as you stick to the thyroid-based version, as my experience with barbecued pancreas-as-sweetbreads was more of a chewy mouthful than I’d recommend to anyone.

Nowhere is the path to offal ecstasy paved more scumptiously than at the Four Seasons Biltmore, where Bella Vista’s chef Alessandro Cartumini whips up a magical blend of thyroid, trumpet mushrooms, madeira, and sage under the appetizer named “Roasted Sweetbreads.” Slightly caramelized and richly dressed, his version could pass as a savory dessert, but works rather well with some Sta. Rita Hills pinot noir as well, particularly the bottle of Babcock Winery’s “Appellation’s Edge” I had with me during a recent visit.

I doubt that eating organs will ever be for everyone, but if Cartumini was in charge, I’m pretty sure more people would be lining up to chow down on animals’ deepest insides.

1260 Channel Drive; 805-969-2261; fourseasons.com/santabarbara

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Sorry, Matt. It's really the Thymus gland.

rzahuta (anonymous profile)
July 10, 2013 at 2:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You'd have to be drunk to eat all that gore.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 10, 2013 at 3:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I checked with the Biltmore before writing the article and they said it was thyroid. Although thymus can also be classified as sweetbreads. Perhaps we are all confused from too much organ.

Matt (Matt Kettmann)
July 10, 2013 at 6:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

They are wrong. No confusion. It's Thymus.

rzahuta (anonymous profile)
July 11, 2013 at 9:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

http://whatscookingamerica.net/Q-A/Sw...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweetbread

http://www.cookthink.com/reference/18...

There’s more, but they all are Thymus.

Ask a butcher, not an ignorant chef. Fact checking, helps, too.

rzahuta (anonymous profile)
July 11, 2013 at 10:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I call the Biltmore with all my science questions.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 11, 2013 at 10:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I just checked my CA driver's license and sure enough:

SWEETBREADS DONOR

Damn state PC police . . .

Ken V: Hahahahaha! Good one!

Draxor (anonymous profile)
July 14, 2013 at 8:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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