In the end, it wasn't even close. Despite being up against butchers, cheese shops, and delis from across the nation (as well as some attempted vote-manipulation), local pork purveyors Hillcrest Artisan Meats have won the popular vote in the La Quercia Ham Independence Contest. You all may have had La Quercia's products as part of H.A.M.'s popular Brick-Pressed Prosciutto sandwich, and I can state from personal experience that it makes a good wrap for asparagus, pairs well with melon, and also makes for some fine eating while driving down the road when you can't resist ripping into the package just recently purchased and intended for later.
So what was at stake beyond bragging rights and telling the world that we've got the best charcuterie shop in these United States? Well, the grand prize is a leg of Acorn Berkshire Prosciutto, a type of cured meat raised and processed with love and care by some of the best producers in the business. The folks at Hillcrest Meats have promised some sharing of this delectable pork at some future date, so I won't say that there weren't ulterior motives for many of the votes that propelled them to porcine victory — but in the end, it's a testament to the popularity of this local, family-owned business that gave them a win by an almost 4-1 margin over second place.
So happy Independence Day from all of us here at Eat Arkansas; we hope that you and yours have a safe and pleasant day in the sun. The River Market is bustling with activity in anticipation of tonight's fireworks, and while the H.A.M. gang are taking the day off today, they'll be around in the days to come — so take some time out of your day, grab a sandwich or a couple of pork chops and congratulate them on a hard-fought victory for carnivorous supremacy. Brandon Brown has single-handedly elevated Little Rock's cuisine, and with this victory, we've shown the country that we know pig even beyond our beloved Razorbacks.
Hillcrest Artisan Meats is located at 2807 Kavanaugh as well as in the dead center of our hearts. They've got La Quercia prosciutto in the case most days, so if you want to see what all the fuss is about, have them cut you a slice or 20 — you won't regret it.