What Is Charcuterie

You will notice a trend on menus these days and it’s called Charcuterie. Charcuterie is especially popular in farm to table restaurants where traditional foods are served. So, that begs the question: What the Heck is Charcuterie? And Why You Need it at Your Next Party!

OK, so everybody has heard of a charcuterie board. You’ve probably even snacked on one a time or two. But what does “charcuterie” actually mean? It’s more than a fancy schmancy party staple.

Charcuterie, the branch of cooking devoted to prepared meats, is the result of humans’ need to preserve meat before refrigeration was invented.

The word is derived from the somewhat disturbing-sounding French term “chair cuit,” which means “cooked flesh.”

Most charcuterie deals with prepared pork products like bacon, ham, and sausage.

Today, when we say “charcuterie,” we are most often referring to the acts of preparing, assembling, and artfully arranging cured meats with cheeses, fruits, vegetables, and crackers or breads.


LET’S TALK CHARCUTERIE!

Charcuterie is the culinary art of preparing meat products such as bacon, salami, ham, sausage, terrines, galantines, ballotines, pâtés, and confit. Someone that prepares charcuterie is called a Charcutier. So why is charcuterie suddenly all the rage?

WELL AS THE SAYING GOES “EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN”.

Like many traditional foods that are making a comeback, charcuterie is a culinary art developed from necessity; it is the way meats were preserved long before the days of refrigeration. And just like pickles, fermented vegetables, home drafted beer, broth and kombucha, charcuterie has been revived and brought front and center by the traditional food movement. And in my humble opinion front and center is exactly where it deserves to be.

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU ORDER CHARCUTERIE AT A RESTAURANT:

Generally when served in a restaurant charcuterie is presented as an appetizer on a board alongside artisan cheese and nuts.

HOW TO MAKE IT YOUR OWN FOR A PARTY:

The fabulous thing about serving charcuterie at your own party is that there are no rules! You can keep it as simple as you like (just the cured meats maybe?) or dress it up with fresh or dried fruits, a variety of artisan breads and crackers, olives, spreads like honey, preserves or jams! You can also keep it budget friendly by setting out a small plate or go all out with a huge platter!

CHARCUTERIE IS PERFECT FOR THE HOLIDAYS:

Putting together a charcuterie board is a snap which is why it is perfect for holiday parties. Just visit the specialty department in your grocery store and pick and choose what looks amazing and then set it on a board! Honestly when something is this easy and delicious why would you make anything else? That said, if you aren’t sure you can arrange a platter as esthetically pleasing as mine I have some tips for you! Click—> How To Make a Holiday Charcuterie Platter!

MAKE IT A MEAL!

Charcuterie doesn’t have to be relegated to the appetizer category. Every time I order charcuterie at a restaurant I would say to my husband “If this just came with a salad it would be the perfect easy meal. So voila! I came up with my own Salad and Charcuterie Board (<— click!) for an easy, delicious, filling meal when I don’t want to cook!

How to Prepare a Charcuterie Board

A charcuterie board is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. However, if you want to become an expert Charcutier, there are a few things you always need:ADVERTISING

Meats

Meat is the star of the show, so don’t skimp on cold cuts. The world is your oyster, but some common charcuterie meats are:

  • prosciutto
  • cured sausage
  • capicola
  • salami
  • pepperoni
  • jamón Serrano

Cheeses

The perfect charcuterie board has pre-sliced and spreadable cheeses. Head to your local Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods for expert advice. A few of our favorites are:

  • Gouda
  • Gruyère
  • sharp Cheddar
  • Brie
  • burrata
  • Camembert
  • Roquefort

Accoutrements

Bread, crackers, or something else to complement the meat and cheese is non-negotiable. You also need to include fruits, vegetables, or other options for your vegetarian and vegan friends. Common charcuterie accoutrements (besides crackers or bread!) include:

  • grapes
  • olives
  • hummus
  • jam or jelly
  • honey
  • nuts

About Me

From a very you age food has been part of everyday life. Even today I try to discover new ingredients, tastes and ways of cooking.

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