Charcuterie — from chair “meat” and cuit “cooked” — is a division of cooking that is dedicated to the preparation of meat products ranging from cured to smoked meats such as bacon, ham, and sausages to even pâtés, terrines, and confit. All primarily from pork. The charcuterie board has been around since the first century AD, with the French having some influence in the 15th century. Ever since, charcuterie boards have taken on many adaptations and additions to what you may have on a board, while maintaining its traditional roots. Charcuterie boards can also be accompanied by fresh local cheese’s, variety of pickles, and spreads to please the taste buds. Some fresh brief history lesson for the folks back home.
Food Lover’s Companion — “it refers to the products, particularly (but not limited to) pork specialties such as pâtés, rillettes, galantines, crépinettes, etc., which are made and sold in a delicatessen-style shop, also called a charcuterie.“
Charcuterie boards have been notorious for go-to’s meal starters. From my experience, it has been a great appetizer, always pairing it with a glass of wine, such as an Erath “Estate” Pinot Noir (Oregon) $25. You begin your meal experience by feasting on local cured/smoked meats with aged to ripened cheeses, with some toast on the side and spreads like chutney or jams. Endless flavour profile combinations can be made, and that’s the start of a good night.
Building your own Charcuterie Board & Wine Pairing
This is the board that I’ve set up for Thanksgiving dinner. You can have a board all entirely of meat, or cheese vice-versa but I’m a firm believer of having equal love to both on a board. You can use any flat wooden boards for your base, or even a simple wooden cutting board would do. You always want to make the board look full, and if you want, add your own finesse by floring the meats or spiraling the cheese or even just stacking them close to each other utilizing as much board space that you got.
|Camembert Brie||Grainy Mustard|
|Castello Danablu||Cranberry Relish|
|Selva Vecchio||Hot Pepper Spread|
Clearly, my board is infested with cheese and spreads as well as olives and pickles. You can keep this more balanced by adding a terrine or smoked sausages, or even as simple as keeping it more simple and having less cheese and companions on. We had an abundance of cheese’s and thought, why not?
One thing to keep in mind when your having foods like charcuterie is that it can range in profiles from salt, fat, savory spices to textures that can be silky and moist to really, really dry and intense. You’re going to need a beverage that can help cleanse your palate.
As wine expert Joshua Wesson explains when asked whats his take on wines with charcuterie (which you read the full story here):
“In fact, the default setting if you were to spend a couple of hours Googling that question would be medium- to full-bodied reds, which are exactly the wrong kinds of wine. They’re wrong because when you have a lot of alcohol and a lot of structure in a red wine and then you start tasting foods which are salty, the salt can exaggerate the alcohol and blow the wine up right on your palate.”
Joshua Wesson suggests that wines that; can be chilled, are low in alcohol and high in acid, are a little bit sweet, and have a few bubbles in them — are recommended. This sounds a lot like white and rosé, fizzy rather than still and certainly low in alcohol rather than high. The red that I mentioned earlier in this post is a good red for charcuterie because it was made in lighter style – modest in alcohol – not a lot of tannin and can be chilled slightly. Especially the pinot noir since it comes from cool climates.
Wesson’s wine picks for charcuterie:
- Canella Prosecco DOC NV (Italy) $17
- Terras Gauda Albariño 2012 (Spain) $16
- Saint Urbans-Hof Wiltinger “Alte Reben/Fein Herbe” Kabinett Riesling 2011 (Germany) $22
- Enrique Foster Malbec Rosé 2012 (Argentina) $10
- Trenel “Cote de Brouilly” Cru Beaujolais 2011 (France) $16
- Erath “Estate” Pinot Noir 2010 (Oregon) $19