What is Charcuterie?
With the rising popularity and increasing visibility in restaurants around the country, people are asking, what exactly is charcuterie? The word itself comes from the French and literally means “pork butcher’s shop”.
This is in turn derived from “chair” meaning flesh and “cuit” meaning cooked. Charcuterie tends to refer to a particular style of prepared cured meat products such as bacon, sausages, terrines and pates.
The word “charcuterie” was used to refer exclusively to pork products originally, but the use of the term has now expanded to encompass other meats as well, including venison and more.
History and Evolution of Charcuterie
Charcuterie originated before the advent of refrigeration and was considered to be a way to preserve meat for a longer period of time. We no longer need to use these methods to preserve meat, but many people enjoy the intense flavours of cured meats and purchase high-quality charcuterie for precisely this reason.
The strong taste of the cured meats is a major selling point and is clearly a reason for the success being experienced currently by purveyors of charcuterie products across the UK. It is becoming more common at weddings to see sharing platters of charcuterie as starters for the wedding meal and there is no reason to suppose the popularity will diminish any time soon.
Is Charcuterie Considered Artisan Food?
Some of the charcuterie that is for sale is produced by artisans in very small batches and the meat is cured by them in traditional ways that have been handed down through generations of farmers and butchers. Farmhouse charcuterie is often made with pork that was farmed for this purpose and is frequently free-range and fed on high-quality diets. This infuses the meat with ever more succulent flavours.
What is Served on a Charcuterie Board?
High-quality cured charcuterie meats such as salami, prosciuttos, pepperoni and chorizo are often accompanied by artisan cheeses, olives, crackers, grapes and artisan breads. There are sometimes also side salads and garnishes, nuts and preserves. This really depends on the preferences of the person putting together the board. There is often hummus and aioli to go with the artisan bread and various other dips.
Charcuterie boards are only limited by your own imagination and you are free to add your own flourishes. Charcuterie boards are always a hit at house parties and are easy to make into an attractive display piece, to capture the attention and interest of guests. The vibrant colour combinations of the cured meats, the creamy artisan cheeses and leafy garnishes lend themselves to this very well.
The wide variety of different flavours, textures, colours and aromas of charcuterie boards means that there is always something new to captivate and tantalise the senses. For the true foodies in our midst, there are few better gifts than high-quality charcuterie products straight from the farmhouse. These days, charcuterie gift sets also come in letterbox-friendly versions so they can be delivered right on your doorstep, whether or not you’re home when they arrive.
mouth-watering to share?