Welcome back to my little corner of the paper always bursting with flavor. I am so glad you decided to join me today, and you will be too!
Today I am bringing you something a little different that doesn’t consist of a recipe but allows you to tap into your creative side. Today I bring you a charcuterie!
Charcuterie used to be something that I just wasn’t sure about. What do I put on it? What items go together? What items don’t go together? And my list of questions went on and on.
So, I reached out to Tamera Pence, owner of Bella The Corner Gourmet in downtown Lewisburg, for some guidance on assembling a charcuterie. Before we jump right in just know this is supposed to be fun so be like me and put your reservations aside and come with an open mind.
When I met with Tamera and Carol this past weekend I wasn’t sure what to expect, but these ladies quickly put my mind at ease as they started gathering the items for a charcuterie. What started as a pile of fresh and dried fruit, a couple of triangles of cheese and a package of a beautifully soft salami was quickly transformed into a beautiful plate.
For this board they used:
• Manchengo cheese
• Fromager D’Affinois cheese
• Dried apricots
• Dry Salami
• A small jar of local honey
• A small jar of strawberry chipotle fig jam
• Artisan crackers
• Raincoast crisps made from fig and olives
• Chocolate bites
As Tamera and Carol put this together, we talked about how easy it is to change up what you put on a charcuterie depending on budget, how many you are trying to feed and whether or not the charcuterie is the main dish or an appetizer. The budget for this particular charcuterie was $50 and it absolutely didn’t disappoint.
Manchengo is a zesty cheese that is bold and pairs really well with the jam, honey and fresh fruit. The fromager d’affinois was so smooth and silky, and I really enjoyed it on the Raincoast crisps with a drizzle of honey on top and a bite of strawberry. The fresh fruit and dry fruit really add a pop of color and flavor to this board and paired well with not only the cheese but also the salami!
When I talked to Clay and Annie at The Village Wine Shop about wine pairing recommendations and they came up with some really good options.
“This is a very seasonal selection, and it depends on how folks are eating it. If it’s summer and this is an appetizer before a bigger main entree, then it should be a nice crisp white like an Albarino, Vermentino or a fun blend.
If it’s wintertime and this is their dinner a well-rounded Pinot Noir would do it justice. Based on this, we would go for an Albarino from Uruguay. Bouza makes a great one with a fun balance of minerality and fruit and enough body to stand up to the cheese. If we go red, a fun Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley would work. Something fruit-forward but with some body to stand up to the fattiness of the meat. Ken Wright makes quite a few great ones without breaking the bank.”
No matter how you build your charcuterie make it your own. In the past, I have attempted a charcuterie using a couple of different kinds of salami, nuts, green and black olives, a hard and soft cheese, honey and usually some kind of berries.
The charcuterie pictured made for a great dinner that was light and refreshing and fed three people. You can also pick up a charcuterie To Go from Bella The Corner Gourmet very soon, so keep an eye on her fridge.
No matter what you do to build a charcuterie make it your own. Use items you like and consider stepping outside the box with fun things like pickles or an olive tapenade but no matter what you do have fun doing it.
As always, I am sending love from my kitchen to yours!