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Walnut Creek Magazine

Charcuterie 101

Sep 05, 2021 01:40PM ● By Pam Kessler

Get Cheesy

Select four to six types of cheese and vary colors, textures, flavors, and shapes. Consider a fresh goat cheese, a pungent rind cheese, a wedge of alpine cow, a nutty pecorino and a streaky blue.

Use the farmers' market for decorating inspiration. Arrange the cheese on large leafy greens, such as chard or collard greens, and decorate with curly leaves like purple kale and frisee. Weave in sprigs of rosemary around the cheese.

Sweeten up the board with colorful  nibbles such as fresh grapes, pomegranate arils, and persimmon wedges. Or use dried cranberries, figs, and apricots. Serve with a jar of jam or chutney. Add a little glass jar or bowl of honey for drizzling.

Savory Solutions

A little meat can go a long way. Plan on 4 to 6 oz per person or 2-3 with cheese.

Provide a variety, aiming for a range from mile to piquant, or spiced and smoked artisanal charcuterie. Fan out precut slices of salumi and other dry-cured meat. Provide a few whole hard sausages for interactive cutting. Add a wedge of pate and terrine of creamy truffle mousse.

Enhance the array with rustic bowls of stone-ground or Dijon mustard. Briny pickles or mixed olives.

Garnish with simple sprigs of flowering thyme and rosemary. Sprinkle with a few nuts, such as shelled pistachios, for earthy color.

Keep the bread simple and country style. Cut up a loaf of levain bread or a rustic baguette.


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