The topic of a homemade Charcuterie Board has been bouncing around our house for about a week. Why? Because have you ever had one? They’re delightful. Various cured and spiced meats sliced thin, paired with cheeses of varying textures (hard AND soft??), laid next to pickled vegetables and strong sauces. All these friends are preparing for their journey to the mouth, hopping on a fresh crusty baguette to serve as their vessel for deliciousness. The downside of making one at home? The amount of cheese you inevitably end up consuming. At a restaurant at least it’s pre-portioned, but at home…ooooh at home, your ravenous instincts are the only things keeping you from “I just ate $45 worth of product”.
So anyhoo, we deiced to embark on this task to cap off one of the greatest weekends of 2013 to date (I said the words “…and so began the craziest summer of my life” at least 4 times that weekend. I was in the moment). So how do we complete a task such as this? You head to Plum Market and get ready for expert advise and quality product.
The general run-down:
- Proscuitto (thinly sliced, almost to a melt-on-your-tongue thickness)
- Black Pepper Hard Salami (rich and salty with the perfect bite from the black pepper)
- Zingerman’s The City Goat Cheese (the texture is a bit lighter than other Goat cheeses, and has a deliciously sweet tang to it. And it’s rolled in fresh Tarragon, which I didn’t think I’d like, but yowza it was the perfect accompaniment to this creamy gem)
- Vella Golden Bear Dry Jack Cheese (described as “The Grandfather of Jack Cheese” with a texture similar to Parmesan, this hard Jack has amazing nutty and earthy flavors. The rind is also a mixture of cocoa powder, oil, and black pepper, so you can eat it!)
- Olives (all different types, pit-in of course. My favorite ended up being the bright green kinds)
- Oil-Packed Artichoke Hearts (I could eat 2 lbs of these, no problem)
- Marinated Peppadew Peppers (the vinegar gives the perfect tang to balance out the natural sweetness of the cute little peppers)
- Lemon-Parsley Chickpeas (while these were good, they were more of a “let’s get some deli salads and have a picnic” item, not so much a “this complements my meats and cheeses on my Charcuterie board” item)
- Cornichons (small pickled Gherkins–Cornichon is actually the French word for “Gherkin”. I already had some from Trader Joe’s, they’re delicious and reasonably priced seeing as a jar of these can run you up toward $6)
- Pickled Garlic Cloves (yes, they were quite pungent)
- Orange-Fig Spread (this ended up being the runaway hit of the evening. The key to any good board–whether cheese or otherwise–is having a nice balance of flavors, hence the sweet counter-part. Everything went well with this spread: cheese, meat, even anything marinated or pickled)
- Whole Grain Mustard (a classic Charcuterie staple)
- Bell’s Oarsman (full disclosure: I used to hate this Berliner Weisbier. It’s not your average Wheat beer, it has sour notes that many people may not be accustomed to, but if you’ve got the palate for it, this session beer is a real delight)
- An Assortment of Crackers and Sliced Baguette
This shot is nice and blurry (too much Oarsman?) however it offers a better idea of the set up (the key is rolling up your Proscuitto for extra fanciness)
Needless to say, we all ate WAY too much, and sat awkwardly and uncomfortably on the couch trying to watch “World Wackiest Water Parks” (or something along those lines) to take our minds off the massive amounts of items of the pickled and dairy persuasion that were currently setting up camp inside of us. I was so full and tired that I blew off my normal Game of Thrones viewing party and opted to go to bed at 9:30pm. Would I do it all over again? 1000%.