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  • Writer's picturePalate Partners

Beyond Salami Roses: Charcuterie is the art of sharing something special

Everywhere you look these days, from real life brunches and bridal showers to social media memes and video how-tos, there’s charcuterie.

Jam-packed trays and overflowing boards of beautifully-arranged meats flanked by armies of origami cut cheeses and all manner of colorful spreads, dried fruits, nuts and sundry other bits.

But it was a Facebook photo of Halloween ‘charspookerie’ with rounds of salami draped over a plastic skeleton that finally sent Deb over the edge. “Why are people playing with their food?” the CIA-trained chef exclaimed.

The requisite “talk” with the marketing person writing this blog post calmed her down a bit – musing about fun events where friends get together, hang out and make things, etc. led to a broader discussion of just how long this sodium-laden trend is going to last and what people ultimately want to learn about making charcuterie. We decided it’s not all just salami roses and star-shaped cheese.

After nearly three long pandemic years of limited social and family gatherings, people are finally getting back to entertaining, even if it’s just small dinner parties at home or a community class with friends. There’s a desire to make the most of our time together and make things special and unique. We always want to learn, taste, display or sip something new and delicious.

For an upcoming private event at the Montour Country Club, Deb was asked to teach members the art of making charcuterie. She was delighted to discover that one of our customers had saved detailed notes from an online charcuterie and wine pairing class that she taught back in 2020 during the height of the pandemic.

· “Use interesting and quality ingredients.”

· “Consider the effect of spicy or salty meats and creaminess of cheeses on the wine.”

· “Use bite-sized pieces, thin slices, and rolls.

· “Have proper cheese knives.”

· “Decorate with fresh herbs.”

· “Serve with bread and crackers.”

It’s really not that complicated, Deb likes to say. If you’re stuck, just throw all the ingredients in the air and see where they land. Ok, maybe don’t do that. Quality meats and cheeses from local shops are expensive!

But, there’s no need to grease up a perfectly good wine glass trying to shape your salami into a rose when a simple roll and tuck will do. Simply experiment with a variety of items and flavors, both sweet and savory, pull out that cherished serving platter or board you haven’t used in a while, use your own creativity, and don’t forget the wine!

At the end of the night, your guests will remember more the time you spent together than the shape of the cheese.

Check out our online calendar for upcoming classes where you can learn more expert food and wine pairing tips, or schedule your private event with owner Deb Mortillaro.

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