Winter Charcuterie Board: A Guide to Create One You'll Love
Written by: Bill Miner. Published: December 22, 2020
It's been snowing in Denver the past couple of days. That's not out of the ordinary for this time of the year, of course. But the phones at the deli have been ringing off the hook too. It's been busy lately. Then it hit me. People are preparing for the holidays!
It will be too late to order meat through our online store. Plus, the online store products are nearly sold out, but we're working hard to supply more. However, you can swing by our deli in Denver or use these ideas to find local products near you.
Here are some ideas and tips to make a homemade winter charcuterie board.
For a great holiday charcuterie board, I go big with the best meats available! It's the time of year when eating and drinking the best of everything is essential when gathering with friends and family at the holidays.
Black Truffle Salami: I recommend the large format, sliced paper-thin. Truffles in salami for the holiday season, what more could you want?
You can find ours at the retail store in Denver's Berkeley Neighborhood or at most Whole Foods stores in the Rocky Mountain Region. Our smaller retail size is also available at these locations and you can read about it here.
Culatello or 3 Year Aged Country Ham: As I said, you have to go for the best this time of year! Both of these premium hams are a great option for a slice of salty and savory meat.
Culatello is a premium cut that consists of thigh muscle from the pig's rear haunch. il porcellino salumi's Culatello is cured simply with salt and pepper and ages for a minimum of one year. It's absolutely the best part of the pig leg. Get it shaved paper-thin to enjoy its salty-musky flavor and velvety texture. Trust me; this is what you want to be snacking on with friends and family!
If you can find a great three year aged country ham, get into it! Country Ham is delicious and a great addition to a holiday charcuterie board. I’m not talking about the thick steak cut country ham often served for breakfast across the southeast. Three-year aged country ham is like the prosciutto of the south.
Generally, country hams are salt-cured and smoked. Sometimes the curing mixture includes sugar and spices too. The thing to note is that salt is heavily used and country hams are notoriously salty. A three-year aged country ham that is smoked will include subtle sweetness and smokiness that balances out the saltiness.
Country Pâté: Holidays are the best time to eat a country pâté in my eyes. We make ours with ground pork, pork liver, brandy, pistachios, dried cranberries, fresh herbs, and warm spices. I like to refer to it as really fancy meatloaf, but seasoned appropriately for the holidays. It's typically wrapped in something like prosciutto, culatello, or speck, which adds to its grandeur. Thick slices of country pâté are best enjoyed with whole grain mustard and Cornichon Pickles.
Again, this time of year, I want the best of the best! I usually go for some type of triple cream brie or soft and melty type Camembert Cheese. Harbison or Rush Creek are two of my favorites for the special brie like cheese. The funkier, the better, in my opinion. Serve it with your favorite flavor of jam.
Aged cheddars are another popular choice for me this time of year. I love the depth of flavor that an appropriately aged cheddar cheese provides. Plus, they go hand in hand with delicious, cured meat.
Talk to your local cheese shop about what their recommendation is here on this one. Don't skimp on the one year aged cheddar; go for the 3 - 5 year aged cheddar. You'll thank me later!
Fruits & Veggies
This time of year, I love pomegranates for their sweet and tart flavor. I am also drawn to figs, grapes, and citrus, believe it or not. Blood oranges are in season in the winter and are absolutely delicious!
For pickled vegetables this time of year, I like the sweetness of pickled butternut squash, the funkiness of pickled brussels sprouts, and the earthiness of pickled beets. You can find all three at il porcellino salumi's retail store.
As far as accompaniments are concerned, I'm looking for fig jam or cherry jam to serve with the soft brie cheese. I'm also looking for candied nuts of any kind to go with that cheese too!
I'll also add the pickled vegetables mentioned previously plus cornichons and whole grain mustard to go with the pate. I like to support local producers, and I think 34 Degrees, Nita Crisps, and Flouwer Co. all make great crackers.
Red, red wine… It's a must with a winter or holiday charcuterie board. The bigger the flavor, the better off you will be. Go with a Barolo or Barbaresco, cabernet sauvignon or Bordeaux.
It's the Holidays!! Eat big, drink big, celebrate!!