As promised in my post on cheese, I said I would follow up with some important points on creating an awesome charcuterie platter. Shelby from Fino Food and Wine also took us through the creation of a charcuterie plate for large parties and small occasions.
Before this session, I was already familiar with Fino Food and Wine, after a session my friend Mel Kettle organised in their warehouse. I’ve never eaten so much cheese and charcuterie in one sitting. Not to mention, Pepe Saya himself was there and did a couple of demonstrations. (If you’ve never had Pepe Saya butter, you need to correct that immediately!)
Although, I’d tried sobrassada at Ortiga, it was also the first time I really understood what I was eating. Sobrassada – now one of my favourite things – is a spreadable sausage from Majorca. It’s delicious served straight from the pack or it could be warmed through. My engagement party last year featured much sobrassada and there was some left over. We may have eaten a small portion heated through, with a fried egg and a slice of homemade sourdough for breakfast on a few mornings following. It’s very rich, so you don’t need a lot, but that won’t stop you going back for more!
Now, on to awesome charcuterie plates your friends will talk about for days.
What should go on the platter?
According to Shelby, there is no rule for how many different meats you can have on a platter, but as with cheese, less is more. The rule of three comes up again, “I would stick to a minimum of three high-quality cured meats per platter; smallgoods that vary in texture, flavour and are derived from different animals,” she said.
This is where (my favourite) spreadable sausage comes into to play. Your mix of delectable meats should include a spreadable sausage like sobrassada or nduja (warning, aduja is very hot). Shelby recommends serving either at room temperature with a little honey.
What should you drink?
Shelby recommends dry sherry, Lambrusco or beer (pale ales, stouts and lagers match well). She said that Fino always recommends “firstly drinking something that you like and secondly something that will help reset your palate against the richness of the meats”.
What to eat with charcuterie?
To counter the richness of the meats, Shelby tends to accompany her charcuterie with “bright, acidic pickles, punchy mustards, old school chutney and pastes”. So, fill your basket with baby cornichons (one of my favourites, that go well with spreadable sausage or pate), caperberries or dill pickles (Shelby said her favourite at the moment are the pickles from Westmont Picklery, Australian made and grown; I’ve never heard of of pickles described as bad-ass, but these were!). Pop a dijon mustard or a horseradish seeded mustard on there along with a rich honey.
At what point should I throw out the platter?
IF there is anything left (and if I had anything to do with it, there wouldn’t be!), throwing out leftovers depends on how long the platter has been out and whether it has been inside or outside. Importantly, Shelby pointed out that “curing and fermenting of meats as a means of preservation has been around for a very long time, yet it’s so new to people”. So, in saying that, use your ‘common sense’, because that salami might very well be perfect tomorrow night too.
I asked Shelby what’ she is loving at the moment, too. Her response:
“I am a sucker for Salumi Australia’s Cacciatorini. Traditionally, these small salamis were carried around by Italian hunters and are derived from the word cacciatore meaning ‘hunter’. Sliced thin, they are mild in flavour, perfectly seasoned and just an all round delight to eat. Love them.”
Thanks again for sharing your wisdom, Shelby!
Fino Food and Wine has an online store where you can buy amazing (and super tasty) charcuterie packs for your next shindig.
I hope your next charcuterie platter will only be in existence for a very short time!