PLATTER LIKE A PRO: HOW TO CREATE A CHARCUTERIE BOARD THAT’S SURE TO IMPRESS
Charcuterie boards have become somewhat of a standout feature of meat-forward menus - particularly in Alberta, the Carnivore Capital.
A carefully-prepared and beautifully-presented smorgasbord of deli-deliciousness, the Charcuterie Platter is surely here to stay.
But, what about creating your own version of this group-pleasing appetiser at home?
We know what you’re thinking: charcuterie platters are intimidating and should stay in the hands of the pros; for those that have a salami slicer to hand and cure their own meats – and let’s not mention the house-made pickles.
Fret not, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. It’s all about the quality of the produce you select for your platter (secret: you don’t need to prepare these at home, you just have to know where to find them).
This way, all you’ll need to do is present your items nicely on your board, serve, and wait for all those compliments from your dinner guests to roll on in.
So, where to start?
Canmore’s Valbella Gourmet Foods is the place. Established in 1978 by Walter and Leonie von Rotz, Valbella’s extensive collection of European delicacies such as sausages, hams, and air-dried meats, has made this (still family-owned and operated) deli and specialist food store a true local favourite. Now celebrating their 40th year, Valbella’s products are a simple go-to for exceptional produce.
Tips for Preparing Your Platter:
Make it meaty: Meats should always be the main event, and so if you’re preparing your charcuterie board for a cocktail party or gathering with friends, don’t be shy with the amount of meat on the board! Work to a rule of having about 5 ounces of charcuterie per person, then add the breads, preserves and cheeses from there.
Mix up the textures: Use a hard salami with something soft and luxurious, such as a pâté. Add air-dried meats with delicious preserves. Use hard and soft cheese together. Also, don’t be afraid to experiment with hot and cold selections on your board.
Condiments are your friend: Mustards are a nice addition to your charcuterie platter, as the taste works well with fattier meats, such as sausage. Jellies are also a great addition. And pickles – add some crunchy, sour pickles. Your guests will thank you for it.
Have fun and keep experimenting! What’s not to love about trying different products and perfecting your platter; it’s not like anything’s going to go to waste, right?
Valbella’s Charcuterie Shopping List:
1. Bundnerfleisch. A lean beef, cured in salt and herbs then hung to dry for up to four months.
2. Rohess Speck. A pork belly, cured in salt and spices, smoked in Valbella’s traditional wood-burning smoker, before being hung to dry.
3. Wild Boar Pate. A creamy pate with delicious pieces of wild boar throughout it.
4. Cave Aged Gruyere. A cheese aged in the Swiss Alps - this classic is used in Cheese Fondue but is even better on its own.
5. Shropshire Blue Cheese. A soft, creamy, blue cheese, a milder version of Stilton but still with a slightly tangy aroma.
6. Saunders Pineapple Jalapeno Jelly. Sweet and slightly spicy jelly that pairs perfectly with cheese and pate and is especially delicious with pork products.
7. Landjaeger. Fermented beef and pork sausage, smoked for 1-2 days and then hung to dry for one week – great sliced into rounds on your charcuterie board.
8. Chimney Stick. A fermented pork and beef sausage, smoked for two days and then hung to dry for one week – slice this one into rounds and present on your board (pairs very nicely with a full-bodied glass of red).
9. Saucy Ladies Zesty Dills. Made regionally, in Lethbridge, these are Valbella’s #1 selling pickle!
10. Cradoc’s Chilli Garlic Ginger Cracker. These tasty crackers will give a little originality (and heat) to your platter. Tip: try them topped with cheese and a slice of meat!
For a taste of Valbella's, try their delicious Festival Features at Canmore Uncorked.
Must-see events & experiences at Canmore Uncorked 2018
- Set-Price Menus & Experiences (Thursday May 3rd to Sunday May 13th)
- Canmore Wine Festival (Saturday May 5th)
- The Grande Brunch (Sunday May 6th)
- Progressive Dinner Tours (Sunday May 6th to Wednesday May 9th)
- Whisky & Spirits Festival (Friday May 11th)
- Craft Beer Festival (Saturday May 12th)