Chances are you’ve enjoyed your share of charcuterie, whether you called it as such or not. While the word is French and dates back to the Middle Ages and the 15th century, countries all over the world — Europe and beyond — have their own version of charcuterie. Cold cuts, salumi, cured meats… you get the idea. No matter what you call it, platters of these delicious meats — often served with some jelly, mustard, cornichons (French pickles), or bread, depending on the offerings — are a wonderful introduction to a variety of cuisines and cultures, and we encourage you to try them while on your culinary vacation!
Historically speaking, charcuterie in France mainly referred to pork and related products. But today a modern charcuterie board encompasses much more. For example, there can be everything from boudin (a meat sausage), to a pâté, which is can be a meat, fish, or vegetable preparation that has at the consistency of a paste.
Over in Italy, one of our favorite destinations for cured meats and sausage is the medieval town of Norcia; the town, while small, is home to a number of pork butchers, or norcino. Sausage is so popular here they have their own word: norcinerie, which refers to a variety of delicacies made from pork. One of our favorites? Their truffle sausage, as the black truffle here is an other delicacy. (Learn more about this with a trip to our Food Lover’s Paradise in Norcia cooking vacation).
Another favorite in Italy: the famed culatello of Emilia Romagna. It’s so famous that the chef who makes this delicious mouthwatering treat has been named the King of Ham. (Visit him, and his culatello cellar, during our Flavors of the Real Italian Countryside trip.)
And a discussion of cured meats is never complete without talk of Spain, where there’s a wonderful range of hams. It’s the home, after all, of two of the most famous of all cured meats: Jamon Iberico and Jamon Serrano.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to talking about charcuterie. Come join us on Facebook this week to learn more about charcuterie and sausages — and to share what your favorite is!
By Liz Hall
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