Charcuterie is the name given to cold meats and meat dishes, but it embodies so much more. Considered a French appetizer, the charcuterie platter has come into its own and many eateries and home cooks now offer it as more than just an hors d’oeuvre, so if you’re wanting to put together a feast of sausages, pates and terrines; here’s the perfect charcuterie guide from wholesale meat South Africa.
To begin with, consider the core offering – your meat products. You’ll want to combine a few different textures, some firm sausages and course country-style pates versus the finer pates and soft mousses. A charcuterie platter is all about different tastes and textures complementing each other, so variety is key. N1, leaders in wholesale meat Johannesburg and Cape Town, offer a wide range of meat products to choose from – chicken livers to make the perfect pate, Parma ham, German salami and Mortadella – a delicately flavoured Italian smoked and cooked sausage made from cured pork and beef. Another firm favourite is Prosciutto, complex in flavours, it is probably the best known of all the dry-cured hams; thinly sliced it can often be found on a charcuterie platter wrapped around thin bread sticks. If your platter is to be an appetiser, then allow 2 ounces (57 grams) of charcuterie per person, but if the platter is to be the star performer, then increase that amount to around 5 ounces (142 grams) per person.
Once you’ve chosen which cooked and dry-cured meats, sausages and pates to include, next on the list is the accompaniments – these play an integral role in the perfect platter as they help offset and complement the meat products perfectly. Start with your breads, you can choose to go the artisan bread route – think semolina bread, flavoured focaccia or ciabatta – but nothing beats the delicious simplicity of crusty baguettes. Next, you’ll want to incorporate a few cheeses, nothing too pungent that might over-ride the flavours of the meat, it’s better to keep with the creamy smooth flavours of soft and semi-hard cheeses. And last but very much not least, select your olives, pickles and cornichons (small pickled gherkins) – their tart acidity makes them the perfect accompaniments to all the meats.
Wine pairings to consider are earthy-toned red wines – often the best choice to suit the various flavours of meats and pates – or if you want something lighter, a refreshing sparkling wine. And that concludes the wholesale meat South Africa charcuterie guide – by following a few simple rules, combining different textures, tastes and colours, your charcuterie platter will satisfy and delight all. Bon appétit!