Spread the Love and Entertain with Charcuterie
Treat your guests to a well-planned charcuterie board for endless options of flavors this holiday season.
"Charcuterie” refers exclusively to preserved meats: the sausages, bacon, and pâtés classically sold in French delicatessens. But you would be forgiven for thinking that the word encompasses a variety of foods — cheese, fruits, bread, and jams — the items so often found occupying equal space on a charcuterie board. Because the diverse and complex flavor of meats (our spread includes a garlic-and-wine-infused salami and a bold, smoky ham) lends itself so readily to a sundry palate, it can be paired scrumptiously with any number of delicacies.
Divided here between savory and sweet, these boards are exploding with fresh, earthy ingredients from Pittsburgh’s finest markets, including The SpringHouse, Giant Eagle Market District, BreadWorks, and Emerald Valley Artisans. “We love to cook, and good food has been a central part of our lives,” says Alisa Fava-Fasnacht of Emerald Valley Artisans. If you find yourself overwhelmed, assemble any of our pre-made bites to fully experience this unmatched entertaining staple.
1. Tait Farm Foods Tomato Chutney, East End Food Co-op.
2. Fontina, Emerald Valley Artisans.
3. Roasted Chestnuts, Lotus Foods.
4. La Quercia Prosciutto Americano, Giant Eagle Market District.
5. Pickled Asparagus, Trax Farms Market.
6. Balsamic Sweet Onion Jam, Trax Farms Market.
7. Mixed Peppers and Olives, The Fresh Market.
8. Rustic Deli White Bread, BreadWorks.
9. Parma Wine Salame, Giant Eagle Market District.
10. Feta Saldana, Emerald Valley Artisans.
11. Horseradish Spread, The SpringHouse.
To create its Feta Saldana, Emerald Valley Artisans consulted an international cheese expert and worked for many years to achieve its specific flavor. “It’s fabulous in this setting because you can serve it with a crusty bread or a really nice cracker, and you can cook with it — throw it on a pizza or scramble it into a frittata,” Fava-Fasnacht says. Top it with the farm’s Antoinetta, an olive tapenade named for her mother, who developed the recipe and “whose culinary gifts are known to many.”
Sommelier Danielle Dwan of Emerald Valley Artisans suggests pairing any of these featured cheeses with a light, Italian red wine, like Barbera.
1. Chocolate Almond Trail Mix, East End Food Co-op.
2. Walnut Raisin Bread, BreadWorks.
3. Smoked Ham, The SpringHouse.
4. Bonne Maman Purple Fig Spread, East End Food Co-op.
5. Parma Mild Sopressata, Giant Eagle Market District.
6. Ricotta Chiesi, Emerald Valley Artisans.
7. Local Raw Honey, Trax Farms Market.
8. Dried Mango Slices, Lotus Foods.
9. Organic Dried Dates, East End Food Co-op.
10. Lanco-Pennland Lancaster Cheddar, Emerald Valley Artisans.
11. Cherry Sweet Fire Pickles & Peppers, Trax Farms Market.
“We hang the ham in our smokehouse for 12 to 15 hours, and we only use real hickory wood to smoke them, so it gives them a very unique flavor. We actually find hickory trees on our farms to chop up and stoke the fire,” explains Marcia Minor Opp, co-owner of the SpringHouse store and farm.
Emerald Valley Artisans’ Lanco-Pennland Lancaster Cheddar “is a featured cheese at Altius and has Chef Jessica’s stamp of approval,” says owner Alisa Fava-Fasnacht. Emerald Valley Artisans suggests dressing it up with seasonal dried fruits, toasted nuts, and a caramel drizzle!