...Meat plate. That's what else you could call it, but why not stick with 'charcuterie'? It just sounds better.
I find myself rather giddy when I know a restaurant serves a charcuterie platter or a cheese plate. After all, we grew up eating preserved deli meats (bolgona, turkey, ham) with cheese on bread almost every day of the week. In Europe, they eat it for breakfast!
Nothing else could be so simple, except maybe some plain pasta with butter or a smeary pb&j. But where did slopping slim cuts of meat on a plate with tart garnishes of pickles, spicy mustard, baguette, and apricot spread come from, you ask? I'll give you the short version and then I'll tell you where to get the best meat plates.
The term 'charcuterie' is a French word, originating in the Latin caro, for flesh or meat, and coctus, or “cooked.” It is meat that is salted, smoked or brined--commonly called "cured". The 'charcuterier' shop was derived from France in the 15th century and is very different from your average butcher shop, which specializes only in fresh meat. Oui, oui!
Charcuterie meats can be preserved over months of time, unlike fresh meat which must be consumed immediately. As you can imagine, this is a refined process where the meat must be edible and flavorful with no signs of bacteria or mold. Yikes!
I really love a charctuerie plate you can arrange yourself. Hopleaf, Old Town Social, D.O.C. Wine Bar and Fork can make that happen, it's just up to you to decide.
|Bluebird // Wicker Park|
|DOC Wine Bar // Lincoln Park|
|Hopleaf // Andersonville|
To see my full list of Charcuterie picks in Chicago, click here