Charcuterie” is my new favorite word. A natural component of the farm to table movement, charcuterie plates are sprouting up like dandelions on Madison restaurant menus. I love the way “charcuterie” rolls off the tongue, similarly to “paprika” (as previously noted). Starting a meal with charcuterie puts a new twist on the dining out experience. It’s fun to try a variety of products and flavors new to me. Bonus: a nice, lean protein starter doesn’t leave you overstuffed before your entrée even arrives.

We’ve had some exceptional charcuterie boards recently:

  • The Charcuterie Plate was the standout item at a dinner with friends a few months ago at Harvest. The soppressata was delicious and we also enjoyed an accompanying cheese board.
  • We had a delightful family Thanksgiving feast at Southern Art in Atlanta. They have a ham bar with nine different offerings—you can choose as many as you like in whatever quantity you like. Their Butcher’s Board included several selections with mustards and house-made saltines. In a word: yum!
  • Friday night we went for a casual meal at the Greenbush Bar before the Badger hockey game. (Or, as I like to call it, the Michigan hockey game. BTW—Michigan won 7-4.) We’ve had the vegetarian antipasto platter many times, so it was no surprise that the carnivore’s version was equally good. The Italians may call it antipasto, but when it’s got prosciutto ham, mortadella, and salami, charcuterie fits.

Next up: Olivier’s Public House. Their Meat Board includes pate, country ham, and salumi. No, that’s not a typo. Salumi is basically the Italian version of the French charcuterie. It encompasses a variety of cured and preserved meats, not just salami. Whatever you call it, it’s all good.


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