Sharing some tips on how to create a french charcuterie platter.
I love visiting France. Not just for fab weather, beautiful scenery and sophisticated culture. No – mostly for the food. I love the whole attitude to food – that it is a subject to be taken seriously, that people want to produce good food. You can check out some of what they offer at The France Show, which is a celebration of all things French – coming again to London’s Olympia from the 27-29th of January.
If you fancy going to The France Show then feel free to use this discount code FTPJAN to reduce the price of the tickets from £16 per person the £5 per person with a 50p booking fee. I am planning on dropping in and. Maybe I’ll meet you there? Hope so.
Before I ever went I knew French food of course – I’d eaten poule au pot (we have something pretty similar back home – I guess all countries do), coq au vin, and of course plenty of croissants and other patisserie
But it wasn’t till I went there first (it was on a four day trip to Nimes, a place I’d picked randomly and I am glad that I did) that I realised about the markets and the shops and the fact that good food was right at the very heart of French life.
I remember wandering around, dumfounded at all the different foods and amazing variety of drinks on offer. The idea that you would have a stall with scores of different types of cheese, all of which were local; the amazing range of saussison sec; that you would be able to buy not just normal button mushrooms but ceps and chanterelles too; that the fruit like apricot, figs, grapes and mini strawberries are really sweet and perfectly ripe and have been ripened on the plant.
Plus the bread, bread that is warm and fresh out of the oven that the entire market almost smells like a bakery.
And how to choose? How to decide what we get for a picnic? Well – that is easy. Trust to luck. Pick 3 cheeses. 2 types of saussison sec. Some terrine. A jar of cornichons. Whatever fruit looks nicest. A baguette or two. And a bottle of good local wine. My very own picnic French charcuterie.
So based on my experience here is how to assemble a French charcuterie platter:
- Cured Meats. Have at least two or three different types of cured meats. Try and make sure the meats have different textures. Think the drier saucisson sec mix in with soft hams. Plan for about 2-3 ounces of meat per person.
- More meat. Add in a pate and some rillettes (best things ever). Often overlooked, you can make a meal with just pate and bread.
- Cheese. Add in 3 different cheese with different textures eg a hard cheese, a soft cheese (hello Brie) and a strong blue cheese. That’s way there is something for everyone. Some people advise that you stick to cheeses from the same region, but that’s up to you. If you are shopping in a French market, inevitably the cheeses will almost all be local – if you have to make do with an English supermarket – you only have what they offer.
- Add in some acidity via some pickled vegetables (the crunchier the better) to neutralize any strong flavors. Cornichons are particularly good with rillettes – try the combination, please.
- Make sure to provide fresh crusty bread, artisan crackers and extras like breadsticks for both extra added texture but also as a vehicle for the rest of the ingredients.
- Have something sweet. Some fig jam, relish, chutney or pickle always goes well. Especially with strong cheeses – a bit of sweetness brings out the flavour.
- Presentation: Food tastes better if it looks good. Do put in a bit of effort and make it look nice. The ideal is to have the taller objects towards the middle of the plate, and have the rest of the food artfully falling away from it.
- France has possibly the best wines in the world, and a huge variety. So go on, make the most of it, and splash out and get a good bottle or two.
- Try something new whenever you put together a platter like this. So if you have never tried a particular cheese – try it. You have nothing to loose, the platter is big enough to forgive any mistakes, and who knows – you might just love it. I certainly did when I made my first platter in France, guessing everything and going by pure luck.
Here is how to make this French charcuterie platter. Please do try it and if you do make it, then please do tag #recipesfromapantry on Instagram or twitter so that I can pop over and have a look. It is really, really awesome for me when you make any one of my recipes. You can also share it on my Facebook page.
Thank you for reading my how to make a French charcuterie platter post. And please come visit again as I continue dreaming up recipes, traditional African recipes, African fusion recipes, Sierra Leone recipes, travel plans and much more for you.
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