By: Eric Mittenthal
October is National Sausage Month and to celebrate the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council is helping people get in on one of the hottest food trends these days…charcuterie. You probably know charcuterie as meat and cheese platters that are common on menus at trendy restaurants and wine bars around the country, but did you know that the charcuterie trend dates back to the 15th century? Back then it was considered a French culinary art. To Europeans it is delicatessen-style market where cured meats and air-dried sausages are produced and purchased. Even in the 1950s it was highlighted in an AMI ad. The common theme throughout history is cured meats, sausages and pates set up on a platter for easy enjoyment.
The variety of cured meats and sausages available for a charcuterie may seem daunting. Add in options for cheeses, breads and condiments and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when trying to put together a charcuterie at home. The good news is there are a lot of simple ways to make a great charcuterie platter. Once you get a feel for your likes and dislikes, you can experiment with more “advanced” options. Start with a few different meats with varying textures. If you use a hard salami, include a soft pate. Find meats of varying colors and include different cheeses to add contrast. You can also make meats stand out by presenting them in different shapes and sizes.
The great part about a charcuterie is that you can make one for a variety of occasions. Having a few friends over, tailgating or even a fancy dinner party are all great opportunities to show off your charcuterie skills. The National Hot Dog & Sausage Council is also adding a little sweetener to the pot…post your best charcuterie photo to our Facebook or Flickr page by October 20 and you could win a $250 gift card for sausage. We also posted a new charcuterie guide and video to help you get started. Happy Sausage Month…we look forward to celebrating with you!