Tag Archives: cheese

The Cheese ladies of Metro, Lunigiana, Italy

C H E E S E !!! … full disclosure I could live on it. In our region, we have many local cheese makers. Goat cheese and cows milk as well. Sydney and I (if you read the last post you know Sydney is our son’s girlfriend; she’s studying nutrition here in Italy for the summer as she gets her degree to become a registered dietitian) traveled high above the mountains of Metro to meet and try local cheese made by a mother daughter team of cheese ladies. The Mama is about 90 and still works actively in the processing kitchen. In her white wellies, she scoops the whey and makes the pecorino, the ricotta, and the mozzarella. We had the pleasure of touring their tiny but immaculate facility in the back of their small but well-stocked cheese and salumi store.

The aging room was my favorite part. Neatly stacked cheese just waiting to be picked from the shelves to be enjoyed.

We went home with a new pecorino, aged for 4 months, and a more pungent pecorino aged for 2 years. Mama tossed in a mozzarella ball as a gift to be discovered when we unpacked everything for lunch at noon. What a enormous treat, and you know I will be back to buy more….once we’ve polished off the wedges that we took home.

Thanks to my friend Davide for taking a minute to show us this delicious place.

xx Annette

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The Anatomy of a Charcuterie Platter

Charcuterie

One of my favorite things to construct, food wise that is, (*you all know I love a construction project) would have to be a charcuterie platter. I love nibbling, and I think that guests do as well. Everything from buying the spread to laying it all out into an amazing piece of art makes me so happy.

I think that most people think that a hunk of cheese, some grapes, or apples slices and crackers and maybe some pepperoni make a charcuterie plate.

In this post, I will teach you to make the ultimate food stylist charcuterie platter.

From start to finish, I will show you how to take a blank canvas and turn it into the most gorgeous Caravaggio– esque food spread ever. Your guests will be in awe.

Charcuterie platter

This is a platter we photographed for Atlanta Magazine’s HOME winter issue constructed by Alisa Barry

Charcuturie Platter

So here we go.

Pick out a wooden board. I like a cutting board that is at least 24″x 30″ but bigger is better. I own several sizes, but I like working with something that is 36″x 40.” In some cases, I find these boards at flea markets. You can also use cake stands for a different look; I like both approaches. Make sure you have plenty of cheese knives, spreaders, spoons, and forks all over the board. I also like to put bowls and plates on top of the board for some height and textural interest.

Frangelico_CCC2771

Like with a floral arrangement, I place the large items on the board first, a pile of thinly sliced Prosciutto, whole salamis, large cheese wedges, and perhaps include crackers on the board as well. Then place the jars or small bowls of tapenade, jams, jellies, and pickles. Next add the veggies like roasted peppers, and smaller items like salami bites, nuts, and olives sprinkled into the spaces. There should be minimal space on your board. It’s really like an art project.

Your shopping list should include:

Cheeses: both hard cheese like Cheddar or Pecorino, and soft cheese like Burrata or Brie.

Meat: Prosciutto sliced, Bresaola, Salami, both sliced and whole.

Condiments: nuts, tapenades, jellies, and sweet and savory jams. Grilled veggies, peppers, onions, artichokes and pickles, pate, olives, and honey comb.

Fruits: figs, grapes (green, red or purple), dates, and dried fruits like apricots or apples.

Breads: rustic breads like ciabatta, rye, and country breads, not sliced. Make sure you slice the bread, so it has a rustic look. Crostini or a baguette, nutty crackers or focaccia.

Charcuterie Platter

This beautiful platter by Honestly Yum

Photos credit: John McDonald and Dane Sponberg

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