RESTAURANT TRENDS – Sharing a charcuterie platter

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Reasons why restaurants and bars should offer cured meat platters to their clients

As a chef or restaurant/bar owner, you must always find new offerings without having to spend hefty amounts of money and without compromising your production rhythm. You want to keep your clients talking about your dishes, you want them to come back. This is the key to your success.

Adding this kind of platter to your menu will make a huge difference for your clients without taking over your whole kitchen. Why don’t you offer cured meat and cold cut platters?

We LOVE to share

Serving a platter filled with sausages, rillettes and cold cuts is a sure way to please every single guest around the table. People love it, because sharing fuels conversation and creates a nice and friendly setting. This is a great way to introduce what’s to come.

These products do not emit strong smells of garlic or seafood and will not disturb the people sitting at the bar or at the surrounding tables.

A great aperitif

Since cured meat and cold cuts are universally loved, they may encourage people to stay a little bit longer at happy hour or bring more friends around the table. Salted flavours and rich textures will certainly whet their appetite!

Make sure you offer wine and beer pairings to encourage your clients to make interesting beer, wine or cocktail discoveries.

Simple, convenient and ever-changing

In addition to revamping your menu, cured meat and cold cuts do not take over your whole kitchen space. They’re quick and easy to prepare and do not require using special kitchen equipment. You won’t even have to use excess plates and platters, except for serving them. You can even stack platters prepared in advance to save some time.

Avoid wasting food with these types of platters, since everything can keep for a longer time without spoiling. Indeed, when unopened, sausages and deli meat can be kept during a whole year in the refrigerator, while pâtés and rillettes can be kept up to two months.

The only thing left to do is replace the sides (mustard, mayonnaise, homemade ketchup, vinegars, etc.) on a regular basis in order to constantly offer new creative combinations.
Take a look at our products in order to raise the average bill and improve the general ambiance of your institution.

How to prepare a charcuterie platter

The first thing to do in order to tempt your guests is making sure that your platter is appealing. Indeed, no matter if you display premium quality products, if you throw everything randomly on a white plate, nobody will touch it!

Here are a couple of tips that will help your platter look amazing.

Make sure there is enough variety!

Since your platter will be shared between many people, make sure there’s something for everyone! Vary the flavours by including cured meats hailing from different areas and make sure you include at least one spicy product. Go ahead and make your own pâtés, rillettes or cretons. Pickled vegetables are also a must to add a little touch of acidity – olives, pickled eggs and gherkins will highlight the taste of your platter while also adding more colour. If you choose to add pickled beets, make sure you separate them from the other foods, as they may stain them if not. Nuts, dried fruit and cheese are also a great addition. However, make sure you avoid very soft and runny cheeses like brie.

Do not forget the bread, which is a great and delicious addition to a cured meat platter. Baguette, naan, flatbread, seasoned or flavoured bread (fig, nuts, olives, dried tomato…) – the only limit is your imagination. Make sure you include fat substances such as olive oil with balsamic vinegar or butter.

Flawless cuts

The appearance of your platter is a key consideration, but once you’ve attracted the eye of your very hungry guests, you must make sure that everything is flawless when it’s time to eat. That’s why you must pay close attention to the cuts. For sausages, you must either cut thick slices that match the shape of the sausage or very thin slices at an angle so they look a little bit bigger. Do not cut pepperettes and nuggets. Give your cold cuts come volume by rolling them or crinkling them. They’ll look more appealing and they’ll be easier to grab.

Cut your pâtés, rillettes and terrines diagonally and place them on two different sides of the platter. Put everything creamy in separate ramequins.

A truly noticeable platter

What type of platter should you use? A wooden tray or a good-looking plate will do. If you feel like doing something special, let your imagination loose and use a marble slab or framed glass, in order to impress your guests!

The perfect pairing

Given the wide variety of flavours and textures on your platter, versatile drinks are in order to complement your cured meats and cold cuts. Choose microbrews like a light red beer or a lager, fruity white wine or a round and light, red wine.

What’s in a dried sausage?

The growing offer of cured meat makes it hard to know which ones are truly worth it. Artisan sausages and cured meats are face to face with their industrial counterparts, which forces us to stop and read the labels and fine print to be able to differentiate them. Many people are raising questions regarding the ingredients – where does the meat come from? Which parts of the animals were used? What kind of preservatives were added to this sausage?

It is impossible to answer these questions for the other sausages makers, but here, at Pork Shop, we know exactly what was used to make our sausages. Here goes:

Raw material

Our pork is "Certified Humane" and comes from a local farm. What does this mean? Here’s a short video shot at the F. Ménard farm with Chantal Fontaine, which explains everything you need to know (in French): https://youtu.be/ZuQw-uRN_DE

Meat cuts

We only use entire pork shoulders and we grind it ourselves, at the shop. There are absolutely no offal or other animal parts in our sausages, guaranteed. Our sausages have entirely natural casings.

Fat

We never add any fat to our sausages. The only fat there is in our sausages is naturally contained in the shoulder, which gives a great 80% meat and 20% fat ratio.

Lactose, gluten and so on

All our sausages are not only gluten and lactose free, but they are also free of the 10 most common allergens in Canada – peanuts, eggs, milk, nuts, wheat, soy, sesame, seafood, sulfites and mustard.

Nitrite pickling salts

We add the least amount possible to our sausages in order to comply with the regulations. Did you know that contrary to popular beliefs, cured meats only account for 10% of the food intake for nitrites and nitrates in adults? Read the following article from the Centre de référence en nutrition de l’Université de Montréal to learn more: http://www.extenso.org/article/les-...

The magic touch

Of course, our sausages also contain spices, herbs, great wine, real whisky (no flavouring), passion and love, in carefully measured or excessive proportion! Next time you see Pork Shop products at your grocery store, you’ll know what they are made of! Do not hesitate to pick them up and bring them home to taste the incredible results of our handmade process.

The history of dry sausage

Author: Baron de Adrets [Link to the original article in French: http://racinescharnelles.blogspot.ca/2010/06/le-saucisson-sec.html]

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We have no idea if it comes from the Gallics or the Romans, but we think that the Romans and their legendary salting and terrine-making expertise actually played a big role here. And let’s be clear, they loved the Gallic-raised pork fed with acorns and other berries. Their delicious meat was sought-after in the entire empire. Now, we’ve been eating this salted pork delicacy for 2000 years, without knowing which latin word is behind the word we now use – salsare, salsiusculus, salsicius…?

Let the linguists fight over this issue and let’s find exactly what we’re looking for. A dry sausage is made from 75% lean pig meat and 25% fat. The filling is minced with a knife or roughly ground with a meat grinder, but rarely finely ground, except for specific kinds of sausages. It is then salted with 25g to 35g of salt per kilogram depending on the final size of the product (some add dextrose or wheat to this mix). Or course, we must always add ground pepper or entire peppercorns, herbs and spices depending on the specialty, the recipe or the creative mind of the sausage-maker. The filling must then rest, before being inoculated with micro-organisms and cased into pig intestines or cæcum. Sausages must dry during 1 to 3 months depending on its size, in a room kept at 14°C. It can also be lightly smoked.

The outer flora of a sausage helps it age and protects it. It covers the sausage and gives it a light fungus smell and a powdery appearance. It can be natural (inoculated) or be made of marble or charcoal dust. Some sausages are even dipped in wine lees. There are many dry sausage varieties ailing from different French regions… Each and every one of them has a different taste and shape profile. I could go on and name a few, but there are way too many and each and single one of them is worth talking about.

If you pass by a great sausage-maker or a small salting business, make sure you stop by and get a taste of the delicacies on offer. You’ll never go back to industrial sausages and will also support your local businesses.

Is the white powder on sausages mold?

Original article posted on the MySaucisson blog here (in French)

First things first, let’s establish that we’re talking about dry sausages that went through casing and drying processes that allows us to eat them raw, which is nothing like the sausages you need to cook of fresh sausages like mortadella and garlic sausages! If the latter present a duvet-like white deposit on top, please, do not eat them!

The white powder you find around your dry sausages is the natural flora of your sausage or what we call, in French fleur du saucisson.

Let’s go back to the sausages themselves. We said that the casing of dry sausages is covered by a white powder, which is a natural flora. This is the real scientific term to designate this phenomenon. This flora usually develops naturally during the curing process of the sausages. Just like cheese (camembert, brie or Roquefort), there’s no need to add anything, as this is nature’s work.

Penicillium – The mold that works its magic during the curing a conservation process of sausages

The white powder that sits on the casing of a dry sausage isn’t flour, or bacteria, or saltpetre! It is a fungus, but not any fungus! Wer’re talking about penicillium. Bacteria and fungi are often feared, but most of today’s antibiotics come from bacteria and fungi like penicillium. The discovery of penicillin in 1940 revolutionized the treatment of ailments such as pneumonia, ear infections or meningitis.

It is the very same mold you can find on dry sausages and soft cheese like Roquefort. We apply penicillium at the end of the process, on the casing. In order to do so, we use water and a mix of carefully chosen micro-organisms that are useful during the aging process (just like cheese and yogurt) that we spray on the sausages.

This mold on the casing is useful for the curing process since it helps with conservation. It is good for us because it helps us fight infections, but it also adds to the taste of the sausages!

So next time you don’t feel like eating the casing, if it is made of natural materials, juste think about how good is it for you!

Perfect pairings – Sausage and beer

 

SAVERIO

Round lager – Thyme and red wine flavours are easily highlighted and we can taste the authentic Italian flavours of this sausage. A lager with a round palate or liquor-like will beautifully reveal the gardener’s secret spice blend and offer a great pairing. The lager’s residual sweetness goes well with the seasonings.


LEEROY

Round dark beer – This sausage is rich and flavourful and will surely please anyone who likes BBQ sauce and whisky. The taste of paprika and chili pepper is perfectly highlighted with the roasted notes of dark beers. The smoothness of the sausage and the residual sweetness of the beer offer a tasty match.


PEPE

Bitter amber beer – This spicy sausage will please anyone who enjoys a hot bite. The different spices all dance in harmony and this sausage offers intense aroma and a perfectly balanced spicy taste. Try it with a bitter or sharp amber beer – the bitterness will balance the spiciness, for a truly punched pairing.


LAWRENCE

Light amber beer – This lightly seasoned sausage highlights the taste of the pork meat Montreal-style with hints of dill. Light amber beers with their subtle caramel flavours are the perfect match to this very mild sausage served as an aperitif.


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JACK

Light brown beer – The pepper is strong and let the mushroom flavours shine. Light brown beers and their roasted malt and sugary aromas are the best pairing for this sausage. The contrast isn’t overwhelming, which let more subtle aromas blend to perfection. The king of this pairing here is obviously the mushroom, to the delight of your palate.