Charcuterie: familiar with the term? Semantically it comes from the words “cooked meat” in French, practically it is the most delicious addition to your next meal time gathering (read: Thanksgiving). A scrumptious selection of meat, cheese, and other fixings to delight your culinary senses and, if you do your shopping at Indianapolis’ local Goose the Market, it will be a full-on conversation piece. Arranged on a beautiful handmade wooden board or ceramic serving dish from Homespun, and you’ve got a show-stopping appetizer and unforgettable hostess gift.
I’m well versed in the charcuterie board selection available at Homespun, but I was less informed about what to put on it (baloney? no?). Who better to consult than the amazing team at Goose the Market? I spent an incredibly fun afternoon with Corrie Quinn, Narration Libation Manager/ Keeper Of All Things Delicious and she told me everything I needed to know.
If you’re pressed for time, Goose will make the whole process very easy for you. Just drop off the board of your choice, give them a budget, and they will have your carefully selected board ready for you the day of your party. Easy-peasy. Show up to the party with your hands full and leave the board, too, as an extra special host or hostess gift.
If you’d rather do a customized board (and have lots of fun learning in the process), Corrie gave me some general guidelines for making your selections. Before you start, I suggest you grab a drink from the Enoteca in the cellar of Goose; enjoy a hot spiked cider or wine while you shop- just another great reason to do your shopping here. First pointer to keep in mind: “You eat with your eyes first,” Corrie advises, so pick out what looks delicious to you, and what will really pop on your board. Having a variety of textures and flavors to choose from will keep your guests coming back for more. For cheeses this will mean hard, aged cheeses with an almost crunchy texture served with something young and creamy, soft and oozy. You can also try a variety of milks, too; cow, sheep or goat which provide a range of flavors. For meat you can choose from lamb, elk, duck, pork, or beef. Try a hard aged salami, a soft, layered tourrine or a thinly sliced ham.
It’s also nice to keep seasonality in mind. If we’re talking fall/winter: quince and apple jams, preserves like pickles are great, too. The sharp vinegar flavor of pickles will help to cut the fat in the meat and cheese choices. Fresh fruits are a great complement to cheese, cut them on a bias for an extra professional look. Nuts and peanut butter bring out the nuttiness in aged cheeses. Olives are great for that salty fix and give your guests a thirst for those fancy drinks you have on hand. Goose, of course, has house brined olives on rotation.
And don’t forget fish! Goose carries the most incredible smoked salmons, anchovies (now stay with me! smash some of these babies up with butter and garlic, spread on bread and commence drooling), and smoked white fishes, too. Light, unique, delicious.
You’ll also need the vehicle on which to load these delicious delicacies: a.k.a crackers. Choose from Amelia’s local fresh made breads or a range of boxed crackers, and don’t forget to have at least one gluten-free option for those who abstain.
Also located in the cellar: canned and bottled drinks. Beer, wine, and the party-starting, cork-popping sparkling varieties. Corrie suggests something rose-colored that sparkles, always a crowd-pleaser!
The selections at Goose are constantly changing, so be sure to ask anyone on staff for the low down on what’s in stock and what is limited. They will happily provide you with samples before you buy and recommend pairings. Everyone there was extremely welcoming and knowledgeable, guiding me through a variety of mispronunciations without judgement.
So what does a charcuterie board chosen by the pros at Goose really look like? They gave me a selection of delicious meats, cheeses, and more to take home and try myself.
*Cue romantic Barry White music*
Awwwww yeah. I really couldn’t wait to unwrap the surprises in my bag! I brought home with me lots of items from Homespun to use on my tablescape, too. Honestly, with just a small selection from Goose paired with some sliced apples, home roasted pumpkin seeds I had just made (look at me go!), and crackers, I had a significantly impressive spread. It really won’t take much to add a whole lot of interest and flavor to your next gathering.
Ready for some mouth watering descriptions? First there’s the orange marmalade- the most intensely orange, deliciously sweet thing you’ve ever tasted. Pair that with the buttery, sightly salty crunch of the Marcona almonds (on or off a cracker). Pair that with a crumbly, sharp, bright, crunchy cheddar. Pair that with a stinky gym sock and I bet you’d eat it. Honestly this stuff would be amazing paired with so many things and I won’t deny I had several bites of it solo just to savor the flavor. The salami was peppery and salty, made from pork, fennel pollen, and pink peppercorns, I can imagine this going perfectly with some creamy mild brie. I paired it with the “mirriolette vielle”, a soft, earthy, mild goats milk cheese that was light as a feather and almost fluffy. The cold smoked salmon is made in-house and is perfectly rich and fatty, silky smooth and subtly smokey. Topped with a bit of tangy, spicy, crunchy giardiniera- yes. Do it. The pig & fig terrine may be an unfamiliar sight to some, but the flavor is a definite crowd pleaser. It’s smooth, creamy, spreadable, and the perfect combination of sweetness and richness. And last but not least- my favorite part of the whole spread- that shockingly bright orange cheese. Called “gnarly val” it’s a French style, aged, cows milk cheese. Hard and crumbly, sweet and yolky, its not too rich, so you can eat your weight in it and still feel great (I did). Its so, so delicious and really all of this together was heaven on a plate- ahem- heaven on a charcuterie board.
Here at Homespun you’ll find the most gorgeous and unique table-wear to serve and highlight your well thought-out selections. Pictured are wooden and ceramic charcuterie boards and plates, the perfect ceramic chip and dip, a locally made wooden bread knife, screen printed linen napkins, wool felted garland, fall scented hand-poured candles, and more. Everything is hand-made, some locally. We have this in common with Goose the Market. We both love serving carefully made and unique selections of quality goods, and we both love to help our customers find just what they’re looking for.
A big thanks to Goose and Corrie for all their help and awesome information. We hope you’ll have a chance to stop in to either of our shops this season, but most of all we hope you have a lot of friends and family gathered around this Thanksgiving, enjoying each other. ‘Cause it’s really all about the people, isn’t it? People… and cheese.