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Posts tagged ‘charcuterie’

Gifts for Foodies

When it comes to gifts, is there anything better than food? Not for those of us who are obsessed with all things culinary! Is there someone like that on your list? We’ve got you covered.

From gift baskets and foie gras to our signature cassoulet kit, there is something for everyone at dartagnan.com.

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Charc Week Continues: Jambon de Bayonne

Our jambon de Bayonne is made right here in the United States, and some would argue that the use of “Bayonne,” as in the AOC, is all kinds of wrong. Ariane was well aware of this when she began making the product in the early days of D’Artagnan. Of course, she could see Bayonne from her office window… Bayonne, NJ, that is. Using the same simple, centuries-old dry-curing technique that made this ham famous in France, our domestic version may break rules, but it satisfies jambon cravings.

Try it wrapped around figs, melon or pear slices. Sandwiched in a baguette with mustard. On a charcuterie board with cheese.

Buy it now and save 15% off at dartagnan.com during our Charc Week celebration – when all charcuterie is 15% off.  The sale ends Sept. 7 at midnight EST.

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Charcuterie 101

Whole books have been devoted to the subject. Techniques have been handed down through the generations, and different cultures have distinct charcuterie traditions. So what is this mysterious “charcuterie”? Pronounced shahr-kyut-uh-ree it is a French word that comes from chair “flesh” and cuit “cooked.” It refers to cooked, cured or smoked meats such as bacon, ham, sausage, terrines, rillettes, galantines, pâtés and dry-cured sausage. Charcuterie has been considered a French culinary art since at least the 15th century. The specialized store in France is also called a charcuterie and will have confits, foie gras and a selection of ready-to-eat dishes.

Charcuterie France

Germans sell their cured meats at a delicatessen, and Italians purvey salumi in a salumeria. In America many of the Italian salumi products are familiar, such as prosciutto, salami, pepperoni, sopressata and mortadella. If you’ve ever eaten antipasto you already know about charcuterie. Been to the deli and ordered a liverwurst sandwich? How about a cold cut sandwich? Both are charcuterie. Even baloney is charcuterie.

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Spain is legendary for dry-aged aging hams from heritage breed pigs. Germany is noted for the frankfurter and Braunschweiger, among a myriad of sausages produced there. Poland offers the smoked kielbasa. And in the United States there are many that swear by the flavor of smoked and cured Virginia ham. Call it what you will, charcuterie is universal.

A Little History

Food traditions are often best understood in the context of history. With charcuterie it’s necessary to go back to the origins of Homo sapiens. Since every culture preserves meat in some form, it appears to be a foundational element of human survival. Imagine hunting, gathering and having to eat everything before it spoiled. This process would ensure a nomadic lifestyle and subsistence diet. However, if you could store food for later, you might settle down, build a shelter and put in roots. Since the origins of cooking meat are lost in our prehistoric past, it’s only conjecture that early man might have hung fresh meat near the fire to protect it, and discovered that it cured over the smoke and tasted quite good the next day.

Whenever it was that humans started to cook and cure meat, it has not stopped since. Sausage recipes date to before the golden age of ancient Greece, and traditional sausages have been made for over 2000 years in both Rome and France. The Romans set standards for raising, killing and cooking pigs, and they regulated the process. Centuries ago, Germanic tribesmen made fortunes selling salted hams made from acorn-fattened boars that were hunted in dense forests. But charcuterie really comes into its own in France during the Middle Ages.

In France, pigs were raised by virtually every household and slaughtered when the chill of autumn took hold, to fill the larders for the winter with lovely bacon, ham, potted pork and lard. To this day in the French countryside the pig slaughter and resulting day of cooking that follows is taken on as a communal ritual. And no part of the pig is wasted, from the intestines to the hooves.

Today, in the United States there is plenty of old-world style charcuterie available, both in restaurants and stores, and DIYers are rediscovering the joy of making charcuterie at home.

Edouard-Jean Dambourgez (French, 1844-1890) A Pork Butcher's Shop

Making a Charcuterie Plate

Just like a cheese board, a charcuterie platter is an ideal way to serve a party and please all palates. Arranging a charcuterie board is easy. It should have a range of items representing the various styles of preparation from cooked to dry-cured. The meats should be complemented by something acidic, like cornichons (tiny French pickles). Whole-grain mustard makes a nice accompaniment, as do olives or even black truffle butter. Allow two ounces per person, and serve with a rustic country bread, or good quality, plain crackers. A hearty red wine (but not too heavy) will make a good accompaniment, such as Côtes-du-Rhône, Gigondas or Madiran.

A charcuterie board might display:

Pâté de Campagne is a rustic, coarse pork pâté and is a staple in France
Pheasant Terrine Herbette, another coarse pâté made of pheasant, pork and fennel
In the dry-cured family Jambon de Bayonne, a thinly-sliced pork product is perfect
Saucisson sec is a dry-cured sausage, similar to salami, made of pork or sometimes wild boar
Mousse Truffée is a spreadable turkey/chicken liver mousse with black truffles
Smoked duck breast is air cured and smoked over natural wood

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It’s Charc Week!

All week we will revel in the glory of charcuterie – and we’re calling it Charc Week.

And you get to enjoy 15% off all things smoked, cooked and cured at dartagnan.com. Please share your charcuterie stories, pictures or anything charcuterie related with us on Twitter and Facebook – be sure to use the hashtag #CharcWeek.

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#CharcWeek ends Sunday, September 7 at midnight EST.

 

Flash Sale: 12 Hours Only!

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This limited-time offer is valid Tuesday 8/19/14 from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm EST. Offer may not be combined with any other offer or membership discount and is not valid on pending or prior purchases. Offer applies to product purchase only, before shipping and handling; standard shipping charges will be applied. Valid on select products, while supplies last. SHOP NOW!

Sandwich Savoir-Faire

August is National Sandwich Month!

We think a sandwich is perfect anytime, but in the summer a sandwich makes a neat solution for a quick dinner or a picnic lunch. On a hot evening who wants to cook? Opt instead for a cold sandwich with choice charcuterie and a bottle of rosé. 

Sandwich Quote

We have already laid out a little history and a plan for sandwich domination here.

You may want to just feast your eyes on a few of our favorite sandwich ideas…like this peppery saucisson sec tartine with refreshing slices of cucumber.

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This simple chicken salad sandwich, made with smoked chicken breast and chorizo, was a smash hit at an office tasting.

Chicken Chorizo Sandwich

And though we advocate the cold sandwich as a summer meal, it’s hard to resist the lure of this pulled duck sandwich.

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Or the lobster roll with bacon, which is undoubtedly the perfect summer sandwich.

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A spicy pressed chorizo sandwich with cheese and red peppers satisfies the heat seekers.

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Our smoked duck breast works well in a banh mi sandwich, that perfect melding of French and Vietnamese cuisines.

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However you enjoy sandwiches this month, reflect on how this simple and portable meal has infinite varieties, from haute to humble.

 

“America is a confirmed sandwich nation. Everywhere you go you find sandwich stands, sandwich shops, and nine out of ten people seem to stick to the sandwich-and-glass-of-milk or cup-of-coffee luncheon.” –  James Beard

 

 

A Customer Appreciation Sale!

We’re having a sale in your honor! It’s our way of showing appreciation for your loyalty. Take 15% off everything and anything at dartagnan.com from April 22 through April 24, 2014.

Just remember to use the promo code THANKS at checkout. Enjoy!

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Be sure to come visit us on Facebook. And maybe even share photos of what you do with D’Artagnan products. We love to see what’s cooking!

It’s Time for a Giveaway!

We’re giving away a GRANDE CHARCUTERIE GIFT BASKET on our Facebook page. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the holidays (a little gift for yourself, maybe?).

With a value of $99.99 and 8 of our signature pieces of charcuterie packed inside, this is a savory gift basket anyone would enjoy.

Head on over and enter for your chance to win. Get social and share the giveaway to increase your chances. Bonne chance!

Must be at least 18 years old to enter. Valid only in the United States. Giveaway ends Dec. 18, 2013.

12 Hour FLASH Sale Today!

It’s time for another really big sale! For 12 hours — from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. today — take up to 40% off selected items at dartagnan.com.

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Sale on all Charcuterie!

You’re hungry and we’ve got the cure. All charcuterie is 15% off from September 4 through September 8 at dartagnan.com.

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