When you think of an old-fashioned butcher shop, you might imagine bulky wood block tables, big meat cleavers and rows of tubular-shaped sausages, wound with rustic twine, dangling over the butcher’s counter.
Today, however, those enormous butcher blocks have been replaced by pristine, white, nylon cutting boards and the butcher’s favorite tool–that iconic cleaver. Well, modern band saws and pre-packaged, factory-fabricated steaks have made that tool all but a relic from the distant past.
Yet, with all the changes in the meat industry, with all the modern efficiencies and high-tech equipment, one sacred artisanal product (and art) has STILL remained popular (dare I say, even TRENDY) after all of these years.
And that is the art of charcuterie.
Charcuterie [shahr-KOO-tuhr-ee], which also includes sausage making, is a term used to describe the making of pâtés, galantines, rillettes and various assorted specialty meat preparations, some cured, some smoked, some prepared in terrines or encased in links.
What was once old (the art of charcuterie dates back well before the 15th century) is now one of the most fashionable items on many current restaurant menus, even in Detroit.
To that point, virtually every one of my most recently reviewed restaurants in Detroit, including Gold Cash Gold, Antietam, Republic and Top of the Pontch had charcuterie items prominently featured on their menus. And the trend is nowhere close to fading. In fact, many new restaurants are constructing their kitchen layouts to accommodate the equipment and space needed to feature these delicious items on their menus.
What makes the art of charcuterie so special? So unusual? So costly?
Using a similar analogy, making wine (generally speaking) isn’t that hard, right? You crush grapes and ferment the juice. Making fine wine is a WHOLE other proposition. They’re worlds apart from one another, and one is MUCH more expensive to produce than the other.
The same holds true with meats and charcuterie.
First, you begin with the talent and experience of someone who really knows what they’re doing, someone who understands that it takes quality ingredients, an exceptional recipe and time-honored techniques to turn chopped meat, fat and spices into a remarkable charcuterie product.
While the idea of chopping up little bits of meat and adding some seasoning seems like a pretty simple thing to do, trust me when I tell you (because I’ve eaten more than my fair share of poor charcuterie), it’s a talent learned (and done well) by few.
Talent, quality ingredients and the time needed for it all to come together just right cost money.
Quite similar to what sushi chefs learn, the ingredients have to be über fresh and their recipes and methods have to be exacting in order to achieve the remarkable results that people pay a premium to enjoy.
Our butchers at Nino’s make some awesome fresh sausages, but when it comes to hard, cured, smoked and dried sausages, we turn to the experts. Below are some of the selected charcuterie products you can find at Nino’s.
Italian Dry Salame
Bianco D’Oro Italian Dry Salame
Genoa Salame Tradizionale
Schaller & Weber
Calves Liver Pâté
Autentico Chorizo Picante
In addition, we have an outstanding selection of cured and smoked bacons; prosciutto; Hunter, summer and winter sausages; jerky (also considered charcuterie) and artisan lunch meats.
Another stellar idea is to enjoy a Nino’s Cheese & Charcuterie Board, available through our Party Planning Guide. It’s a gourmet selection of cheeses with artisan salame, olives, peppers, spiced nuts and grapes. It comes complete with crackers and a sliced, fresh-baked baguette, and it serves 15 to 20 people. You can even order it complete with its own butcher-shop board!
The old days have finally returned!