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What is Charcuterie?

Charcuterie (pronounced shahr-koo-tuh-ree) are artisanal specialty meats—cured, dried, and aged for extended periods before they are ready—often served as cold cuts on platters. Everyone knows salami and pepperoni, but then the list gets less well known, including prosciutto, pancetta, capocolla, Salami and other meats.

Charcuterie is restaurant food. Something your order with your cocktails before the main event. Generally it comes with artisanal, house-made pickles and bread made from wheat ground by tiny elves in the restaurant's basement, or whatever.

What if it's actually the secret to a super chill, no-stress holiday gathering?

So you have two options: you can dig deep into the book and make your own charcuterie to serve on a board. Or, you can buy some salamis, pâtés, and cured hams  and make a charcuterie board that would takes less than ten minutes.

Charcuterie—a culinary specialty that originally referred to the creation of pork products such as salami, sausages, and prosciutto—is true food craftsmanship, the art of turning preserved food into items of beauty and taste. Today the term encompasses a vast range of preparations, most of which involve salting, cooking, smoking, and drying.

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Dinner with La Quercia

La Quercia creates premium quality American prosciutto, The company appreciation for cured meats and the growth of premium artisan-made American foods by offering unique dry cured meats of the finest quality.

La Querica focuses on tradition and making  “old world style” product and the facility as a family business. La Querica makes dry cured meats in the Italian tradition. The business was started before you could import these types of meats and they wanted to fill a gap in the market. They built the plant in 2004 and in February of 2005 they sold their first ham. The plant employs 24 people and there is only one shift that includes sanitation, and they work 5 days a week. Prosciutto, they emphasized, is not cooked, but rather is a combination of salt and pork that creates this dry cured product. They have attempted to mimic the process that is traditionally what peasants would have done in Italy, and the plant was designed to help with that process. The prosciutto is made mainly from Berkshire and Tamworth pigs. They buy their meat from farmers that cater to specialty services, have no antibiotics, pledge to no confinement and one of their producers is also organic. They believe that breed makes a difference because dark haired pigs have a higher intramuscular fat content and shorter muscle fibers. Only whole muscle pieces are used at La Querica – nothing is ever ground, fermented, or cooked.

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Jamón Ibérico

The meat of the Iberico pig has health benefits so similar to olive oil that the Spanish call this acorn-fed pig "the four-legged olive tree.
Iberico pork is prized for it's marbling, succulent texture, and incomparable aroma and great flavor. The Iberico pig's unique metabolism, coupled with exercise and the ability to convert acorns (de Bellota) into oleic acid, result in unrivaled and distinctive marbling and high levels of monounsaturated fat.Iberico pigs are 100% pasture raised and free ranging. With only 2 animals per hectare (2.47 acres), there is plenty of room for the pig to roam, root and exercise.

During the montanera (period of fattening in the autumn), Iberico pigs feed mainly on fresh fallen acorns, up to 22 pounds per day. Low in sugar, these acorns are rich in complex carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. The acorn diet not only imparts a delicious nutty flavor to the meat, it also has amazing health benefits for the consumer: this succulent pork is extremely high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids and oleic acid, a monounsturated fat known to lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol and raise HDL ("good") cholesterol.

The Results
Delicious: Juicy, succulent and redolent of acorns in aroma and flavor.
Healthful: Exceptionally high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.