April 5, 2016
By Ashley Materi
Charcuterie boards are a trendy, interactive way to share a meal. They allow you to sample cured meats, pâtés, cheeses, preserves and produce that complement one another. Plus there’s a bonus—charcuterie pairs great with wine!
Grapes Wine Bar at the Fairmont Banff Springs is an excellent choice for charcuterie. The former ‘Castle in the Rockies’ library now offers an elegant-yet-relaxed dining atmosphere. It’s perfect for a date night or intimate evening with friends.
“Everything is cut fresh for the board,” says chef Tyler Thompson. “We make our own pickles, jams, chutneys and pâtés, and some of our own charcuterie, including lambchetta.” Of course, no charcuterie is complete without freshly baked bread.
Grapes’ menu is influenced by the Fairmont’s ‘snout-to-tail’ concept—sourcing and using whole animals. “Sometimes we take a part of the animal that people don’t usually eat and make something special,” Thompson says.
For those who enjoy a surprise, the chef’s selected board offers a variety of artfully presented charcuterie curated by Thompson. Diners who prefer to customize their own meals can choose from à la carte options.
As its name suggests, Grapes boasts a fantastic wine list. Thompson often suggests a dry white chenin blanc from Quail’s Gate winery in BC’s Okanagan Valley.
At Table Food + Drink, the professionals take care of the guesswork. The menu includes three specialty charcuterie boards (pork, chicken or fish), a chef’s board and build-your-own selections.
This hidden gem inside Canmore’s Coast Hotel & Conference Centre offers soft seats by the fireplace, counter seats at the bar and tables beside large windows with courtyard and mountain views.
“Charcuterie is making its way back because of its simple presentations and endless flavour combinations,” says Table executive chef Luke Griffin. “It takes the pretention out of dining, promotes conversation and gives clients the chance to interact with our chefs.”
Table’s pork board includes rillettes (similar to pâté), prosciutto (dry-cured ham), semi-soft cheese and pickled vegetables. Executive sous chef Michael Ooms suggests a pairing of Château Camplazens grenache, a full-bodied red wine from southern France.
On the fish board, smoked wild salmon, tuna tataki and goat cheese are highlighted, while the chicken option features sliced French terrine, cheese and cherry preserves. Ooms says a crisp white wine like Red Rooster pinot gris from the Okanagan goes best with seafood. The dark fruit flavours and smoky finish of Montequito malbec from Argentina pair well with the chicken charcuterie, he adds.
Orso Trattoria at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge offers charcuterie in a rustic-elegant regal room with a stunning view of Lac Beauvert and Mount Edith Cavell.
Orso means bear in Italian—this connects the restaurant with the animals that often frequent the lodge’s golf course.
Executive sous chef Paul Shewchuk explains that Orso’s concept is reminiscent of a northern Italian restaurant full of family and friends. “It’s about coming together at the table.”
Orso’s antipasti board features cured meats like prosciutto, and cheeses including hard and flavourful piave. Many items are imported from northern Italy; others are from local producers.
Executive chef Christopher Chafe says acidic wines pair well with the robust tastes on the antipasti board. He recommends Jorio Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, a bold red from Italy.
Canadian Rockies chefs put their own marks on charcuterie boards—with delicious results. Share a board with your loved ones; don’t forget the wine!
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