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Cheese & Charcuterie Boards: The Difference & How To Make Them

French Charcuterie Board
[1] A French charcuterie board. Here’s the “recipe” (photo © Domino).

German Charcuterie Board
[2] A German charcuterie board. Here’s the “recipe” (photo © Schneiders).

Italian Charcuterie Board
[3] Italian charcuterie board. Here’s the “recipe” (photo © Harry And David).

Spanish Charcuterie Board
[4] Spanish charcuterie board. Here’s the “recipe” (photo © My Kitchen Love).

Charcuterie Board
[5] A charcuterie board doesn’t have to be as elaborate as the ones above. Here’s a simpler version for a group of four (photo © Castello Cheese).

 

One of the easiest ways to entertain is with beer, cocktails, and/or wine and a cheese board. Or a charcuterie board. What’s the difference?

Simply stated, a cheese board is cheese plus accompaniments (fruit, condiments, bread, etc.). A charcuterie board can be meat and accompaniments-only or can include cheese as well.

A bit of history:

Cheese. According to the Dairy Farmers Of Wisconsin trade association, cheese has been around for many centuries, potentially dating back to 1200 B.C.E. (Most recently, in 2018, a salty cheese similar to feta was found in a 3,200-year-old Egyptian tomb. Here’s more history of cheese.

Charcuterie. Charcuterie, on the other hand, is a more recent invention—relatively speaking.

While using salt to cure meats dates back to the Roman Empire (625 B.C.E. to its fall in 476 C.E.), the concept of a modern-style platter of different cured meats was pioneered in 15th century France.

Literally, charcuterie means pork-butcher’s shop, from Middle French chaircuiterie, from chaircutier, pork butcher, from chair cuite, cooked meat. It is both the name for the shop and its products.

It was (and is) the charcutier’s skill that turned a butchered pig into bacon, ballotines*, confit, galantines*, ham, pâtés, rillettes‡, sausages, and terrines†.
 
 
CHEESE & CHARCUTERIE MEET UP

Given the French breadth of cheesemaking, it likely didn’t take long to add cheeses to a plate of cured meats, along with some delicious French bread, fresh and dried fruits, nuts, and condiments.

While condiments included such standards as mustard, mostarda, and savory jams (e.g. onion, tomato), straight sweetness was introduced via sweet jams, honey, and membrillo (quince paste fron Spain).

Much more has been added since then. Today, you can find an even greater variety of goodies on charcuterie boards:

  • Chutney
  • Crudités
  • Crisps, fine crackers, crostini, and breadsticks
  • Gherkins, peppadews, and other pickled vegetables and fruits
  • Olives
  • Spreads
  • Sweets: bonbons, caramels, chocolate bars, nut brittle, nut clusters
  • Specialty breads: cornmeal, raisin, walnut, etc.
  • Anything else that appeals to you (we’ve seen deviled eggs, Inca corn, and stuffed grape leaves, for example)
  •  
    We love charcuterie boards and can easily make a meal of them.

    They can serve as brunch, lunch, or a light dinner. You simply assemble the ingredients: no cooking required!

    Charcuterie boards are also a great complement to wines of all types.
     
     
    BEYOND FRENCH CHARCUTERIE

    While Greece and the Middle East have pastirma (also spelled basturma, highly seasoned, air-dried cured beef), sujuk (dry, spiced sausage), feta, halloumi, labneh, and much more to snack upon, they have a focus on mezze (a great idea for a brunch, lunch, dinner, or party).

    But other countries provide ways to create charcuterie boards from their meat and cheese specialties. Here are three of them.

  • German Style: Serve German ham, sausages (Liverwurst, Mettwusrst [pork sausage], Bierschinken Wurst [pickled pork sausage) Landjäger [smoked and dried pork sausage]), and cheeses such as Bergkäse, Butterkäse, Cambozola, Limburger, with gherkins, pickled beets, sauerkraut, soft pretzels or pretzel bread, dark rye bread—and a selection of German beers.
  • Italian Style: There’s a wealth of cured meats and sausages: capicola, lardo, mortadella,‘nduja, pancetta, prosciutto, salami, and soppressata. Compliment the meats and cheeses—orgonzola, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pecorino, ricotta salata, and the ever-popular marinated bocconcini (mozzarella balls)—with olives, marinated artichoke hearts, pepperoncini, roasted red peppers, ciabatta, focaccia, grissini (breadsticks), or other Italian breads. Pick Italian red and white wines, and don’t forget the bubblies, like Asti and Prosecco.
  • Spanish Style: Spain has tapas, which are individual dishes. You can easily have a tapas party with vermouth—a popular Spanish custom for brunch or cocktail party. But you can also create a charcuterie board with serrano (dry-cured Spanish ham), chorizo sausage), and cecina, another salt-cured, air-dried meat that is made from the hind legs of a cow. Manchego is Spain’s best-known cheese, but also look for Cabrales, Idiazábal, Mahón, and Ronca. Add green olives, membrillo (quince paste), Marcona almonds, and figs. If you can find it, serve with a Spanish-style baguette, pan de barra (French-style baguette will do). There are plenty of wonderful dry red Spanish wines—and for a sweeter touch, a pitcher of sangria.
  •  
    Of course, you can mix and match national specialties. Enjoy every bite (and sip)!
     
     
    > The Different Types Of Charcuterie

    > The Different Types Of Cheese

    > More Cheese Condiments
     
     
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    *A ballotine is traditionally a de-boned thigh and/or leg part of a chicken, duck, or other poultry. It is stuffed with forcemeat (ground or sieved meat and other ingredients), which can include ground pork.

    A galantine is a dish of boned stuffed meat, typically poultry, that is usually poached and served cold, often covered with aspic. Galantines are often stuffed with forcemeat (which can include pork) and pressed into a cylindrical shape.

    The difference: A galantine is usually cylindrical in shape, making it easier to slice. Galantines are also usually wrapped in cloth and poached in their own stock. Ballotines can be either poached or braised and are usually served in a broth made from leftover cooking liquid.

    A terrine is a meat, fish, or vegetable mixture that has been cooked and set in an oblong shape container. It is typically unmolded and served in slices.

    Rillettes are pork or other meat or fish, preserved with a method similar to confit, where the meat is seasoned then slow-cooked submerged in fat, and cooked at an extremely slow rate for several hours. The meat is then shredded, packed into containers, and covered in fat.

     

     
     

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    The Most Expensive Brunch In The World (Are You Ready To Go?)

    Just in case you’re looking to impress someone by taking him or her to a memorable brunch spot, head to Miami. The brunch at Zuma is the most expensive “bottomless” brunch in the world, served on Saturdays and Sundays.

    First, let us disclose that Zuma’s brunch is not about omelets and pancakes. It’s about some of the most in-demand Japanese izakaya* dishes in the world.

    A step back: The brunch survey focused on bottomless brunches—the term is a newer and more refined—term for all-you-can-eat and drink.

    The survey was commissioned by M Cash Advance (Merchant Cash Advance), which specializes in small business loans.

    The research they commissioned analyzed 1.4 million global monthly Google searches.

    It does come with, per some brunches, bottomless champagne, cocktails, and wine.
     
     
    WHAT’S ON THE BRUNCH MENU AT ZUMA

    The food appears to be similar to the even-more-expensive Asian-inspired dinner menu.

    In addition to bottomless food, there are bottomless drinks: beer, cocktails, Champagne and other wines, and saké.

    There is live jazz music and a river view.

    Brunch is offered in three price tiers. The top tier, Premium, is $395, without tax and tip.

  • Included in all three is a buffet-style selection of hot and cold foods such as sushi, sashimi, salads, bao buns, buttermilk fried chicken, and robata (charcoal-grilled) dishes.

    As if that’s not enough to eat, there are entrées, with each tier offering different choices. Premium diners can choose truffle-garnished rib eye, jumbo tiger prawns, or lobster tempura with wasabi mayonnaise.

    The Premium tier also includes a truffle hotpot for the table: rice, wild mushrooms, and other vegetables, topped with shaved black truffle.

    But do leave room for the towering dessert platter of exotic fruits, cakes, pastries, and sorbets.

    Not into Japanese food? Here are the other restaurants on the list:

  •  

    Zuma Japanese Food The Most Expensive Brunch
    [1] Zuma brunch is a true feast (photo © Zuma Restaurant).

    Zuma Most Expensive Brunch
    [2] A close-up (photo courtesy Food Nouveau).

     
    Most Expensive Brunches In The World
    [3] The bucket list for all-you-can-eat brunchers (image courtesy Merchants Cash Advance).
     
     
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    Peaches & Cream Recipes For National Peaches & Cream Day

    Peaches & Cream Recipe For National Peaches & Cream Day
    [1] Classic peaches and cream. The recipe is below (photo © Chef John).

    Peaches & Cream Recipe For National Peaches & Cream Day
    [2] The simplest peaches and cream: no cooking, just slice the peaches (photo © Spache The Spatula).

    Peach  Mousse
    [3] Peaches and cream mousse (photo © Chef Eric Cobb).

    Fresh Peaches For Peaches & Cream Recipe
    [4] Fresh peaches, with their leaves and blossoms (photo © The Lore | Unsplash).

    Pitcher Of Heavy Cream
    [5] Did you know that you can make heavy cream from milk and butter? Here’s how (photo © Art To Fit).

     

    June 21st is National Peaches & Cream Day. In older times, before ice cream and whipped cream were first created, the recipe was obvious: Slice fresh, ripe peaches and pour over some sweet, heavy cream. If you need a recipe, here it is.

    The classic combination of peaches and cream is as simple as it sounds: peaches, lightly sweetened and simmered, with a splash of heavy cream (photo #2).

    If you’d like more of a constructed dish, photo #1 shows peaches that have been simmered and mixed with heavy cream. The recipe follows.

    > There are more peaches and cream recipes below—everything from cheesecake to shortcake.

    > The history of peaches.
     
     
    RECIPE #1: CLASSIC PEACHES & CREAM

    This recipe is adapted from one by Chef John. If the peaches are very sweet, you can cut down on the sugar.
     
    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 ripe peaches
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUT each peach in half along the seam, twist it apart, and remove the pit. Peel and slice the peaches, cutting the slices in half to get roughly 2 cups of sliced peaches.

    2. BRING the sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil until a syrup forms, about 3 minutes. Stir in the peaches until coated. Bring the syrup back to a light simmer, about 1 minute. Immediately remove from the heat and pour the mixture into a bowl.

    3. TRANSFER the peaches into a large bowl using a slotted spoon. Pour in the heavy cream and stir to combine.

    4. DIVIDE the mixture between serving glasses, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely chilled and cream has absorbed all the peach flavor, at least 3 hours.
     
     
    RECIPE #2: PEACHES & CREAM PARFAIT

    This layered dessert (photo #3) is from Eric Cobb, Executive Pastry Chef at The Highland Dallas and Knife Dallas restaurant.

    His Peaches & Cream recipe is made from peach mousse with peach gelée, lemon sponge cake, peach sorbet, vanilla cream, and compressed peach salsa.

    You can make your own adaptation with:

  • Sponge cake or pound cake
  • Peach ice cream, sorbet, or yogurt instead of mousse (or make your own mousse by blending frozen peaches and heavy cream)
  • Whipped cream
  • Peach preserves
  • Fresh or frozen peaches, diced
  • Optional garnish: shortbread or other cookie crumbs
  •  
    Preparation

    1. LAYER the ingredients in a glass dish, wine goblet, Martini glass, or another vessel: cake, peaches, cookie crumbs, preserves, ice cream, whipped cream. You can change the order of the layers as you prefer.

    2. GARNISH with more cookie crumbs and serve.

     
     
    MORE WAYS TO ENJOY: PEACHES & CREAM RECIPES

  • Classic Peach Shortcake & Variations
  • Boozy Peaches & Cream Ice Cream Float
  • Fresh Peaches, Sliced, Atop Ice Cream
  • Grilled Peaches & Cream Shortcake
  • Grilled Peaches With Ricotta* & Honey
  • Ice Cream & Grilled Peaches
  • Layer Cake or Pound Cake with Peach Filling & Garnish†
  • Peaches & Cream Cheesecake
  • Peaches & Cream Frozen Yogurt Pops
  • Peach Ice Cream #1
  • Peach Ice Cream #2)
  • Peach Melba
  • Peach Milkshake
  • Peach Shortcake
  • Peach Yogurt (buy it, or mix chopped peaches into plain or vanilla yogurt)
  • Sliced Peaches & Cream
  • etc.

     
     
    ________________

    †Slice a pound cake in half, fill it with chopped fresh peaches and whipped cream. Optionally, top it with more whipped cream and peaches.

     
     

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    Celebrate National Ice Cream Soda Day With The Old & The New

    The recipe is simple: soda water, syrup, and a scoop of ice cream. There are many variations of syrup and ice cream, each creating a special flavor of ice cream soda. Make yourself one to celebrate National Ice Cream Soda Day, June 20th.

    Also called a float, because a scoop or two of ice cream floated in the water, the ice cream soda was born in 1874.

    In the late 19th century, ice cream was widely available through street vendors and at ice cream parlors. In 1874, the concept of the American “soda fountain” and the profession of the “soda jerk” emerged with the invention of the ice cream soda.

    More about the invention of the ice cream soda follows.

    It owes its creation to the soda fountain, a fixture of pharmacies that was the place to go in towns across America, long before there were coffee shops or other places for a snack in every neighborhood.

    By 1895 there were more than 50,000 soda fountains in the United States and virtually every one of them was serving ice cream soda, and more than 60 flavors of syrup* available [source].

    So even with just vanilla ice cream, there were plenty of flavors to be made.

    Before the 1890s, the ice cream soda was made with sweet cream instead of ice cream†.
     
     
    WHO INVENTED THE ICE CREAM SODA?

    There are three claimants.

  • Detroit: In 1875, Fred Sanders substituted ice cream for the sweet cream on a hot summer day when the sweet cream kept turning sour from the heat. Word spread around Detroit, and then around the country. Although the Detroit Historical Society 0says that it is likely the ice 12.o Detroiters.
  • Elizabeth, New Jersey: One day, Philip Mohr decided to add a scoop of ice cream to his sarsaparilla soda, and liked the result. More importantly, the customers at his soda fountain liked it. So Mohr advertised his new ice cream soda with a sign outside the store and the drink took off.
  • Philadelphia: Robert McCay Green, Sr., is most often cited as the inventor. His own account, published in Soda Fountain magazine in 1910, states that while operating a soda fountain at the Franklin Institute’s 50th-anniversary celebration in 1874, he wanted to create a new treat to attract customers away from another vendor who had a fancier, bigger soda fountain. After some experimenting, he decided to combine ice cream and soda water. During the celebration, he sold vanilla ice cream with soda water and a choice of 16 different flavored syrups.
  • Alas, competitors soon began selling the new sensation. Green’s will instructed that “Originator of the Ice Cream Soda” was to be engraved on his tombstone [source].
     
    Customers went wild for the ice cream soda. But not so, the soda fountain manager or pharmacy owner.

    According to the Dr. Pepper Museum, soda fountains wanted to get their customers in and out. The ice cream soda fought against that:

  • It took longer to make.
  • It required a freezer case for the ice cream frozen.
  • Patrons stayed longer to consume it.
     
    What is unfathomable to us now, some fountain managers went as far as refusing to serve them unless there were empty seats in the fountain!

    Fortunately, they couldn’t resist the ice cream soda-thirsty throngs for long. A paradigm shift occurred:

    The soda fountain became known for ice cream soda.

    In 1910, the modern electric milkshake machine was invented by Frederick J. Osius and commercialized by his company, Hamilton Beach, under the name Cyclone Drink Mixer. Let the milkshakes, malts (a milkshake with malt powder), and frappés begin!
     
     
    RECIPE: WATERMELON ICE CREAM SODA

    Here’s a new twist on the old-fashioned ice cream soda: watermelon juice and fresh watermelon balls.

    Thanks to the National Watermelon Promotion Board for the recipe.
     
    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 12 watermelon balls or cubes
  • ½ cup watermelon juice
  • 2 scoops coconut milk ice cream (or vanilla)
  • ½ teaspoon lime zest (or splash of lime juice)
  • ½ cup fizzy water (club soda, flavored carbonated water; for more coconut flavor, use sparkling coconut La Croix)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. STIR the lime zest into the watermelon juice.

    2. PLACE half of the watermelon balls in a tall glass. Add one scoop of ice cream, then add the remaining watermelon balls.

    3. ADD a second scoop of ice cream. Pour in the watermelon juice.

    4. TOP with the fizzy water for bubbles, club soda, or other flavored carbonated water. Serve with a straw and a long (iced tea) spoon.
     
     
    ________________
     
     
    *Some of them: anise, apple, apricot, banana, birch beer, blackberry, blood orange, Catawba, celery, champagne cider, cherry, chocolate, cinnamon, cognac, concord grape, coriander, crabapple, cranberry, cream soda, crushed violets, currant, egg chocolate, egg phosphate, ginger, ginger ale, gooseberry, grape, greengage, grenadine, horehound, java, lemon-lime, maple, mead, mint julep, mocha, mulberry, nutmeg, orange, orris root, peach, peach almond, peach cider, pear cider, peppermint, pineapple, pistachio, plum, quince, raspberry, raspberry cider, raspberry vinegar, root beer, rose, sarsaparilla, strawberry, Valencia orange, vanilla, walnut cream, wild cherry, and wintergreen.

    †Today this type of soda would be similar to the Italian cream soda, called a French Soda or cremosa.

     

    Black & White: Chocolate Ice Cream Soda With Vanilla Ice Cream
    [1] Classic: a “Black & White,” chocolate soda with vanilla ice cream (photo © Make Your Own Soda | Clarkson Potter).

    Thai Ice Cream Soda
    [2] Something different: an ice cream soda made with Thai iced tea instead of carbonated water, garnished with pistachio nuts (photo © Geraud Pfeiffer | Pexels).

    Root Beer Float With Vanilla Ice Cream
    [3] Classic: a root beer float with chocolate ice cream (photo © American Heritage Chocolate).

    Watermelon Ice Cream Soda Recipe
    [4] New: How about a watermelon ice cream soda: watermelon balls, watermelon juice, ice cream, and fizzy water. The recipe is below (photo © National Watermelon Promotion Board).

    Orange & Vanilla Ice Cream Soda
    [5] New: A “Creamsicle” ice cream soda: orange soda with vanilla ice cream (photo © Jarritos Mexican Soda | Unsplash).

    Ice Cream Soda With Cornflakes
    [6] New, different, fun, crunchy: This ice cream soda has a layer of Cornflakes—or Fruit Loops, if you prefer (photo © Kansha Creamery | Los Angeles).

     

     
     

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    Baileys Colada: Irish Cream Liqueur Subs For A Pina Colada

    Baileys Colada Pina Colada Recipe
    [1] A frozen Baileys Colada (photos #1 and #2 © Baileys).

    For Dessert, Baileys Colada On Ice Cream
    [2] For dessert: Baileys Colada over ice cream.

    Koloa White Rum Bottle
    [3] For the Frozen Colada uses Baileys plus white run and spiced rum. We’re fans of Koloa rums from Hawaii (photos #3 and #4 © Koloa Rum).

    Koloa Spiced Rum Bottle
    [4] A high-end spiced rum from Koloa (photo © Koloa).

     

    We’ve been an enthusiastic fan of Baileys Cream Liqueur, launched in Ireland in 1974, the first Irish cream liqueur on the market. (Here’s the history of cream liqueur.)

    In recent years, they’ve launched new year-round flavors, limited editions, and seasonal editions: Almande, Apple Pie, Baileys Espresso Crème, Red Velvet, Salted Caramel, Strawberries & Cream, and Vanilla Cinnamon, among others (here’s the current lineup).

    And perfect for summer, Baileys has brought back one of our all-time favorites…
     
     
    BAILEYS COLADA

    We love Baileys Irish Cream, we love Piña Coladas. So a blend of our the two was bound to be a hit with us.

    The flavors of creamy coconut and sweet pineapple create a creamy liqueur that’s ready to serve straight from the bottle.

    We didn’t even need to chill it!

    But others may want to enjoy it over ice or serve it blended with ice into a frozen summer cocktail.

    We’re “putting away” a few bottles, and purchasing more for gifts.

    In fact, the clerk at our liquor store had to ask why we were buying a case!

    Here are two for starters. But before you mix anything, pour yourself a shot and luxuriate in the creamy flavors. It’s a Piña Colada without the effort of mixing one.

    And for the easiest “special” dessert: drizzle it over ice cream or pound cake—or pound cake à la mode. Optional garnish: fresh pineapple.
     
     
    RECIPE #1: FROZEN COLADA

    This recipe uses frozen pineapple instead of ice cubes to create a frozen drink. You can freeze fresh pineapple chunks, or buy frozen pineapple.
     
    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1-1/2 ounces Baileys Colada Liqueur
  • 1 ounce white rum
  • 1/2 ounce spiced rum
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1 ounce cconut cream
  •  
    Preparation

    1. ADD all ingredients to a blender and pulse until the pineapple is broken up. Blend until smooth.

    2. POUR into your glass of choice.
     
     
    RECIPE #2: WHIPPED COLADA LEMONADE

    This recipe has an exotic rim of tamarind paste and desiccated coconut.

    Since most of us don’t have tamarind paste, you can substitute 1 tablespoon of white wine (or champagne, or sherry) vinegar mixed with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.

    Or, skip the rim!
     
    Ingredients

  • 2 ounces Baileys Colada Irish Cream Liqueur
  • 2-1/2 ounces full fat coconut milk
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • For Rim: tamarind paste and desiccated coconut (shredded or flaked)
  • Ice cubes
  •  
    Preparation

    1. DIP the top of a Collins glass into a plate of tamarind paste, then dip it into a separate plate of desiccated coconut.

    2. FILL a blender with about 12 cubes of ice. Add all ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a Collins glass.

     

     
     

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