Provender Brown Perth Deli
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Building An Italian Charcuterie Board

Italian Charcuterie is a core staple at Provender Brown deli; read on for great tips and expert advice on building a tasty Antipasti Board.

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As with most modern food trends, Provender Brown has been singing the praises of Italian Charcuterie for over 15 years. One of our original core products, we are dedicated fans of these flavoursome and versatile cold cuts, and offer a fantastic range for you to choose from.

As I’m sure you’ll know, charcuterie was originally used as away to preserve meat before the advent of refrigeration. Pork would be transformed into bacon, ham, sausages and terrines, ready for storing through winter.

In 15th century France charcuterie was considered peasant food, but as with all great culinary ideas, it is now a deli staple with a focus on artisanal flavours, rather than long life.  Today, Italian cold cuts are still made from pork and include salami, prosciutto, salsiccia, pancetta, and many more.

Don't be fooled into thinking these are all largely the same thing; the various names represent the cut of meat as well as the processing and curing styles, which tend to be heavily influenced by geographical region, each one producing a distinctive flavour and texture.

Often served on a wooden board or slate tray, modern charcuterie has been made famous by our love of antipasto; the Italian first course made up of cured meats, cheeses, fruits and pickled produce. An ideal introduction to the feast to follow.

As you might expect, we’re loving the current mood for a well thought out charcuterie board and we can confirm, based on years of experience, that it is by far one of the best options to while away a few hours in lockdown. Just add some cheese, bread and a glass or two of wine and you’re ready for an afternoon of utter pleasure.

Find out more about our grazing platters to order >

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PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the world, Italian food enjoys a reputation of high quality, thanks to its centuries-old traditions and dedication to excellence. This heritage is certified by the European Union through a series of geographical indications that include PDO (Protected designation of Origin) and PGI (Protected Geographic Origin).  We stock authentic, fully-certified products and excellent examples of the following meats can be found in our deli section >

Salami

Probably the best known of the continental charcuterie products, salami come in a wde array of sizes and styles. Fundementally, salami are salted and spiced meat, ground and forced into an elongated, thin casing, then left to undergo natural fermentation and drying for days, months, or even years.

Countries and regions across Europe make their own traditional varieties of salami but some of the best-loved are from Italy.  Currently we stock:

Milano - Finely ground pure pork 

Napoli - a more coarsely ground salami with black peppercorns

Veneto - a soft and fragrant salmi flavoured with garlic and wine

Finocchiona - a Tuscan speciality that uses a fine minced pork together with rich, spicy fennel seeds

Spianata Calabrese - classic hot and spicy salami from Calabria, with a traditional crushed shape.

Ventricina - coarse ground and seasoned with pepper, ground pepperoncino chillies and paprika

Prosciutto

Prosciutto is just what the Italians call ham and can be cooked (Prosciutto Cotto) or air-dried (Prosciutto Crudo).  Parma ham (Prosciutto di Parma) is probably the best known type of Prosciutto Crudo.  We often stock a 16-month matured Reserva Parma ham but at the moment we are offering Prosciutto di San Daniele instead.

Prosciutto di San Daniele is made in the foothills of the Dolomites in the region of Friulli Venezia Giulia and is a particularly sweet and aromatic ham.  It you really want to appreciate its the nuanced sweetness then serve it on its own, as they often do in Friulli – but it also works wonderfully with sweet fruits like melon and fig, creamy cheeses like mozzarella and burrata, or with freshly baked sourdough breads.

The European Union has recognised it as a product with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), which certifies its area of origin and the unique processing techniques.

Pancetta

One of the most commonly used Italian meats, Pancetta is made from the same cut as bacon – typically pork belly - and is cured in garlic, salt, spices, and ground pepper, with other aromatics often added to give distinct flavours.  Technically, it can be eaten thinly sliced as it is, but we tend not to use it in this way.

Pancetta can be sold sliced paper thin, or cubed. The thin slices can be wrapped around vegetables or meat before cooking. The pancetta cubes are often used like bacon, sautéed with onions or garlic to form the base of a soup, pasta, or risotto.

Packed full of flavour, an Italian Carbonara or Arrabbiata pasta dish would be considered incomplete without this sweet, fatty meat.

Lardo di colonnata

If I suggested to you that cured pork fat was a delicacy you may take some convincing but this amazing charcuterie from Colonnata is a delicious thing that we’ve only recently come to appreciate – of course the Italians have been eating it for centuries!

The lard is taken specifically from the back of the pig and cured in a marble basin with a mixture of salt, pepper, rosemary and garlic. Not all lardo is from Colonnata but that is the most prized, so much so that in the facade of some buildings in Colonnata there are visible artworks that depict the ancient curing techniques from around the nineteenth century.

The curing techniques have been handed down from generation to generation to make sure that Lardo di Colonnata retains its coveted IGP-protected status.  Best served very thinly sliced on good quality hot toasted bread - no butter required!

Guanciale

Guanciale pork meat comes from the jowl or cheek of the pig, and its devotees claim there is no substitute for it. This delectable, robustly flavoured meat is seasoned on the surface with salt, pepper, sage, rosemary and garlic although it's worth noting that seasoning may change region to region based on tradition and curing habits.

It is then dried and aged for at least 3 months, a process which concentrates the flavours.
Italians love their guanciale and for good reason – the fat lends marvellous flavour to any meal as it is so strong that a little bit of the meat goes a long way.  It makes the very best carbonara!

Njuda

Nduja (pronounced in-DOOJ-ah) is a particularly spicy, spreadable pork sausage from the region of Calabria in Southern Italy.  Pork meat (bacon and bacon fat) and pork fat (lard) are ground very finely, with the addition of sweet pepper, hot pepper and salt. After careful processing, everything is stuffed into natural casings, smoked with olive and orange wood smoke from organic farming and transported to special maturing rooms to rest for at least 30 days. Calabrian chilli peppers give 'nduja its characteristic fiery taste.

If you're visitng the Deli in George Street, then items below can be found pre-packed in the large fridge at the back of the shop. 

Salsiccia

Salsiccia are basically sausages but the Italian versions tend to be chunkier than our own, often with the addition of pancetta and lots of herbs and spices.  These make a fantastic pasta sauce or are great cooked with San Marzano tomatoes, onions and red wine and served on a bed of polenta.

You will find our Salsicca (fresh Italian sausges) in the pre-packed deli fridge – plain Napoli or with the addition of fennel or chilli). 

Coppa

Coppa is made from the shoulder and neck cuts of a pig. Unlike other dry sausages, production begins with a whole cut of meat that is not ground. This is generously rubbed with salt and left to dry cure for several weeks to a month or more.

After the aging process the salt is rinsed off using white wine and the meat is seasoned with paprika, pepper, garlic and other spices. The seasoned cut is then dried or cold smoked to promote moisture loss.

When finished the coppa is a deep red colour which comes from the peppers and paprika, and can be mildly spicy to moderately hot.

Bresaola

Bresaola is an Italian cured meat that is sliced thinly and served chilled or at room temperature. Bresaola has an IGP trademark (protected geographical indication) limiting its production only to certified master butchers in the Lombardy region.

Compared with many other types of cured meat, bresaola is very lean, as it is made from a single muscle and any outer fat is removed before curing. Bresaola is a bit like a lean prosciutto made with beef instead of pork and slightly reminiscent of pastrami in terms of flavour.

Cotechino / Zampone

Cotechino Modena or Cotechino di Modena is a fresh sausage made from pork, fatback, and pork rind, and comes from Modena, Italy, where it has PGI status.

The name comes from cotica (pork rind), because cotechino was developed to use the pork rinds and the less valuable parts of the pig. Since pigs were generally slaughtered in December, this sausage became a traditional dish to serve on New Year’s Eve, along with lentils, which traditionally bring good luck and wealth.

Zampone Modena is closely related and also has PGI status.

How do I know how much charcuterie I need for my grazing table or buffet?

This is one of those questions that I often feel I need to answer with a question!  Some things to consider are:

Are you serving your charcuterie alongside more hearty dishes or will it be the main star of a grazing table or buffet?  Do you have cheese and other accompaniements being served alongside your charcuterie? And most importantly, how are hungry are your friends likely to be?

As a rough rule I'd serve at least 50g per person on a mixed board - see our Cheese Shop page for info on cheese - unless the charcuterie is the main attraction at which point you can double up to 100g and serve it with bread, crackers and olives. 

Tips For Creating a Grazing Style Charcuterie and Cheese Board

  • Mix up the flavours and textures. Go for a hard salami, a soft, rich pâté and perhaps something spicy or tangy like a sausage. Consider also serving hot or cold smoked salmon or trout - but make sure they're on their own serving dish!
  • Add antipasti and condiments. Olives are a must but you should also try nuts for crunch, stuffed mini peppers and of course, plenty of saurkraut or pickles.  I also like to have a fresh dip and two or three mixed chutneys to cater for different tastes.  See our Chilled Antipast and Olives selection and also our Pantry Shop for pickles, gourmet meats and pates with longer shelflife.
  • Serve at room temparature. We will slice your meats in the deli meaning all you need to do is lay it up on the plate and serve at room temparature. Take it out of the fridge at least an hour before you serve.
  • Bread or No Bread? I'd always serve it with fresh bread, oatcakes or a selection of savoury biscuits and crackers. If you have a day old sourdough then toast it gently and drizzle with olive oil. I could eat that right now!

You can order cheeses, pates and charcuterie here on the website , in multiples of 200g (cheese) and 100g (pate and charcuterie). Olives and antipasti - a tasty accompaniment - are sold in 150g multiples.

More Chilled Deli Meats >