January Market is a month away! Before we get caught up in the excitement of market, we must take some time to reflect on the past year, enjoy time with family & friends, and celebrate the holidays. We asked stylist and author Annette Joseph for an Italian twist to our traditional holiday spread. Annette lives in Italy for six months out of the year and is the go-to for any and all Italian inspiration. Keep reading to hear from Annette, herself.
Annette Joseph: If you’re looking to celebrate the holidays Italian-style, look no further than a classic charcuterie. Circling around a rustic board filled to the brim with meats, cheeses, olives, pickles, crackers, jams and other accoutrements is just about as Italian as you can get, especially around the holidays. Below, I’m sharing a few snippets from my book, Cocktail Italiano, to help guide and inspire your own charcuterie platter.
Charcuterie Plate Primer 1. The Board pick out a wooden board- the bigger, the better. Of course, gauge your crowd- 24' x 30' is perfect for a gathering of eight people. I find beautiful cheese and cutting boards at flea markets. You can also use cake stands for a different look. Make sure you have plenty of spreaders, spoons, and forks all over the board for ease of serving. I also like to put bowls and plates on top of the board for some height and textural interest. I put the bowls on the board first as a great way to start building a Charcuterie platter. Using this configuration as my base, this approach makes it effortless to add all the ingredients, and build the composition.
2. The Cheeses Hard cheese like cheddar or pecorino, and soft cheese like burrata or brie. Arrange cheese wedges in a visually pleasant display, leaving room for the rest of the food categories. Creating an "S" design is the easiest way to compose the cheese on the plate.
3. The Meat Prosciutto, bresaola, salami, both sliced and whole, and a pâté. First, pile the thinly-sliced prosciutto near a wedge of cheese, then fan the sliced salami folded into a fan pattern next to an olive bowl. Place the whole salami in an open pace.
4. The Fruits, Olives, and Nuts Green and black olives, capers, pickled and stuffed sweet peppers, fresh berries, grapes, fresh figs, and dried fruits. Place the berries, grapes, or figs to fill in holes in your composition board. Olives, grapes, and nuts can all be placed in small bowls.
5. The Jellies, Jams, Spreads, Crackers, and Breads Jams or jellies in small jars can be placed in a space with a small spoon inserted. Layer crackers lined up and standing in a row into remaining cracks and spaces.
Of course, no charcuterie is complete without an accompanying cocktail. While a good bottle of wine is the quintessential charcuterie partner, I also love serving a classic Negroni, no matter what the celebration. My favorite Negroni in all of Italy is the Negroni from Bar Basso. Dubbed the Negroni Sbagliato.
Bar Basso is the most classic Italian bar you will set foot it. Its owner is famous for this amazing cocktail. It all started as a happy mistake, and those are the best kind. In my opinion, Bar Basso is what a bar should be like: it’s messy and unkempt, though it’s chic décor makes it authentic, warm and friendly. If you can’t find yourself in Milan any time soon, you can dream of warm days ahead while sipping this Negroni.
You will need:
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce lightly sparkling wine
Combine vermouth and Campari in an ice-filled glass. Top with sparkling wine, stir to combine and garnish.
Be sure to add Annette's next book, Italy is My Boyfriend, to your 2020 wishlist; it'll be available Spring 2020.