Fifty Best Charcuterie

Charcuterie was introduced by the Romans, and evolved into a culinary art by the French. The word "charcuterie" is from the French chair cuite, meaning "cooked meats". It was originally used as the process to preserve meat, centuries before refrigeration, but the practicality as well as its delicious flavors account for its continued evolution and popularity, through to the present. Charcuterie includes a wide range of products such as pâté, sausage, terrine, galantine, and mousse. The primary base was mainly pork, but over time it has expanded to encompass beef, lamb, game, poultry, vegetables and even fish. There are several different methods of production: forcemeat (a mixture of ground lean meat and fat, which can be smooth or coarse); salt-curing and brining; and fermenting. Although salumerias-- specialty shops that offer a wide range of charcuterie, have existed in ethnic pockets of major cities, today they have moved into the mainstream, and are springing up all over. Also, a number of creative chefs are making their own artisanal charcuterie items in-house, combining the old world tradition with new world ingredients and techniques.

We tasted samples of charcuterie from the best sources in the world: France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Canada, and the U.S. Our selections were based on these five criteria:

1. Outstanding flavor

2. Texture, including mouthfeel as well as tenderness

3. Highest quality ingredients

4. Versatility, the number of ways it can be enjoyed (on its own, with other foods, or as a recipe ingredient)

5. Consistency of product

Running the gamut from a siky French goose liver pâté to a chewy Italian salami, these items paired with bread, cheese and fruits are perfect for hors d'oeuvres, picnics, hearty lunches or simple suppers. They are reasonably priced, have a long shelf life, and of course, amazingly tasty.



The Fifty Best Charcuterie


  Country: Spain  

                             5 Jotas

                                    Gold medal

                                    5 Jotas Ibérico Ham
             Paleta Ibérica Bellota


  Country: U.S.A.  


Gold medal

Alexian Pate
Pheasant Rosemary Paté

  Country: U.S.A.  

Aux Délices des Bois
Chorizo, Uncured Fennel Salami, Hot Sopressata, Sopressata

  Country: U.S.A.  


Silver medal

Boccalone orange and wild fennel salame
Orange and Wild Fennel Salame

  Country: Spain  
Casa Vieja Jamón de Teruel
Jamón de Teruel

  Country: France  
Charcuterie Bonnard Saucisson Sec
Saucisson Sec

  Country: U.S.A.  

Charlito's Cocina sausage & salami
Black Truffle Sausage, Country Sausage,
Dry Cured Chorizo, Beer Salami


  Country: U.S.A.  


Silver medal

Columbus Italian Dry Salame
Italian Dry Salame

  Country: U.S.A.  


Gold medal

Creminelli wild boar salami
Wild Boar Salami

  Country: U.S.A.  


Gold medal

D'Artagnan Smoked Duck Breast
Smoked Duck Breast

Comments and Suggestions:

Fri. August 11, 2017 4:20 AM - by: semona
Cooked meats are very popular in France and some other European countries as it reduces the difficulty to clean and boil the meat. We can easily make a variety of dishes using these cooked meats. It is a time saver too.Country Wine and Spirits don julio 1942
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Fri. July 4, 2014 11:58 AM - by: F Killoran
This is quite a good selection of the better products. But, there is one obvious exception: Palacios of Spain is by no mean a gourmet producer. On the other hand, it is very commercial and loses no opportunity to push its products which are not bad but nor are they great.
Wed. July 31, 2013 3:13 PM - by: Warren Bobrow
Ah, Russ & Daughters would not have Charcuterie. They are not that kind of place...
Sat. December 31, 2011 7:34 AM - by: Tim Proctor
One of the greatest air dried hams in the world is made in SW France adjacent to the Pyrenees it is Jambon de Bayonne, or Bayonne Ham. Matured for a minimum of 7 months this ham is a slightly sweet, delicately flavoured moist meat with very little salt to the taste, and if cut thinly, is almost translucent. For one of the best try the 12 month matured from La Ferme Elizaldia in Gamarthe near St Jean Pied de Port who won the gold medal in the years Paris Agricultural show.
Thu. November 18, 2010 2:58 PM - by: Christof E Schaertlin
I miss the saucisson vaudois in yourlist
Mon. May 17, 2010 9:26 PM - by: addam
Pretty shocked Salumi Meats in Seattle did not make your list. Mario Batalis father operates it, they ship worldwide and the meats are outstanding; Columbus makes you #6? Salumi blows it away! Check em' out:) Cheers!
Wed. March 31, 2010 12:53 PM - by: Diane
So, into which catagory do deli's like Russ & Daughters fall?

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Fifty Best > Food > Charcuterie
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