The Rocky Mountains, the Great Basin and the West Coast—the American West and Central America encompass a variety of terrain, characteristics and cuisine. Including the likes of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, this part of the country is experiencing a massive sustainability movement. Along with a strong Native American cultural influence, the use of sustainable foods has a large impact on the restaurant scene.
A Western charcuterie platter might focus on smoked, cured or dried meats made from free-range, grass-fed animals. A bonus would be meat that is hormone and antibiotic free with no flavor enhancers, cure accelerants or pre-mixes or sausages made with natural casings and sea-salt based cures. In an effort to eat clean and organic, local production is key. The idea of farm-to-table cooking with locally grown, organic produce is big in this part of the country.
For example, charcuteries such as Zoe’s Meats, Fatted Calf Charcuterie and The Farm Table in California practice a variety of techniques designed to serve clean, flavorful dishes. Zoe’s Meats is known for its prosciutto, which is aged for 12 months to seal in maximum flavor. Fatted Calf Charcuterie, which has locations in San Francisco and Napa, only uses meat from grass-fed, free-range cows. They offer unique flavor profiles by marinating with molasses and brown sugar, using organic spices and smoking their meat over fruit wood. The Farm Table works toward preservation and whole harvest cookery by striving to use local and seasonal ingredients and serving chef’s choice pickled seasonal vegetables on all of their platters.
California charcuterie also has Asian and Mexican influences. The growing wine industry in northern California makes for the perfect complement to its charcuterie fare.