Cheese & Charcuterie

By Eric Twardzik
Eastern Standard

There’s a time for house-made pastas, whole grilled fish, and perfectly seared steaks. But sometimes lingering over a board of salty meats and rich cheeses with a glass of wine just hits the spot. When our craving for cheese and charcuterie reaches high tide, you’ll find us at the following Boston-area venues.

A meal at Pammy’s, a modern trattoria perched between Central and Harvard Squares, is best begun with the ever-changing Antipasti della Casa. Translation? A tray spilling over with fare like fried scamorza cheese, dry-aged charcuterie, pickles, pencil-thin breadsticks, and house-made terrine, pâté, and mustard. Pair with a drink from the Aperitivi menu, like a draft Negroni or the citrusy Campari-and-vermouth cocktail Spanish Steps.

The above restaurants may have excellent meat and cheese selections, but you can make an enviable board at home after visiting one of the three Formaggio Kitchen locations spread across the Boston area. You’ll discover dozens of options for charcuterie and fromage. Perhaps it’s a night fit for jamón serrano and an aged French chèvre? Or you can take it easy and pick up the pre-selected Formaggio Favorites package, which mixes three half-pound cheeses with smoked Landjäger sausage, Spanish chorizo, a link of Tuscan salami, and a bag of Italian olive oil crackers. Don’t forget to pick up wine while you’re at it.

Coppa is an Italian enoteca envisioned by Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer of Toro and Little Donkey—so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that charcuterie and cheese occupy significant space on the menu. The house-cured salumi, as well as cheeses curated by neighborhood mongers at Formaggio Kitchen, are priced a la carte, so feel free to stack your own board with the likes of duck prosciutto, beef heart pastrami, spicy soppressata, and Italian taleggio.

The Butcher Shop

The Butcher Shop

Called The Butcher Shop, prolific Boston chef Barbara Lynch’s meat-forward South End spot offers small or large boards in four variations. Choose from Salumi, Pâté & Terrine, Cheese, or Antipasti. The composition changes all the time, but you can expect to encounter favorites like prosciutto or robiola cheese alongside more adventurous fare like Bulgarian-style lukanka salami or gamebird pâté.

Both the cheese and charcuterie boards served at Eastern Standard are worthy of the swank Fenway bistro’s old-world charm. While the board compositions rotate frequently, expect a savory selection of meats or cheeses with some sweets to balance them out: think sweet soppressata, bresaola, tomato jam, and cherries, three-year-aged gouda, or wildflower honey. The platters are served on a proper board with slices of baguette (and go well with a classic cocktail from ES’s well-appointed drink menu).

The Salty Pig

The name should be a giveaway, but yes, Back Bay’s The Salty Pig happens to specialize in build-your-own meat and cheese boards. Start by selecting your meats, which could be anything from a 16-month-aged Prosciutto di Parma to a house-made bacon-encased rabbit pâté, and then pair them with cheeses ranging from Spanish Manchego to local favorites like Vermont’s Mad River Blue. Your last step to charcuterie bliss includes choosing the “Round Outs,” delectable miscellanea like Smoked Shallot Marmalade or Vermont Wildflower Honey.

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