What better way is there to class up your inner carnivore than with charcuterie? The Euro flair of cold cooked meats collectively displayed on a board alongside cheese and various accompaniments has reached the Northern Michigan food scene in recent years, and we couldn’t be happier about it.
A board full of pork protein, prepared with true craftsmanship … Can you say, “Yumm?!” Not only is charcuterie art on a plate (talk about the self control it takes to not snap a photo once this dish hits your table top!), but it’s food art, too. Cooked via different styles, charcuterie is a culinary speciality that both professional and budding foodies appreciate.
Here are our top five restaurants serving charcuterie in downtown Traverse City.
106 East Front St., Traverse City
Six charcuterie options are offered at The Franklin located on the corner of Cass and Front in downtown Traverse City. Pairing their pork with various cheeses, in-house mixed berry jam, fruit-based moustarda, baguettes, parsley caper shallot salad, and a pickled medley of onions and radishes makes their charcuterie presentation pure eye candy.
The Franklin’s Charcuterie Master, James Westbrook, celebrates charcuterie often with classes for the public.
115 Wellington St., Traverse City
When the owner greets you with a large pig leg in his hand, you know he means business. Eric Patterson of The Cooks’ House gets his charcuterie from Bakers Green Acres in Marion, and is the only restaurant in town to do so. While you won’t find a charcuterie board on their menu every night, The Cooks’ House presents cured lardo on salads and panchetta on walleye.
When asked if he thinks Traverse City charcuterie is just a trend, Eric says, “I think it’s around to stay awhile. Chefs are getting back to simple, basic flavors.”
203 Cass St., Traverse City
“I take something that can’t be eaten, and craft it so it can be,” says Chef Chris Hoffman of The Towne Plaza. His passion for charcuterie shines through with his housemade preparations. Choose charcuterie on its own, or pair his pork with cheese (he buys 50 pounds of cheese a week).
An expert in his craft, Chris even gets visits from the Great Lakes Culinary Institute for tours of his kitchen on the corner of Cass and State.
118 Cass St., Traverse City
The term charcuterie has French origins, chair cuite, representing quite simply: cooked meat. At Bistro FouFou, 90% of Sous Chef Matt Anderson’s cross-country culinary career has been French-influenced, making him well versed in the charcuterie craft. Throw in an additional art background, and Matt’s plate presentation is pure perfection.
“It’s fun to see the old things come back with a new twist,” he says in regards to the same charcuterie preservation method that’s been done since before the days of refrigeration.
128 South Union St., Traverse City
If you’re looking to choose your charcuterie in an underground candlelit location, Low Bar should be right up your alley. The ambiance inside the cocktail lounge brings people back to pre-prohibition days, making it almost feel like the charcuterie extends the throwback across the menu.
Photographs by MyNorth Media’s Kris Riley.
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