A charcuterie bouquet, aka salami flowers (salami & friends really) is a delicious arrangement of cured meats and other supporting edibles such as pickles, cherry tomatoes, bread sticks or pretzels, cheese cubes, grapes…
You get the idea. More importantly, a charcuterie bouquet can reap great rewards where flowers would normally fail.
Plus, the sex of the recipient really does not matter. I’ll quote personal experience. Chris couldn’t care less for flowers. They are not beer.
Whereas I love flowers, the sight of cut flowers makes me infinitely sad. I simply cannot look forward to watching them shrivel up, rain petals, die and decay. Instead, present me with potted, not yet blossomed white flowers (not into pink or red). Never an even number of flowers, that means death and is bad luck. A single elegant orchid or an odd number of snowdrops if it is March, even garlic chives near the blossoming stage is much better.
Or a charcuterie bouquet. Now this is an awesome alternative. I can devour everything you see in the pictures of the bouquet I put together for Chris and I. It was a joint gift from us to us, along with several tasty brews from California. He bought the ingredients and I arranged them.
How to Make a Charcuterie Bouquet
There is only one important thing to remember really.
Make it with whatever dried cured meats the recipient loves to eat the most.
Otherwise, what is the point to put it together, really? Chris loves Italian dry salamis (so do I), is crazy about pickled okra (as am I), has a soft spot about miniature beef hot dogs and beef jerky (a shared one) and always piles up peperoncini over his Italian deli sandwiches.
Consider the following tips:
- for a vase choose a heavy, wide top vessel. I used a heavy half liter glass beer stein. If I’d gone with a large, wide mouth mason jar or a smallish tin bucket instead, I would have definitely weighted down the bottom with a rock wrapped in paper or something similar. You really need a steady base.
- use long bamboo skewers and a good pair of scissors to trim them with in order to create varying height for the ‘flowers’.
- in advance make adequate space in the refrigerator to store the charcuterie bouquet once assembled and prior to being gifted. Do cover it with plastic wrap so it will not dry out. Clearly, this is something you will present in a home environment. If you can get away with making the bouquet and immediately gifting it – do it!
- the best choice for the wrapping paper which helps support the arrangement is the variety of butcher paper that is coated on one side.
The proper name for such paper is polyethylene coated freezer paper. It is expensive, so the best way to obtain some is to buy bacon or sausages or whatever you want from the specialty meat & seafood section of the grocery store and they will most likely wrap it up in freezer paper after plastic bagging it first. The paper will most likely remain in perfect shape to be reused.
Fold the freezer paper in such a manner that the coated side faces inwards, surrounding the salami flowers (and friends). Nothing, not even sub-par charcuterie bouquet arrangement skills (ahem, look closer at my ‘flowers’ for a visual:) will have as adverse of an aesthetic effect as the oil blotches that will appear on the paper when in contact with the meats if it were not the coated variety.
- use edible greens such as parsley or spring onions or chives to decorate the arrangement.
And…you don’t need me to tell you that a charcuterie bouquet is an automatically desired eating for a beer and food pairing, right? I always think German beers when salami is concerned, also many of the Belgian styles…but don’t let me influence you. Go with the beer the recipient enjoys best.
Beyond the Salami Bouquet – more DIY gift ideas for beer lovers
If you feel that assembling a flowerless bouquet might be too much work, consider these easier gift ideas.
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