This holiday season, licorice light posts and gumdrop garages have gone out of fashion, and they are being replaced with prosciutto paths and salami stairs. Gingerbread houses long signified the season, with their sugary siding and colorful constructions. But this year, those with less of a sweet tooth can have their own edible abode with the latest social media trend: charcuterie chalets. Yes, you heard that right! The cute little cabins get built out of cured meats and cheeses — and they are going to be big this year (or at least we hope so).
For the last few years, increasingly complex charcuterie boards have become more and more popular and have spread further from their casual party snack or shared appetizer roots. There was a warning sign of what was to come, perhaps, when Fisher-Price started selling a pretend charcuterie snack set toy for children last holiday season. And Halloween-themed boards showed that some people were using their time at home for something far more complex and photogenic than a 300th loaf of sourdough bread. So, we all should have seen the writing on the wall — and that it spelled out “mortadella mansion.”
Once you have a solid construction out of crackers, a variety of cured meats make for excellent shingles and sides, while the world of textures and colors from cheeses mean endless options for fantastical flourishes. Once you add in all the traditional garnishes for charcuterie boards, like dried fruit, nuts, and sliced vegetables, the sky’s the limit on what you can do with your prosciutto palace. Start on a large wheel of Brie for a snowy setup, or construct the sides out of sausage logs; make a cheeseball and pistachio tree, or a path out of crunchy peas. Whether you call it a “Fromage Cottage,” which takes a little liberty with pronunciation, or a “Charcuterie Chalet,” the important thing is that savory folks now have an amazing, delicious answer to the gingerbread house.
Want to learn how to make your own Fromage Cottage? Nicole Easterday of FARMCurious (the person behind the amazing first chalet!) is teaching a virtual class on December 12 for just $40.
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