The Art of Charcuterie in Whistler

A server places a charcuterie board down on a table at Stonesedge Kitchen in Whistler.

The Art of Charcuterie in Whistler

Charcuterie boards, with their artful array of cured meats, artisan cheeses and assorted accoutrements, are a contemporary twist on a centuries-old indulgence. Always a tastemaker, Whistler has wholeheartedly embraced this European-inspired sharing plate and there are plenty of eateries that take great pride in their charcuterie offerings. 

Though meat and cheese arrangements are popular in many cultures, the word charcuterie originated in France in the 1400s to describe the process of preserving meat (mostly pork) through salting and smoking – the loose translation being cooked flesh. The butchers (known as charcutiers) carefully arranged their meats in beautiful displays when they were ready for sale. Over the centuries, the concept stuck and charcuterie boards grew to include breads, preserves, fruit, cheeses and more. Today, charcuterie boards, dubbed adult Lunchables after the beloved childhood snack, make for a fun, interactive and Instagrammable dining experience. 

Cornucopia, Whistler’s signature food and drink festival, takes place in November and there’s no better time to celebrate all things meat and cheese. Here are some handpicked charcuterie stops you can enjoy with your bubble while visiting Whistler.  

Alta Bistro's charcuterie board is a colourful display of meats, cheeses, fresh fruit and crackers.

Alta Bistro’s fresh, seasonal charcuterie board features house-made and locally sourced meats and cheeses, finished with accoutrements from their extensive preserve library. PHOTO AMBER TURNAU

Alta Bistro

“The beauty of charcuterie is that it’s so fun and simple, yet flavourful,” says Chef Nick Cassettari of Alta Bistro.

With a commitment to fresh, local and seasonal ingredients, Alta Bistro carefully curates a mouth-watering charcuterie board filled with bold flavours. The Cured Meat Taster and Alta Deli Board (which includes cheeses) tell a story – one of supporting BC suppliers who share the same passion for their craft, and who take pride in quality and flavour. 

The selection of cured meats is always evolving with what’s in season, though you may find duck pastrami, a hint of venison liver and house-cured bison tongue making an appearance. The French Canadian restaurant manager, Jessica, has also dreamed up a flavourful pork cretons, a pâté-like meat spread and delicacy in her home province. The deli board features a selection of BC cheeses, including the popular Kootenay Mountain Cheese Company’s Alpindon, modelled after a French Beaufort d’Alpage. To complement the platter you’ll find fresh sourdough, pumpernickel and fermented rye crackers, signature maple mustard and garnishes from Alta Bistro’s extensive house-made preserve library. 

To celebrate Cornucopia, Alta Bistro is running a Lot 40 Whiskey three-course tasting menu with pairings and welcome cocktails alongside their brand new two-course menu for $49. 

A man holds a charcuterie board filled with meats, cheese, chutneys and crackers in between two cocktails at Bar Oso in Whistler.

Enjoy a craft cocktail with a fine selection of European and house-cured charcuterie in Bar Oso’s Spanish-inspired lounge. PHOTO AMBER TURNAU

Bar Oso

Enjoy a board and a craft beverage at Bar Oso in Village Square, the perfect space for an intimate date night. This stylish, Spanish-inspired tapas lounge is a must-do for cocktails, tasting plates and, of course, a great selection of charcuterie. 

Chef Jorge Muñoz Santos, originally from Madrid, brings the vibrant flavours and interactive dining culture from his native Spain. The tapas lounge has three boards on the menu. The Fresh Charcuterie Board features pâté, rillette, liver parfait and a rotating selection of cured meats made in-house. The Cured Charcuterie Board is arranged with imported meats like cured beef bresaola and serrano. Sample both imported and house-made with the Fresh and Cured Board, and opt to add a selection of Spanish cheeses (the Valdeon blue is a highlight). All boards are served with homemade pickles, chutney and crostini.  

Choosing a drink to accompany your charcuterie may be the most difficult decision you’ll make all night. The drink menu features an assortment of colourful cocktails like the Firecracker Margarita and Trophy Wife, as well as sangria and a selection of wines from Spain and British Columbia. If you love G+Ts, they also have an impressive gin list. Be sure to try the Seaside Gin from Vancouver Island’s Sheringham Distillery.   

Bar Oso is hosting a Spanish Tapas and Cocktails Tasting event during Cornucopia at The Cellar by Araxi on November 18.  

A server places a charcuterie board down on a table at Stonesedge Kitchen in Whistler.

Sample BC meats and cheeses on a rotating charcuterie menu at the trendy Stonesedge Kitchen. PHOTO STONESEDGE / MIRAE CAMPBELL

Stonesedge Kitchen

Enjoy the tradition of charcuterie in the lively atmosphere of Stonesedge Kitchen. Sample a rotating selection of cured meats and cheeses, curated from Vancouver Island’s top producers. Though the offering is always evolving, you may find delights like blue brie, salami and prosciutto. The board is always finished with seasonal chutneys and jellies, pickles and house-made sauces like truffle honey and beer-infused mustard. 

This season, Stonesedge is introducing a new Manhattan-inspired cocktail menu, featuring an exciting list of artisan whiskeys and vermouths. 

Watch for charcuterie and drink specials throughout the month of November. Stonesedge Kitchen is also hosting a multi-course wine-paired dinner with Bordertown Winery, prepared by Chef Robert MacMillan, at the Whistler Conference Centre on November 8. 

A chef works in the background with a freshly prepared charcuterie board set on the table in the foreground.

Basalt’s charcuterie offerings combine Old and New World flavours, designed to complement their extensive wine menu. PHOTO BASALT / JEFF BOYCE

Basalt Wine and Salumeria

“The perfect charcuterie board should include a combination of Old and New World flavours,” explains Michael Guy, Director of Food & Beverage Operations at Basalt.

The restaurant’s extensive charcuterie offerings give a nod to the rich traditions of European cured meats with a few innovative twists.

There are several boards to choose from: The Basalt Board, The Tour Board, The Wild and Local Board and Cheese Only. Taste traditionally cured sopressata and prosciutto di Parma or enhance your palate with fennel salami or chicken liver and bacon mousse. Along with an assortment of bread, pickles and preserves, you can also sample BC’s foremost cheeses. The Cloth-bound Cheddar from Farmhouse Cheese in Agassiz and the Jersey Blue from Golden Ears Cheese in Maple Ridge are among Chef Bill Grimshaw’s current favourites.

Basalt’s exciting wine menu features an alternating selection of more than 20 local and international wines. If you have to choose just one, the Blaufränkisch from Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery is a light-bodied, flavourful red that complements a charcuterie beautifully. 

A round charcuterie platter with cheeses, crackers, veggies, olives, meats and sweet treats.

Good Grazing Whistler brings the charcuterie to you. Order a grazing box, table, or board for your bubble. PHOTO GOOD GRAZING WHISTLER

Good Grazing Whistler

If you want to keep your bubble tight, Good Grazing Whistler brings the charcuterie to you. Enjoy a personalized picnic box, grazing table, or board in your hotel or the great outdoors

For owner Caitlin Devlin, it’s all about creativity and combining contrasting flavours and textures: savoury and sweet like blue cheese and honey or crunchy and creamy like dried fruit and brie. Try a generous serving of locally sourced goodies: hard and soft cheeses, cured meats, artisan breads, seasonal fruits, nuts, dips, olives and more. Favourites include the maple or Champagne cheddar, truffle sheep’s cheese and a decadent manchego. Each box comes with sweets and chocolates for a finishing touch.

Good Grazing offers a selection of vegan options as well. 

A colourful charcuterie platter with meats, cheeses, flowers, berries, chutneys and sauces.

Picnic Whistler arranges artfully crafted boxes, boards, grazing tables and personalized picnics for meat-eaters and vegans alike. PHOTO PICNIC WHISTLER

Picnic Whistler

“Meats and cheeses are always a staple order for clients of Picnic Whistler, but it’s what goes with them that’s always the most exciting,” says owner Amy Mac.

Picnic Whistler offers customized boxes, boards, tables and personalized picnic experiences. 

Every star (meat and cheese) needs supporting actors. This year’s award goes to the dried shiitake mushrooms and the hummus, which are elevated by adding dried chickpeas, paprika and a drizzle of olive oil on top. Picnic Whistler also offers a vegan charcuterie-inspired box, featuring Blue Heron cheeses that are surrounded by colourful local produce. No matter what the order, it’s all about combining classic flavours with local specialty foods to create an explosion of salty, sweet, fresh and savoury in every arrangement.

If all of this talk about charcuterie has you excited to make your own, there’s a Cornucopia workshop for that. Join BC Wine Studio and Picnic Whistler on November 15 for an interactive night of charcuterie and wine, where you’ll learn how to build the perfect cheese and charcuterie board with wine pairings.

Whistler’s Cornucopia has been reimagined for 2020 and returns for the entire month of November. For more information take a look at What’s Hot and Noteworthy at Cornucopia 2020. Whistler.com’s Stay & Dine Package starts at $128 per person, per night and includes a two-night stay and paired dinner. And if you’re looking ahead to winter, make sure you secure the best deals on lodging and packages by booking before December 1

Amber Turnau

Amber Turnau

Amber is a freelance storyteller and outdoor adventurer who has spent 9 years living in the beautiful Sea to Sky Corridor. When not crafting content and creative for her clients, she spends her spare time snowboarding, hiking, biking and SUPing her way through the wilds of BC. Fun Fact: she spent the first 7 years of her life living on a sailboat and travelling the world with her family. Now, she has the best of both worlds, splitting her time between ocean and mountains—and loving every minute of it.

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