the meat & tweet
I was invited to Charcutweeterie, a get-together organized by Josh Leo and hosted at Reserve, a wine bar I had been to once before. The premise is simple: Reserve provides the charcuterie (an assortment of meats and cheeses) on the house, a Reserve chef explains the selections, you order a wonderful wine from their huge selection, and you share the experience with a group of 10 mostly strangers (i.e., people you feel like you know because you’ve tweeted with them but probably don’t actually know in real life). Oh, and you’re tweeting throughout the experience to let everyone else know what a great time you’re having and make them jealous… yeah, I think that was the idea.
So, a few things I loved about Charcutweeterie:
- The knowledge and stories of the Reserve chef. I’m a sucker for people who know foodie stuff and share it with passion. I feel bad that I don’t remember the chef’s name, because something feels wrong about being so excited for his wisdom but not having the decency to remember who he was. (Sorry, dude-of-awesome-charcuterie-ness. Thanks for your eagerness to give us the full scoop on where the goat cheese comes from, why the distance it travels matters, how French guilds were split so that those in charge of charcuterie could actually make quiche, and so on.)
- The interesting and diverse food. I grew up with a family of hunters, so butchering deer was an organized weekend activity that brought aunts, uncles and cousins together. As gruesome as that sounds to some people, it was a learning experience for me. I feel like it’s left me for a respect for all that goes into creating certain dishes, and it’s also given me more of a gut for trying new things. And Reserve provided plenty of new things: rabbit rillette with goose fat, pork head cheese, chevre, and “face bacon” (a different cut of pork from the jowls). Not to mention the best quiche I’ve ever had, plus some amazingly creamy goat cheese.
- The mix of people. I think I can safely say this group wouldn’t come together like this otherwise. Some of us have crossed paths in our professional spheres, some of us might run into each other at local events, but we would not have a reason to organize a happy hour for the 10 of us. In a town where people run in many established circles and it’s easy to stay in your comfort zone, I appreciated Josh’s effort to bring 10 mostly strangers together. Of course, I am not an extrovert in these settings, because I do better connecting over a shared project than I do connecting for purely social reasons… but I still liked getting exposure to new faces, and I hope to run into some of the folks again and chat more in another setting.
- The ambience. I avoid anything that feels what I consider “slick” — e.g., modern just for the sake of being modern, cold, and/or having the attitude of “Come here to see and be seen, and don’t you dare relax.” (Our art museum kind of feels like that, for comparison’s sake.) Reserve has all the nonchalant coolness that could make it feel slick, but I still feel at ease when I’m there. Maybe it’s because they went out of their way to set the record straight when they opened. I took to heart their Facebook messages about feeling free to wear jeans and just enjoy the experience of falling in love with wine. Their tone made it clear that cool and modern was their style, but cold and off-putting was not their culture. I found this reflected in the way the chef chatted with us and how our waiter engaged us, which I really appreciated.
The June event is going to be a fantastic gathering of great people and awesome charcuterie!
If you would like to attend a future Charcutweeterie, just leave a comment with your twitter user name in the comments!
Emily Zoladz is a GREAT photographer and she was kind enough to snap some photos while we were all enjoying the charcuterie selections.
ekuhn: #Charcutweeterie happening now. Feeling a bit weird about having my phone on the table. So rude. Oh well, they made the rules.
grgrub: Getting ready to eat some wonderful cured meat…
Meholland: I just learned more about a pig’s thighs than I thought possible.
lisarosestarner: Eating lots of Charcuterie with GR friends
ekuhn: calabrese, chili garlic so awesome.
kimkibby: Am I bastardizing this delicious prosciutto by adding mustard? Oh, who cares.
joshleo: Salami with chili and garlic has a nice little kick
Meholland: Maybe it’s psychological but I CAN taste the cheese in the Prosciutto Di Parma ham.
ekuhn:moving on to hams now. Starting with a 21 month aged from Tennessee. After one more piece of wild boar.
joshleo: Prosciutto time! Comparing all 5
joshleo: Country ham is nice and smoky Speck Americano is creamy and smooth
kimkibby: Spicy salami – calabrese – recommend!
ekuhn: it is official, I am only eating pork that has been fed from the scraps of a cheese factory.
NicksMuse: Wild boar + Berkshire Prosciutto + Prosciutto Di Parma + bread + wine + cool peeps = #charcutweeterie
lisarosestarner: Hams include: Benton’s City (Tennessee), Prosciutto di Parma, Speck (Italy), Speck Americano (Iowa), Berkshire
Meholland: Ok, just hand me the entire pot of mustard. I could consume that on its own. #puremoutarde
joshleo: Cheese fed pigs are always better
lisarosestarner: Berkshire Prosciutto is my fave on the platter…
czoladz: At #charcutweeterie, sampling aged meats.
ekuhn: An evening well spent indeed.
lisarosestarner: Creminelli Aged Meats: Finnochiona, Calabrese, Varzi, Felino, and Wild Boar. Boar won out for me.
EmilyZoladz: On second glass of Vouvray.
ekuhn: last piece of boar on the plate. The last piece of boar is always the best.
ReserveGR: Cheers to our guests who joined us for another night of #Charcutweeterie!
The May Charcutweeterie event is going to be another fantastic mix of social media and cured meats! This month’s attendees are:
If you would like to come to a charcuterie event in the future, leave a comment with your twitter username and you may be added to the list!