Have you been to Freson Bros. before? From the moment you walk in, until the second you leave, you can’t help but enjoy the experience! The aisles are spotless, the produce impeccable, the selection impressive and the staff always helpful and smiling (okay, smizing… its 2020!).
The whole Freson shopping experience is wonderful, start to finish! It’s hard to say what we love most about this store. As passionate Albertans, it’s amazing to see a family owned and operated business like Freson Bros, so committed to supporting and promoting other small Alberta Farmers, Growers + Entrepeneurs! If there ever was a time to shop local it is now- and this is the place!
For us, creating traditions for our families, especially around the Holidays, is so important! While this year won’t be the same as others, one thing that certainly is not cancelled is our Christmas Eve tradition of Charcuterie! The kids love the fun presentation, the colorful array of items and the fact that they can choose what they want to eat! This Holiday Season, we will be sourcing all our Charcuterie items from Freson Bros. Frankie, Richelle’s little Grocery store lover, had the BEST time accompanying her mama to the Stony Plain location of Freson Bros. to select all the delicious food items for this years’ board!
Never made one before or in a Charcuterie rut? No worries! We have 5 simple tips for you to make your Charcuterie EPIC!
1. Give Lots of Options- Not everyone loves all kinds of meats or cheeses, so by providing a multitude of options you can ensure there is something for everyone. Freson Bros. Deli Kitchen has everything you could possibly need and MORE!! We recommend 4-5 different types of Cheese. We were so lucky that one of the amazing staff members at Freson’s was able to make some great suggestions of local cheeses to try. We went with Brie- a staple, Irish Cheddar with Port, Jalapeno Havarti, Wensleydale Apricot Cheese, Champagne Cheddar (a new personal fave!!) and a mouthwatering FRESHLY made Mozzarella cheese that Freson Bros. creates from scratch- IN HOUSE!!
Then come the meats. We absolutely LOVE that Freson Bros. carries so many incredible meat options that are made right here in Alberta. We were so excited to try some of the offerings from VDG Salumi (made in Calgary) such as the Lemon Chilli Cacciatore, Spiced Proscuitino, Cervelat Salami, as well as the Lemon and Oregano Salami and Hot Genoa.
Next, think beyond just the standard cheese, meat and grapes. We’ve found that the best boards have many easy-to-grab items that guests can pick at over the course of the evening (and a few glasses of vino!). Include fruit, nuts, spreads, pickled foods and even throw in a few veggie options if you are inclined!
2. Mix Sweet and Savory Flavors- Many skip the sweet flavors on a charcuterie board and we believe this to be a critical error! Think Brie Cheese with raw honey, sprinkled with truffle salt… need we say more?? Some of our favourite sweet ingredients to include can be found in the Market Garden section of Freson’s – organic apples, pears, berries, and melons, Honey (we have a slight obsession with Drizzle!), Chutney, Spreads, pickled veggies, dried fruit, nuts and even CHOCOLATE. Have fun with it and get a little adventurous! For this years, we grabbed Yellow Plum with Tumeric & Chile preserves made by the Preservatory (out of Langley, BC) and Caramoomel Pinot Noir Wine Jelly from Kelowna.
3. Presentation- One of the keys to an envy-inducing Charcuterie board is aesthetic appeal.. aka how fantastic it looks all put together! We always start by putting a few small bowls or ramekins spaced through out the board. Next add in all your condiments (jams, honeys, mustards, olives, spreads like hummus etc). The, place cheeses around your cheese board- it is more visually appealing to have various shapes and sizes around the board! When it comes to meat- cut up some pieces such as your VDG Salumi Lemon Chilli Cacciatore, roll some of that Spiced Proscuitino, and stagger the other incredible local meats around. It makes items much easier to grab when rolled and placed in different spots. Space out your carbs around the board. Arrange breadsticks, various types of crackers, and bread in different designs to create depth and vary color! For this board, we selected the Roasted Garlic & Hatch Chile Sourdough and the Alberta Sourdough Baguette from Freson’s Mother Dough Bread Co. made in house using Alberta made Levain for authentic local flavor!
4. FILL the Board- Let no space go empty! If you have run out of ingredients, feel free to add decorative and edible garnishes that create a little flair. I love to use Fresh, Organic Herbs such as Rosemary, Dill, Thyme and Basil. You can also use other local produce found in Freson’s Market Garden, such as Spicy Arugula, Butter Leaf Lettuce, Kale, or Pomegranate seeds for little zip of Freshness to cut the richness of Meat & Cheese! We also love sliced grapefruit, plums, and halved figs or kiwis placed through out the board. A few other finishes we love to add at the end- clementine oranges watermelon radishes, and gooseberries! Have fun playing with the colors and textures. We often make our boards a mixture of charcuterie and Crudité to add more color and freshness! For hints on how to do that- check out this post!
We hope these Charcuterie tips help you to create a fun tradition in your homes this Holiday Season. We highly recommend stopping by our friends at Freson Bros. to find all the amazing fresh, local ingredients you need! You can find their locations, hours and Covid Protocols here.
Huge thank you to Freson Bros. for sponsoring this post! As always, our thoughts, opinions and recipes are our own.