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October 11, 2010

I’ve had an idea which won’t work. But that doesn’t matter, because I’ll never try it out. In my head it’s a rip roaring, hugely desirable, bleeding edge little bar, and that’s good enough for me.

You see charcuterie is really pretty fantastic, and so is bread, and so are wine and beer. Really very fantastic as a matter of fact, and so it’s a wonder that no one has combined that to great effect in Bristol. Or London indeed. I know that lots of places do their own charcuterie – anyone who’s been in a pub with even the remotest pretensions of gastro will know that. And there are wine bars which serve charcuterie, and some of them make a big deal over it.

That’s not quite the point.

The point is, there are no charcuterie bars which also serve wine.

So here’s the idea. It’s in the city centre, and it’s lovely inside. You know the thing – frustic brick and wooden tables with benches and a bar with a cracking wine list, like a cheeky glass of quality red for three quid you can quaff in your lunch break. And ales, of course.

So then the charcuterie. There’d be the things you get everywhere, like terrines of sweetbreads, and hamhock things with parsley and jelly, and pork rillettes. But there’d also be things like chicken galantine, and home cured saucison sec with just a bit of garlic, and there’d be cured tenderloin and bresaola, and pork pies and pate en croute, brawn and pate a tete, and proper rustic pate de campangne and sausages stuffed inside goose necks and all that sort of thing. It’ll all be rustic, not preened, rough around the edges and fucking delicious. Really good charcuterie.

Because that’s actually really difficult to find. Sure, you can get a ham hock terrine in any old place, but a goose neck sausage? Not a sausage.

There’s more. In a big glass cabinet, which might be half the space, there’d be a maturing room hung with strings of saucison, chorizo and salami, york hams and jamon hanging from the rafters, and people would be able to watch over two years as a leg of pork turns into the most stunning piece of ham you’ve ever seen and it would be brought out into the bar with great ceremony and trumpets. Of course, a venture like this would never last two years, but I know someone with a trumpet so we could work around that.

So during the day, in the kitchen I’d just be making charcuterie, and an arrogant but lovable French man called Claude would be serving nice wines by the glass or by the bottle. Then at lunch time, people who work in horrid offices would come and have a slab of pate de campagne and a great hunk of crackling fresh bread (we’d have great bread) and a few nice little gherkins or a bit of chutney, and a carafe of wine (which would be better value) and for an hour, everything would be right with the world. There wouldn’t be pudding, or cheese, or main courses, or salad, but who needs them. Actually, there might be a bit of salad, but that would be it.

In a book I’ve got, there’s a black and white picture of a crusty old French man holding a huge platter out before him. On it are enormous slices of bread, cut from a huge miche de pain, and they are layered with equally huge slices of pate, just great doorstops of food which makes this shallow stair case to the top of the plate. And I just think that if I could do that, and sell it to people, wouldn’t that just be great?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2010 14:01

    If you build it they will come !

  2. October 14, 2010 11:52

    You mean a place like this? You should do it, and if you made your own you could make it miles cheaper than all the competition who import the stuff!

    • October 25, 2010 23:32

      You can be my Jamon importer (at least until my own is ready)…

  3. November 4, 2010 13:52

    there are many wine bars in our area and i always visit them coz i love to drink ..

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