Charcuterie boards have become a de rigueur sight in Toronto restaurants these days. But most times they feature Italian products and often it’s just sliced salumis served with a few pickles. No way you’re getting filled up on that.
That’s why you’ve got to head to d|bar's Monday Charcuterie Nights, where you get to sample some of the city’s most sumptuous cured meats, pates, mousses and terrines.
Celebrity Chef Daniel Boulud himself came to town on Monday, February 29th, to launch d|bar's Monday Night Charcuterie program. Boulud been at the forefront of charcuterie for years and is so dedicated to the craft, d|bar has a year round in house specialist (trained under master Charcutier Gilles Verot) whose sole job is to make authentic and diverse charcuterie.
The program is overseen by the talented team of Sous Chef Charlie Bronson, formerly of Bar Boulud London, and Junior Sous Chef Steve Chajka, who just finished an intensive 10-day training program under Aurelien Dufour, Executive Chef Charcutier for Daniel Boulud.
In a small fridge in the Boulud kitchen, seasoned pork legs, duck breasts and assorted sausages hang. Smoked pancetta and duck prosciutto, for example, are cured for two to four months but there’s a pork leg that been in for over a year and will be ready to come out soon.
Housemade pates take two days to make – ingredients have to be seasoned, brined and cooked separately and then carefully assembled. One of the hardest and most time-intensive things to make? Pate en croute - which requires a lot of pastry work - is further complicated by multiple layers of ingredients that can’t be viewed until it’s been cooked, cooled and cut.
On Monday nights from 5 to 10pm, you can select five items from a menu filled of seductive housemade charcuterie, terrines, pates, mousses and cheeses, served with grilled thick bread and crisp crostini, housemade pickles of cauliflower, beet root and carrots, and a glass of wine chosen monthly by Sommelier and Wine Director Drew Walker for $35 per person.
Not only is this charcuterie the best in the city, it’s also a fabulous way to try a variety of enticing ingredients and textures all in one go. And unlike other boards, because of the creamy, rich pates and terrines, you definitely won’t feel like you have to go get a burger afterwards.
So eat as Europeans do. It’s so much fun - it feels like you’re at a chill dinner party.
Here’s a closer look at this week's menu:
Jambon de Paris
Pig legs get injected with brine, vegetable stock and salt. Maple syrup is added so the result is a combination of salty sweet, but subtle. The thick rustic slices have great texture and a picnic-in-Paris feel.
Cured and smoked pork belly is delicate at first with a robust finish.
The dry aged sausage made with black pepper, garlic and red wine has a wonderful creamy fattiness that’s completely addictive.
Foie Gras Mousse
Foie gras and chicken liver gets a dose of hazelnut, finished with wine jelly. Decadent yet light, it’s perfectly balanced.
House dried and aged duck breast is so rich and velvety, it’s as desirable as dessert.
Pâté Grand Père
This elegant, never cloying pate features two different textures of pork, foie gras, black truffle, and cognac. Divine.
Duck aux Agrumes
Braised duck with citrus fruit terrine sounds so simple, yet it’s one of the best duck items in the city.
Made with chicken, roasted peppers, and rosemary, this terrine is a celebration of spring - an herbaceous, fresh chicken stew elegantly encapsulated in gelée.
Dried and cured pork loin is cured for five months. Dry, almost crisp, it has a sophistication and polish that you don’t often see in cured meat.
Pâté en Croute
One of the menu’s most exemplarily items boasts pork, venison, blueberry, fig, and a touch of vodka enveloped in a to-die-for pastry crust. Between the texture of the meats, fragrant fruit, and the stunning, dense but never heavy pastry, it’s a complete knockout.
Menu items listed can and may change each week. Cheeses are also available including Big Momma, Salers, Eagles Nest, Grey Owl, Geai Blue and Fuoco.
And in case that’s not enough, the room is filled with a fabulous energy (it’s a veritable who’s who in here) and extremely attentive service.
See you there.
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