If you haven`t figured it out by now, I might as well confess it. I love charcuterie, buying it, making it, eating it, drooling over it, and telling everyone about it. Charcuterie is the art of transforming meats, usually pork, into different products such hams, salamis, sausages, galantines, ballotines and more ines than I can even pronounce.
A couple of weeks ago I visited Markt Artisan Deli in Nanaimo, located in a group of shops that refreshingly doesn`t look like a strip mall not too far north from the Departure Bay Ferry Terminal.
Chef and Owner Ryan Zuvich, who has cooked not only in British Columbia but in Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe, was looking around for a new venture and decided on Nanaimo after he realized there were so many great meats and vegetables being produced in the region, but not that many chefs taking advantage of the availability. Opening a deli allows him to cook vegetables and transform meats in styles of many different countries without being pigeonholed into Italian, or French, for example.
Ryan serves lunches including delicious panini sandwiches like the one you see here on the left, and does special dinners a couple of times a month, besides all the homemade specialties proudly displayed in his refrigerated cases and freezers. These include pot pies, sausage rolls, roast beef, many fresh sausages, pates, bacons, and terrines. I tried a great rabbit terrine with hazelnut, brandy and prunes, Moroccan-style sausage with a nice hit of cumin, and some smoky, meaty bacon. Markt uses as much local meat and produce as possible and Ryan has been busy lining up farmers to provide him with an assured supply of all the ingredients he needs.
In the days ahead I`ll share other discoveries about charcuterie, including some of my own homework on the subject, and I`d love to hear from you about your favourite places in BC to find artisan charcuterie.