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La Charcuterie!

A guide to the best cured meats that France produces

When in France, you will most likely come across the classic charcuterie platter. A wonderful meal which is so simple in form, yet wonderfully complicated, it’s a meal which has been eaten in France for hundreds of years. It was the way to preserve meat before refrigeration, it’s now become a delicacy in its own right.

It’s the French version of our own Ploughman’s lunch, typically, you can expect to eat various cured meats, some pâté, baguette and cornichons accompanied with Dijon mustard. All washed down with a glass of red wine of course!

Every charcuterie platter will be different, some will be made up of pork meat only, others will include poultry meats too. Below is our quick and simple guide to the meats you’ll find in a typical French charcuterie platter.

Saucisson Sec

Le Saucisson Sec

French salami which is dry-cured, typically made of pork, but sometimes other meats are mixed in too. Covered in a skin which is usually removed before eating, the recipe contains a mixture of herbs and spices, but also in some instances fruit and nuts.

Le Pâté en Croûte

French for paste, pâté is usually made from liver, pork or game. This type of pâté is surrounded by a pastry crust and contains a savoury jelly.

Le Saucisson à l’ail

Garlic sausage, can be eaten with or without the skin. Pair it with some buttered bread to make the most of this flavoursome sausage.

Des Rillettes

A type of pâté, it looks like shredded pork meat, and usually comes in a jar with a layer of fat on top. As with normal pâté, it’s eaten spread on baguette.


Definitely an acquired taste, this sausage is made with tripe. It’s very strong, but one to say you’ve tried!


This is meat, usually boned poultry, that is glazed with a gelatin and served cold. It’s wrapped and cooked in its own jelly.

Du Museau Vinaigrette

Tastes like ham, and it is indeed made from pork, but the snout. It’s typically served in a vinaigrette or other similar dressing.


Jambon de Bayonne

The French version of Italian prosciutto, a thinly sliced dry cured ham.


Similar to a pâté, but usually coarser. They are typically cooked in an earthenware container, but will most likely be served cold.

Of course, you shouldn’t forget the accompaniments! Your platter will normally come with:

Des Asperges Blanches

White asparagus in a vinaigrette dressing

Du Céleri Rémoulade

Like a coleslaw, shredded celeriac covered with mustard and mayonnaise

And of course, it’ll all come served with fresh baguette, yum!

That will give you an idea of what to expect from a typical French charcuterie platter. And of course, where best to eat charcuterie? When in Rome…

Of course, you’ll find many different regional variations as you travel through France, but wherever you are, it will be delicious!

If food and drink is your thing, we have a truly sumptuous range of gourmet holidays to suit all palates, and don’t forget to ask the team what their favourite cold meats are, and their recommendations on ones to try. For advice on our foodie breaks, call our team on +44 (0)1580 214 010 and they will help you to plan the perfect getaway.