Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ploughing Through

Ploughman's lunches are as English as blood pudding, shepherd's pie, and afternoon tea. A traditional pub meal, the components central to a Ploughman's Platter are crusty bread, cheese, pickles, and chutney. Although images of hunks of bread and hearty slices of meat may invoke thoughts of farmers with their dented pale or pub patrons gathered around their ale, there isn't a lot of evidence to support that Ploughman's Platters date back much further than the mid-twentieth century when the Milk Marketing Board promoted the meal.

Regardless, bread, cheese, meat, and a medley of condiments make for a delectable lunch and an aesthetically delightful combination.

Choosing the presentation for a wine pairing, picnic, or patio party is as diverse as the platter. There are a variety of options to make serving the meal as enjoyable as eating it.

Selecting the board will accentuate where you are, who you're serving, and what you're serving and direct the ambiance of the meal as efficiently as a compass. Having a game night? These boards from BryanBuildsNC are a perfect accent in handmade, checkerboard maple.

There are literally hundreds of cutting boards on Etsy alone--you can purchase cutting boards in shapes, with engraving, or rustic pieces that appear to be fresh from the forest to the table.

Crusty bread is best with a standard cheese or meat if your additional fare is favoring exotic. My favorite condiments for a Ploughman's Platter are chutney, whole grain mustard, and infused olive oil for dipping. If the cheese and meat are the stars of the show, you may be replacing a cheddar or Havarti with brie or goat cheese alongside anchovies or pâté. If that's the case, keep your other fare simple or light by incorporating more fruits and olives or hummus. 

Woman's Day offered a beet salad recipe, which I had never considered but seems like a refreshing and healthy option. You may also consider a variety of textures like crisp radishes or pickled eggs instead of boiled eggs.

Edward Fitzgerald translated "a loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou," obviously in celebration of the Ploughman's Platter, for it is now up to you to decide whether you will enjoy a traditional pub beer with your plate or refine your fancy in favor of wine. If this is a business lunch you may forgo the spirits all together for San Pellegrino sparkling water, sweet tea, or ginger ale. 

For my Ploughman's Platter, I found a lovely little tray for only $3.00 are our local department store, Roses. This was really super easy to carry from our apartment to the patio. We found an olive bread from our local bakery and a sofi aware winning plum chutney from Virginia Chutney Co. Then we added an assortment of cheeses from chipotle Gouda, cheedar, goat cheese, and Havarti and paired it with salami and pepperocini.

It was a pleasure to enjoy with a local Cabernet Sauvignon as it complimented nicely with light pepper and currant notes.

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