One of the most wonderful aspects of the Kalispell Montana area is that there is almost always something interesting to do. In the last few weeks, I was able to go to a Wine 101 event which focused on wine tasting skills. I also went to a course on how to make butter and cheese and went home with a nice big roll of butter I churned with a partner (takes a lot of work!). What fun! And the most recent thing I found to do in Kalispell was a Charcuterie Board Making and Wine Tasting event.
Charcuterie has been getting more press lately. You might think "charcuterie" is just a fancy way to say "cheese and meat board" but the word is actually focused on the meat. It's the culinary art of preparing meat products, specifically to preserve them. And charcuterie boards are the art of displaying the meat and accompanying cheese, fruits, vegetables, nuts and toppings. Those items are displayed in such a way that makes it easy to select items that taste good together, and/or allows the proper eating of the food. For example, spreadable cheeses that would need to be spread onto a cracker are better placed if they are at the edge of the board.
At least that's what I got out of the event I attended.
There were four amazing organizations that were involved in this get together, and they all deserve attention.
First, the wines. We were able to taste various wines throughout the charcuterie making (and product tasting) process. We started with a Spanish champagne, or cava. We followed that with two different white wines, and two different red wines. All were delicious and went perfectly with the food we were utilizing.
The name of the wine company is Humanity Wine Co and here is where they differ from other wine companies. They have started a Winethropist movement and 50% of their profits go to their philanthropic organization Humanity Del Sol. This non-profit directly helps orphans in Argentina who have aged out of the system. The organization provides skills that will enable the orphans to become productive adults and stop the abuse, abandonment and slavery that is common for these children.
I can't say enough about this organization or it's owner. I've spent time with the founder and CEO, Mariagrazia Lauricella, and I can truly say she is one of the most genuine and caring people I know. She is also a skilled wine expert, and is great at pairing foods and wines. If you would like to help them with their mission check out either of the sites above.
And then there was the venue, Fiddlestix Party & Supply. After being at two separate events at this facility recently, it is obvious they are totally focused on ensuring every event goes smoothly. Stephanie Murray, the founder of the event facility always has a ear-to-ear smile on her face and is ready to assist with anything that might be needed.
If you need a space to hold a party, or need supplies for a party at your own location, Fiddlestix is the place to go!
They can be reached at 406-885-7470 or email@example.com.
And then there is the store with the amazing name, Montanaholics. I admit to being able to say I am probably a Montanaholic. But enough about me.
This company donated the beautiful charcuterie boards that we used at the event, AND that we were able to take home. The one on the left was the one I chose; they ranged in color from a very light ash to much darker hues.
Montanaholics can be reached at 406-515-0628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
And the fourth but probably most important business when it comes to charcuterie making is the chef.
Kristen Opperman of The Kopper Kitchen was our chef of the evening. She gamely worked through the challenges of getting through to 40 very lively and loud guests. She was able to lead us through strategies for making a great board including where to place each item, what kind of toppings go with which cheeses, and which meats work well. She also visited each of us afterwards, and helped us fill in the gaps on our boards. "Be creative!" was the mantra of the night. Stand the food up, lay it down, make a creation. What fun.
Kat's Charcuterie Board
So how did I do? Well, along with tasting everything I could, trying all the wines, and making new friends, I actually did complete a charcuterie board!
Here it is before I added the final touches such as nuts.
I give all the event planners huge kudos for setting up and conducting an amazing event. Everyone who attended not only had a great deal of fun, but learned something new. So if you're ever in Kalispell, and see one of these events listed, you have got to sign up.
And if you need an event space, catering, beautiful wood boards, or want to become a winethropist, contact Fiddlestix, The Kopper Kitchen, Montanaholics, and Humanity Wine Co. You won't be sorry!
PS- here's a photo of the beautiful fruit and vegetable platters that we used as ingredients. This was a work of art all by itself!