The first time I saw the word 'charcuterie' on a menu, I was too self-conscious about pronouncing it to bother ordering it. But after my1 first bite of country-style pâté with tiny sweet pickles and grainy mustard, I learned real quick. Say it with me: 'shar-COO-turh-ee.'
At the European-style bistro Fabi and Rosi in West Austin, chef and German native Wolfgang Murber learned how to make charcuterie during his apprenticeship 10 years ago.
'If you draw a circle around the Alsace and the south region of Germany - Baden, where I'm from - it's very famous for charcuterie. Based on really old traditions, people use every bit of the animal,' he said.
The housemade charcuterie plate ($12) at Fabi and Rosi last week included chicken liver pâté with gewurtztraminer jelly, wild boar sausage with red onion marmalade and a duck rillette, along with cornichons, Dijon mustard and toast points.
Murber said that when Fabi and Rosi opened last year, he wasn't too worried about whether Austinites would warm up to the tastes and textures of charcuterie. 'Austin is kind of a foodie town,' he said. 'They want to try things. A wild boar sausage, for example, is not something you can buy everywhere, and people say, "Oh, I want to try that and see how it tastes." '
Counting on Austinites' appetite for discovery, these restaurants are just a few of the places branching out beyond foie gras to offer charcuterie plates.
Charcuterie at Austin restaurants
• Aviary. 2110 S. Lamar Blvd. 916-4445, www.aviarydecor.com .
• Chez Nous. 510 Neches St. 473-2413, www.cheznousaustin.com .
• Dai Due Supper Club. Locations vary. 769-7261, www.daidueaustin.com .
• East Side Show Room. 1100 E. Sixth St. 467-4280, www.eastsideshowroom.com .
• Enoteca Vespaio. 1610 S. Congress Ave. 441-7672, www.austinvespaio.com .
• Fabi and Rosi. 509 Hearn St. 236-0642, www.fabiandrosi.com .
• The Highball. 1142 S. Lamar Blvd. 383-8309, www.thehighball.com .
• Justine's. 4710 E. Fifth St. 385-2900, www.justines1937.com .
• Olivia. 2043 S. Lamar Blvd. 804-2700, www.olivia-austin.com .
• Parkside. 301 E. Sixth St. 474-9898, www.parkside-austin.com .
• Péché. 208 W. Fourth St. 495-9669, www.pecheaustin.com .
• Sagra. 1610 San Antonio St. 535-5988, www.sagrarestaurant.net .
• Uncorked Tasting Room & Wine Bar. 900 E. Seventh St. 524-2809, www.uncorkedtastingroom.com .