Saturday, March 28, 2015

Greek Deli Meat Platter











     A Nice Greek Delicatessen Platter!
     There is a big difference between commercial mass produced domestic delicatessen meats and high quality hand crafted old world style deli meats.  There really is no comparison between the two.  Domestic mass produced deli meats are cheap, but they really lack quality.
     Imported old world deli meats deli meats are much more healthy to eat, because European AOC laws forbid any changes of traditional products.  How a traditional European cheese, sausage or food product was originally made many centuries ago, is how it is made today.  There is no long list of chemicals, preservatives, flavoring agents, artificial coloring or genetic modification in AOC protected traditional European deli meat products.  That is integrity at its best!

     For a social gathering or while watching a sporting event, a nice deli platter is a great choice.  When the afternoon gets to be boring during a long rain storm, a good deli platter can inspire pleasant thoughts.  Traditional deli meats taste so good, that they instantly trigger conversation at a party, just like good cheese and wine.  Deli meats, bread, cheese and wine in picnic basket is perfect for a romantic springtime afternoon.

     When designing a delicatessen cold cut platter, it is best to go with a theme.  The theme for today's deli platter is cold cuts and accompaniments that are popular in Greece.  Just like a good Italian deli style antipasto platter, the design has to be appealing to the eye.  Leaving no empty spaces on a deli platter adds to the appeal.  Open and airy clean designs are good, but deli platter fans prefer like to see a full platter.
     When placing deli meats on a platter, it is best to use simple patterns of rows, circles or "S" shapes.  The deli platter design must leave room for condiments.  Bread can be placed on the platter or served on the side.  Items like pickles, olives, peppers or onions are good for filling the blank spaces and adding color.
     For sauces, dips or spreads, it is best to select one or two that support the theme.  For a Greek Deli Platter, Ajvar is a good choice.
   
     Greek Deli Meat Platter:
     Forget about getting the deli meats at a common grocery store.  Quality is always better than quantity.  The best place to go for high quality traditional Greek or Balkan cold cuts and condiments is an old fashioned Greek Delicatessen!  
     I was in in Northwest Indiana near Chicago when I made this Greek Deli Platter.  That neck of the woods is loaded with many good Greek delicatessens.  Often local hand crafted specialty lunch meats, like Indiana Bolshevik Loaf, are offered in the deli case. 
     Ajvar can be found at Mediterranean and Greek food markets.  Ajvar is also easy to make, but it is more cost effect to purchase a jar.  Ajvar is a thick minced spread of sweet red or orange bell pepper, eggplant, garlic and mild chile pepper.
     • All it takes to make a nice Greek Deli Platter is to think of a tasteful design and just go with the flow.  The neater every item is prepared and placed on the platter, the better the eye appeal will be!

     Garnishes:
     • Mixed Spicy Greek Olives
     • Mild Red Greek Chile Pepper
     • Yellow Fefferoni

     Condiments:
     • A large ramekin of Mild Ajvar Vegetable Spread
     • A small bottle of olive oil on the side
   
     Bread:
     • Sliced crusty mini baguette or pita bread

     Greek Delicatessen Meats:  
     • Svinjski Vrat  (thin sliced dry cured and lightly smoked pork neck)
     • Lovcka (dry cured smoked peppery beef & pork sausage)
     • Soppressata  (Italian Soppressata Sausage is also popular in Greece)
     • Bolshevik Loaf  (Bolshevik Loaf is aa local Indiana specialty Head Cheese.  French Brawn style Head Cheese is a similar product.)

     Cheese:
     No cheese?  Greek cheese of any kind is an option, but this is supposed to be a Greek Deli Meat Platter!
 
      Even though the ingredients for this Grecian deli meat platter were purchases Northwest Indiana, it shows that there are many small communities in this country where old world food traditions live on.  One simply does not have to go all the way to Greece to get a good Greek Deli Meat Platter, when there is a good Greek Delicatessen in town!

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