ONE18 EMPIRE has earned a reputation for its delicious shared plates, handcrafted cocktails and extensive whiskey collection. In March, the popular downtown restaurant adds signature housemade charcuterie boards to its regular menu.
Charcuterie boards have existed since ONE18 EMPIRE opened a year ago—but only as a delicious extra for guests who booked private group receptions and whiskey tastings. These events would feature an assortment of housemade charcuterie and cheeses perfect for noshing with cocktail in hand.
According to ONE18 EMPIRE restaurant operations manager Frédéric Louvet, charcuterie boards were reserved for special occasions because handcrafted charcuterie takes time—around two months from start to finish—and ONE18 EMPIRE simply didn’t have enough in stock to offer it regularly.
However, diners who tried the charcuterie wanted more. “They loved it and they were asking for it,” said Louvet.
ONE18 EMPIRE listened. Executive chef Eric Larcom got to work curing, and this March charcuterie will be available to anyone who has the appetite. The boards will appear on the evening menu in two different sizes, portioned to share between either two or four people.
The boards feature a selection of housemade meats, including coppa, made from pork shoulder and flavoured with cayenne; bresaola, made from beef eye of round and black pepper; duck breast prosciutto with white pepper; and a dry-cured pork sausage that uses pork leftover from making the coppa.
Each type of charcuterie is hand-cured in salt and spices and aged in a dedicated room on site that is temperature-controlled to a steady 50 degrees Fahrenheit and 70% humidity for optimum drying conditions.
Along with the charcuterie, ONE18 EMPIRE’s boards include a selection of cheeses, typically a soft cheese, a hard cheese and a blue cheese. The selection rotates according to local availability and the season.
An accompanying housemade jam also changes seasonally. A fig jam might be offered in the fall, a berry jam in spring and fresh, local honeycomb in summer. Housemade lavash crackers, ONE18 EMPIRE’s famous pickled vegetables and pickled mustard complete the board for a perfect balance of textures and flavours.
The result is a sophisticated snack that is designed for sharing, complements a variety of drinks and is unfussy to eat, letting guests focus on each other’s company and conversation.
In the future, ONE18 EMPIRE may introduce more charcuterie options, including a classic pork prosciutto that’s a guest favourite. However, prosciutto takes nearly a year to cure and age to perfection, so Calgary’s prosciutto-loving public will have to be patient.
ONE18 EMPIRE, located on Centre Street across 9 Ave. S.E. from the Calgary Tower, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with late-night options available.
Published in Avenue Magazine.