Charcuterie refers to a culinary technique to produce smoked or cured meats. This technique was developed as a way to preserve meat prior to refrigeration. Generally pork, charcuterie can be either whole muscle (like pancetta) or ground (like pâté).
Charcuterie tends to have a very rich, briny, meaty, full-bodied flavor. Some can have a buttery feel, or be tangy & sweet. Often served with cheeses, condiments, fruits, nuts, & other nibbles, slices of charcuterie are also a treat by themselves. Charcuterie packs a lot of complex flavor in each bite. A little can go a long way. But then again, sometimes it can be hard to stop!
Charcuterie is sliced very thinly, almost to be translucent, then tiled into staggered layers & separated by wax paper in order to keep the layers from melding together.
While charcuterie can be ordered similar to any deli offering, for example by the quarter-pound, half-pound, or full-pound, it can also be ordered by the slice. Don't be shy to ask for "Six slices of speck" or "Ten slices of prosciutto de parma." The slices are very thin, & it is surprising to see how light a dozen slices actually weighs. Customers are sometimes shocked to see how substantial a half-pound of charcuterie is when it is sliced & layered. But again, a little can go a long way, flavor-wise.
10 Slices of speck = just over a quarter of a pound
Similarly, when considering the price per pound, charcuterie is expensive relative to other meats. However, a few paper thin slices of bresaola or soppresatta will not only satisfy any umami craving but is also quite delicate on the wallet. It is more than acceptable to come in & order just a few slices or an 1/8 of a pound.