I love to entertain, but it can be a challenge to find new ways to wow and surprise my guests, especially because I'm not much of a cook. When it comes to appetizers and snacks I tend to riff off the same classics - veggies and dip, cheese and crackers, hummus and pita or fruit.
Enter Tres Petits Cochons (French for Three Little Pigs) a gourmet charcuterie shop based in Brooklyn, NY that serves handcrafted pâtés, mousses, terrines, sausage, smoked meats and other French delicacies. Of course I can't travel to New York to shop for all my soirees, but Tres Petits Cochons now sells their products in grocery stores and specialty shops around the country. You can even order gift baskets on their webite (yes, you can order a gift basket for your own party).
I knew I had a pool day planned and didn't want to pack the same old snacks for our day in the sun. Serving Tres Petits Cochons items would make our day feel extra special.
Now I know what you are thinking, what can a vegetarian eat from a charcuterie shop? Turns out, a ton!
The terrine aux trois legumes (three vegetable terrine) has a layer of broccoli and spinach, a layer of cauliflower and a layer of carrot, mixed with just a little bit of cheese.
On the back of the package there is a wine pairing recommendation. The Trois Petits Cochons team just gets me. Of course I want wine with my charcuterie.
The terrine d'epsinards au roquert is a creamy spinach terrine with blue cheese and a layer of tomato-basil puree.
The vegan terrine (yes, vegans can enjoy charcuterie too) is a mixture of green beans, spinach, red peppers, peas, carrots, cauliflower, olives, onions and tofu.
Look at that double layer of veggie goodness!
We had to get the cornichons, also known as sweet and spicy baby gherkins.
Lastly, we sampled the moutarde a l'acienne, which is old-fashioned whole grain mustard.
All of the selections from Trois Petits Cochons arrived to my doorstep in a box that had a cooler lined with freezer packs inside. Everything was nice and cold and ready to be enjoyed.
We transfered all goodies into our cooler for the pool, adding in red grapes, baby carrots, cheddar cheese, bagel chips and Trscuits. After some serious reading and lounging, around 1:00pm we set up our lunch spread. We were the envy of everyone on the pool deck, even the life guard who came over and said, "That is quite a lunch!"
We began by tasting the terrine aux trois legumes. This one was far and away my favorite. The taste was addicting, especially when you cut a slice that had a bit of each of the three layers. We both agreed that this terrine would taste delicious spread across toast and topped with a fried egg.
Next up we topped a cracker with the terrine d'espinards au roquefort. Though this terrine does have blue cheese, I found myself wishing it had more cheese and a bit more of a creamy consistency. If you serve this at home, you could easily top it with freshly grated parmesan cheese, which would bring it closer to a spinach and artichoke dip flavor.
The third terrine, the vegan terrine, tasted exactly like its ingredients - pure vegetables. It's clear as you eat it that there is no cheese in the mixture. As I tried a few more bites I was thinking it would taste even better on pita bread (as opposed to crispy crackers).
I was obsessed with the terrines aux trois legumes, but I was equally enamored with the cornichons. These pickles had a great crunch to them and also packed a serious punch when it came to spice. They were excellent on their own, but would also taste delicious chopped into a salad or sliced in half and placed inside a sandwich.
The moutarde a l'acienne reminded me of the mustard my dad used to spread on his corned beef sandwiches. I loved the grainy texture and the kick with every bite. My friend made a little mini sandwich of Triscuit, cheddar cheese, the terrine d'espinards au roquefort and a generous layer of this mustard and raved about the flavor combination. I have to agree that with crackers and cheese the mustard tasted fantastic.
I am very gratedul to Trois Petits Cochons for helping me step up my hostess game. As I look ahead to my Emmy Awards party in September, I am already thinking about which of their goodies I'll pick up to serve during the Red Carpet.
*This post is sponsored by Trois Petits Cochons. All opinions are 100 percent my own.