How To Charcuteski
Trail Snacks With Lentine Alexis
By Lentine Alexis
You’ve heard of charcuterie boards, but what about a charcuteski? Having a snack literally on skis (or a snowboard) is remarkably easy, ridiculously impressive, and one of the best ways to push your stellar day in the mountains over the top.
Here’s what to bring, how to pack it, and even how to present it proper.
What Do I Bring?
Don’t let the fancy spelling fool you – making a charcuteski is beyond easy. And, just like a day on the slopes, it’s a choose-your-own adventure situation. You can be as elaborate, or as basic as you like. The bottom line is that you’re packing a few simple, stowable snack items and laying them out on the best serving platter in the mountains: your skis.
Because there are so many ways to play the charcuteski game, the hardest part is deciding what to pack.
Whether you raid the pantry and pack whatever you’ve got–trail mix, cheese, potato chips, gummy bears–or assemble an ultimate snack-on-skis, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Bring the basics: meat and cheese are the foundations of a charcuteski. Pick what you love eating. Great meats to take are salami, prosciutto, pepperoni, sliced turkey or cooked bacon. Any cheese that can be sliced, spread, or cubed is a great choice. Sturdy cheeses and meats are best and easiest to pack and will last though the climb up the mountain.
Bring the fun: fruits, chips, crackers, treats and even dips, spreads or other snacks are perfect accompaniments to your meats and cheeses.
Favor the flavors: the best charcuteskis are those that really deliver the salty, sweet and tangy flavors. The contrasts make a really satisfying and fun snack. Don’t forget:
- Salty: chips, crackers, nuts, cured meats
- Sweet: cheeses, bits of chocolate and dried or fresh fruits, or a little jar of honey or jam
- Tangy: pickles, olives, etc
Be a mix-master: turn up the texture and the fun will make whatever you bring more interesting and special. To really make your on-skis snack shine, consider the following your checklist.
- Crunchy: crackers, cut veggies, and fruits
- Smooth and spreadable: creamy cheeses or hummus are a nice unexpected addition
- Fun: Swedish fish, peppermint patties, bits of chocolate, tiny Babybel cheeses. Charcuterie can quickly feel stuffy. Remember, you’re about to eat your snack off the skis. Keep it fun and fresh.
Prioritize portability: this is not the time to make elaborate composed bites. Keep your snack selection simple and portable. Think pre-sliced meats, cubed cheeses, or snack-sized foods, and items that don’t need refrigeration.
Don’t forget the bevs! Beer! Wine in a can! Pre-mixed cocktails! All are great options for your charcuteski enjoyment.
How Do I Pack It?
The point of building a charcuteski is not to transport heavy slicing equipment, annoying containers, or fussy ingredients to a remote place. Plan ahead, pack smart and enjoy. Here’s how to make it happen:
- Preroll or slice your meats: you’re not going to want to take off gloves to roll prosciutto in a parking lot. Do this beforehand, and pack it in a lightweight lunchbox or reusable zipper bag.
- Cube or cut your cheeses: truly, you’ll be thankful you did this ahead of time!
- Pre-cut your fruits + veggies: this also makes building your charcuteski a breeze!
- As always, try to pack + port your ingredients in reusable containers when you can.
Where Do I Take It?
Wherever your ski snack time strikes. In the parking lot of the ski area, on the porch of your rental condo, or into the backcountry are all great options. You just need a little patch of snow where you can take off your skis, have a seat, assemble your charcuteski and enjoy. A flat patch of snow is preferable. If the snow is hard-packed, you can serve directly on the topside of your skis or board. If the snow is deeper, you may choose to flip your skis over (binding side down) and serve on the bottom of the skis.
- Keep your snacks bite-sized. Keep those fingers warm, and your hands in your gloves. Make your snacks easy to grab.
- Bring a pocket knife and a bandana. Just in case you do need to cut, wrap or wipe something off.
- You don’t need fancy ingredients. Whatever you have in your fridge or pantry that packs easy and can hang outside of the fridge for a bit is a great candidate. Presliced deli meats, pre-cut cheeses, trail mix, boxed crackers, hunks of bread, or handfuls of dried fruits will do.
- Raise your beverages, propose a toast, pack out your trash, and enjoy!
Lentine Alexis is a former professional endurance athlete & classically trained chef. The former Culinary Director at Skratch Labs, she uses a real-food philosophy to create recipes for athletes and everyone looking to eat well and adventure better. Find more recipes and info on her upcoming cookbook for athletes at lentinealexis.com, or follow her @lentinealexis.