Our dear friends, Erich and Annie, came to visit us at the Farm this weekend. It was an incredible experience, from Southern cuisine on Friday evening to breakfast with friends on Saturday, a visit to the Tea Room which has more rocks than tea (and that’s a good thing) and then finally to our Meraki Charcuterie experience on Saturday night. You may be asking yourself, “What in the world is Meraki and how does that relate to Charcuterie?”.
According to Quora.com, Abhinav Bhandari defines Meraki as “a modern Greek word derived from the Turkish ‘merak’ (labor of love to do something with pleasure), is applied to tasks, usually, creative or artistic tasks, but can be applied to any task at all. Meraki means to do something with passion, with absolute devotion, with undivided attention.” We decided our artistic experience would be centered around a Charcuterie, which is a collection of meats, cheeses and other accoutrements to enhance the flavors. When we began to plan for the weekend, we decided we wanted to create an experience where everyone was involved in building something beautiful that we could all enjoy together.
We spent the week before preparing pickled and fermented vegetables and even eggs. We sought out delicious meats and cheeses. We added ingredients such as local honey and even fresh-made peanut butter. As we began to get ready for the evening, Steve and Erich slipped out to the woodshop to make a hand-crafted solid walnut charcuterie board. We worked together, Annie, Steve and I, to prepare and set the table while Erich serenaded us with beautiful guitar tunes. Occasionally, Annie would join him in harmony. We had some various splashes of wine, iced tea and water to cleanse our pallets between tastings.
We even included a cloth used during our wedding, sunflowers from the yard, rocks we had collected that day and a pair of oil lamps that my Aunts, Sandy and Annette brought us that were Pa and Granny’s. It was a six hour, candle-lit experience where we tried different combinations of the food….everything from salami with hard cheese and figs to soft bread with homemade lemon-lavender jelly and Maytag blue cheese. In all, there were more than fifty food options on the table.
We shared stories, listened to music, talked about the past and the future and even played a little game as the night wrapped up. It was surreal and beautiful and romantic. And as we ended the evening sharing our “moments of the day”, we all talked about the importance of carving out this time. Time to slow down and focus on the people that matter, creating and sharing experiences that deepen relationships. In the end, the experience itself was as artistic as the beautiful charcuterie that sat before us. It was the perfect evening.