In French cuisine, charcuterie is part of the cuisine du terroir (cuisine of the region) tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages, when meat preservation was necessary before modern refrigeration was available. The preservation process often took several months - even years - with no refrigeration. Charcuterie products are still made using similar methods today but with modern equipment that speeds up the process considerably
There are many different types of charcuterie but some common ones include:
pâté - pate de viande (pat duh vee-yen) - This is usually made with chicken or pork liver and stuffed into a loaf pan. It can also come in a jar as pate en croute!
saucisson - saucisson sec (soh-sehn sek) - This is a dried sausage made with pork, garlic and spices like nutmeg, cumin and coriander seed.
rillettes - rillette de porc (reel-ay duh pork) - This is a spread made by slow cooking pork and fat together. It often comes in little tins and can be eaten on toast or crackers.
fois gras (fwee grah) - This is the fatty liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened up by feeding them corn and fat. It is considered a delicacy in France and often served on toast points with a drizzle of port wine and fig jam.
If you are looking to start making your own boards check out this very easy board for two with meats. cheeses, and more.