Charcuterie is a culinary artform with a longstanding tradition dating back to Roman times. Today this rediscovered craze featuring artisanal assortments of sliced meats can be found at some of the finest restaurants throughout the city.

In fact, two of my favorite high-end eateries in San Francisco offer Charcuterie on their menu: Spruce in Laurel Heights, and Incanto–located deep in the Noe Valley.

Order this dazzling array of cold, thinly-sliced goodness for an appetizer and it will provide the perfect start to a hearty and fulfilling dining experience. At the aforementioned locations, the meats are cured in-house, providing the freshest and most unique flavors imaginable. Duck pâté, rabbit rillettes, mortadella, capocollo, and coppa di testa are just a few of my own personal favorites–and this doesn’t even get started on the cheeses that often accompany these diverse morsels of delectability. At Spruce they offer you a choice between American or European varieties for your dairy fix. American cheeses, particularly those which we have access to out here in the Great West, have exceedingly demonstrated a worthiness in comparison to their Old-World counterparts. So, choose wisely!

I guess it’s customary to garnish the ideal plate of charcuterie with some sort of vegetable–for health and all that. I prefer a few fresh sprigs of arugula, as the bitterness tends to complement favorably the savory tones of these robust meats. House-pickled cucumbers are another popular accoutrement. At Incanto the coldcuts arrive on the plate surrounding a clove of roasted garlic. Truly divine! You might not make any new friends, but with a meal like this you don’t want to be bothered by distracting conversation, anyway.

Anybody else out there have any other charcuterie suggestions from Bay Area restaurants? Do tell.