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‘Watts for Dinner’ the Takeout Edition: Island Cheese adds a lot of flavor to Marco

Will Watts
Correspondent

Say it with me: Charcuterie!

It’s a French term for a segment of cooking devoted to prepared meat products, “such as bacon, ham, sausage, terrines, galantines, ballotines, pâtés, and confit, primarily from pork.”

A charcuterie board is the arranging and preparing of cured meats, cheeses and finger foods on a platter or board. From the simple to the complex, big and small – this is true culinary art.

Why bring it up, you ask? Our next dining destination, and our first official visit, is to Island Cheese Company in the Esplanade.    

You can customize your very own charcuterie board in one of three different sizes. At $155 the large platter serves up to 20 people; the medium serves nine people at a cost of $115 and the small serves four people for $55. All charcuterie must be ordered 24 hours in advance and you can order online, by phone or in person.

We ordered the medium and selected a dill Havarti, a triple cream brie, the herb goat cheese and paired it with the green pitted olives and the dried apricots. The platter also contained cornichons, Marcona almonds, fig spread and a balsamic glaze with crackers and a French baguette.

The triple cream brie was my favorite. Do you remember those packages of cream cheese and crackers you consumed as a kid? Well, they grew up and educated themselves, just like you. And this pair was Ivy league all the way.

The herb goat cheese was a close second. Even if you’re not crazy about goat cheese, I dare you not to love this herb-crusted variation. Yummers!

And the Marcona almonds; I bet you can’t eat just one. These are not your typical almonds. They are a sweet, gourmet almond from Spain; the texture is closer to that of a macadamia nut. They are round, plumb, salty and delicious.     

We also ordered and sampled several panini’s from the ICC menu.

I ordered the “MOB … Marco Onion and Beef” ($10) featuring roast beef, steakhouse onion cheddar, mayo, Schwartz spicy pickles, kosher salt and ground black pepper.

I was surprised just how high the meat was stacked. And the taste was phenomenal! All those flavors combine into a masterpiece on rustic Italian panini bread. So crunchy, ooey, gooey and delicious.

My partner in dine picked the “Tigertail Kicked Up Turkey” ($10) featuring turkey, provolone, mayo, kosher salt and ground black pepper. You can also choose from the cranberry horseradish or zesty honey mustard. He chose the cranberry. And while it wasn’t the cheesy melted Thanksgiving he expected, the sandwich did earn high praise for the generous amounts of turkey and unique flavor.

We also brought home the “Hava’s Cheese Please” ($8). It comes in mild or spicy. The mild features a medium cheddar, creamy Havarti and lusty monk mustard. The spicy replaces the Havarti with pepper jack. While I wanted to try these as they came – and the flavor is amazing -- next time I will likely skip the mustard.    

In addition to the platters and panini’s, you’ll find a nice selection or pre-packaged artisanal cheeses from around the world, mustard, fruit spreads, chutney and honey, wine and craft beer and gourmet gifts.

If variety is the spice of life, then Island Cheese Company adds a lot of flavor to the Marco Island landscape.

More:‘Watts for Dinner’ the Takeout Edition: Forget Arby’s, Big Al’s has the meats!

This newspaper pays for all meals related to dining reviews. We do not solicit or accept free food.

If you go

Island Cheese Company

  • 740 N. Collier Blvd., Suite 112, in the Esplanade, Marco Island
  • 239-259-0561
  • islandcheesecompany.com
A medium charcuterie board from Island Cheese Company, Marco Island.
The “Tigertail Kicked Up Turkey” panini from Island Cheese Company, Marco Island.
The “Hava’s Cheese Please” panini from Island Cheese Company, Marco Island.
The “MOB … Marco Onion and Beef” panini from Island Cheese Company, Marco Island.
The “Hava’s Cheese Please” panini from Island Cheese Company, Marco Island.
A medium charcuterie board from Island Cheese Company, Marco Island.
A selection or pre-packaged artisanal cheeses from around the world at Island Cheese Company, Marco Island.
A selection or pre-packaged artisanal cheeses from around the world at Island Cheese Company, Marco Island.