It is never a bad time for a charcuterie board. There is something so uniting about a large tray of finger foods that must be piled together by each individual. Every choice—which meat? Add jam? Cracker or bread?—expresses uniqueness of character, the same way an outfit does.
And as with a solid wardrobe, if one possesses the right key ingredients, a charcuterie board can be thrown together without much effort. It all starts, of course, with the meat. And for many, that means Oyama Sausage Co.
“We have high standards,” says store manager Jerome Dudicourt, a fast-talking Frenchman who has been with the company since it moved into the Granville Island Public Market in 2001. “It’s quality first, small-batch productions.” That’s the name of the Oyama game.
Founded in Oyama, B.C. by John (a fifth-generation “charcuterie craftsman,” as described on the company’s website) and Christine van der Lieck over three decades ago, Oyama has become known on Granville Island and around Vancouver for its unparalleled cured meats.
It all starts with the basics: locally-grown, high-quality animals. Oyama sources from a few key producers and then works its magic in-house, creating all of the delectable sausages and other cuts by hand. The recipes combine tradition with modernity, adding little flairs and twists on the classics. From pepperoni sticks to sausages for grilling, Dudicourt and his team dutifully make over 400 products each year. Everything is local except for a few specialty items, such as parma from Italy; Oyama sells cheese as well, a mix of regional and international.
What Oyama’s dedication to quality and consistency has resulted in is a loyalty and, beyond that, a trust from its client base. “Our customers are willing to try anything because we have a good reputation,” says Dudicourt, who worked as a chef in fine dining and hotel restaurants in France and The Bahamas before settling in Vancouver. As customer after customer steps up to the counter, he slices off a few pieces of red wine-cured ham, each thin fragment boasting a soft hint of purple. “You’re going to love it,” he says. He is not wrong.