A charcuterie board is the most spectacular starter you can serve. There’s something for everyone here, with a wide selection of cured meats, cheese, nuts, fruit, crackers, and spreads.
What Is Charcuterie, Exactly?
When I mistakenly created one for Christmas a few years ago, I fell in love with charcuterie (sounds [shar-koo-tuh–ree] boards). The response I received to this little appetiser was amazing. The art of charcuterie is the preparation of cured or smoked meats. Charcuterie boards are meat’s answer to the cheese board, and they’re delicious. I’ve made it a point to serve them at special events and occasionally just for a delightful lunch since then.
The great thing about charcuterie boards is that there are so many different ways to make them. Every time you change a few ingredients, you get something new and beautiful. A meat and cheese board packed high with delightful tidbits is always a hit!
To make it easier on yourself, use in-season fruits and vegetables and add just a few unique touches for the holidays. Sprigs of thyme and cranberries, for example, could be strewn about a Christmas charcuterie board. Likewise, a little bowl of conversation hearts, red cinnamon gummy bears, and a lot of chocolate may be used for a Valentine’s Day charcuterie board.
Where Do You Start with Charcuterie Boards?
I like to begin by selecting a board. Charcuterie boards can be as large or as little as desired. For date night or picnics, charcuterie for two is a lot of fun. However, when I have really large gatherings, I always make multiple boards so that my guests have plenty to choose from.
There’s no need to invest in a specific board. Instead, use a cutting board made of wood, a slate board, a service plate, and so on. You can use any flat surface you have. If you don’t have anything handy, there are plenty of excellent solutions available here.
Adding Texture and Color
- Make sure to choose objects that will “pop” on your board when selecting items for your board. Strawberries, cherries, tomatoes, vivid greens (grapes, apple slices, herb garnish), and so on. There are far too many dark foods available, and if you aren’t careful, your board will appear dull rather than dazzling.
- Make sure you don’t put too many similar hues adjacent to each other. This will assist you with your presentation.
- The same may be said for texture. The importance of variety cannot be overstated. You’ll need some smooth, gleaming surfaces, such as dates. You’ll need some rough, abrasive surfaces, such as the Triscuit crackers. Like the jams and spreads, some should appear wet or moist, while others, like the walnuts and pumpkin seeds, should appear quite dry.
Tips for Putting Together a Charcuterie Board
It may appear simple: toss some meats, cheeses, and crackers on a board and voila! That is not the case, my friends. While charcuterie boards are the epitome of simple entertaining, putting together a charcuterie board that will impress your guests requires some planning and technique.
Begin with the bowls.
A selection of jams, preserves, mustards, or dips should be included on your charcuterie board. This could include items such as fig spread, marionberry habanero pepper jelly, pesto, coarse ground mustard, apricot jam, and so on. Give your visitors a taste of everything. Fresh mozzarella balls, tiny almonds, and other little items work well in bowls.
These products, of course, require little bowls to keep them confined. However, those bowls have a dual purpose by serving as the foundation for your board. They’re solid, and they’re perfect for leaning crackers against, stacking dried fruit next to, and so on. Arrange them all across the board. The size of your board will determine the quantity and size.
Meats and Cheese
Add the meats and cheese once the bowls are in place. Some cheese can be cubed or sliced, while some cheese can be placed as a wedge on the board. Brie or blue cheese wedges are visually stunning, and with a set of serving knives, guests can dig in and assist themselves. Larger products, such as cut meats and blocks or slices of cheese, should be placed on the board first.
Salame is one of my personal favourites (addicted!). On a charcuterie board, any cured meat will suffice. On my boards, I like to serve a variety of Meats: Genoa Salame, Italian Dry Salame, Peppered Salame, Prosciutto… variety is nice.
Bread and crackers
Your charcuterie platter should include crackers and/or bread. It’s critical. When your visitors begin to add the flavours, this is a crucial component. You want something solid with a few of various possibilities — 2 to 4 is a good range.
Triscuits come in a variety of flavours. Great flavour, great crunch, and great for creating the ideal bite. You’re the ones. There are only THREE ingredients in the original Triscuit: whole grain wheat, canola oil, and sea salt.
Triscuit crackers have a characteristic texture and crunch due to simple, high-quality, healthful ingredients. I love all of their new flavours, but my new fave is Garlic & Onion. On this board, I have three different types. Triscuit Wheatberry Clusters are a new snack line packed with nutritious wheat berries, and they’re tasty! My boys fell in love with it right away!
Garnish with fruit.
Fresh and/or dried fruit can be used to fill in any gaps on your board. There is no such thing as a wrong answer in this case. Use fruit that is currently in season and easy to obtain. That’s essentially all there are to the regulations. Grapes, as well as almost all other berries, are obvious choices. Apple slices are a wonderful accent that goes nicely with brie and cheddar cheeses. Dried fruits are readily available all year. I prefer larger fruit varieties such as dates, apricots, plums, and so on. Finish with some fresh herbs as a topping.
Charcuterie Boards: What to Serve
It’s always a good idea to pair meats and cheeses with wine. However, for a charcuterie board like this, you’ll want to provide your guests with various wine options, including this Pinot Noir. So now all set to set to serve your guests with simple yet perfect Charcuterie Board this 4th July. Happy Independence Day!!