Charcuterie Board How-To
Lately, we are all looking for meaningful connection and shared time with our loved ones. What better way to do so than to gather around an inviting table spread? Perhaps the most engaging centerpiece option is a beautiful charcuterie board.
Creating the perfect charcuterie platter is all about variety. Your items should spark curiosity with unique pieces, but also include some familiar crowd pleasers. This will encourage your guests to join in the charcuterie festivities without feeling overwhelmed by the options. Another key aspect is making it a simple charcuterie board. Whether you have a large charcuterie board or a mini charcuterie board, keep the options simple. Offer an assortment, but not an endless guessing game of which items are best paired together. As a general rule, it is good to offer things that are salty, sweet, pickled and brined. Lastly, know your audience. Be aware of food allergies or dietary restrictions – consider offering a small charcuterie board with gluten-free or vegan charcuterie options on the side.
Now it is time to start assembling. Here are some ideas to help you cultivate the best charcuterie board possible! Traditionally, the French term charcuterie is defined as cold, cured meats, but in this case, we will be using the term more loosely as it will really be more of a charcuterie and cheese board. Meats and cheese are certainly a focal point to any good board. Depending on the size of your board, you should have two to four cured meats and two to four cheeses on display. When it comes to cheese options, it is typical to include a soft, a semisoft, a semihard, and a hard option. The cost of food items can add up quickly, especially when it comes to imported cheese, so be sure to decide ahead of time which items are worth splurging for and which you would rather save on. We found the best cheese for charcuterie (at the best price) at Trader Joe’s. Let’s not forget that visually pleasing options are important too. Once the meats and cheeses have been selected, it is time to add in a bit of flare with fruit, vegetables and fillers. A trick to help keep down the cost is to shop seasonally. If you are lucky, you might come across some figs which will instantly catch your eye and draw you in to any board. Another fun accessory is honey – the honeycomb adds extra visual interest! As far as breads and crackers are concerned, have some options that are good carriers and others that are good for dipping. To get inspired, here is our go-to charcuterie board shopping list:
- Cured Meats – prosciutto, soppressata
- Cheeses – Triple Crème Brie, Stilton, cheddar
- Fruit and Vegetables – figs (in season), grapes, cornichons and kalamata olives
- Breads and Crackers – French baguette, Parmesan crisps, cheddar cheese crisps and fig and olive crisps
- Fillers –pistachios, candied pecans and honey with honeycomb
Let’s be honest, though–even with the most beautiful ingredients, the display doesn’t really come together without a charcuterie tray. In this case, we used our classic, sleek Vineyard cheeseboard. Comprised of natural teak and granite, the board is the perfect complement to any display. The polished granite keeps your food cold and is perfect for cutting on. Additionally, the stainless-steel handles make it easy to pass the board among your guests. Add in a few containers and spreaders, and… voila, you have yourself a world-class charcuterie board–a conversation starter for sure. When it comes to arranging items on the board, be creative – place things next to each other that you find aesthetically pleasing. Or pair things together that you find to be winning combinations for the tastebuds. You really can’t go wrong. Have fun with it and make it your own!