What is a charcuterie board?
A charcuterie board is a platter made up of meats, cheeses and bread. It can also include nuts or olives as well as other tasty treats! The most common way to serve this dish is for guests to share at a party or event.
Where does a charcuterie board originate from?
While charcuterie boards originated in Europe, you can create your own delicious board with local ingredients from your area. How exactly should you make one though? How do you go about choosing which foods to use on the board? What kind of drinks should you pair it with? Let's take a closer look at all of that!
The best part about charcuterie boards is that they are very easy to customize to suit the tastes of those who will be attending your event. For example, if you know that your mother-in-law is a fan of blue cheese and olives, throw a few more of those onto the board. If everyone at the party hates onions, leave them off entirely! How much you prepare depends on how many guests will be attending.
Why are charcuterie boards so popular? People like charcuterie boards because you can try out so many different meats, fruits and vegetables in one meal!
When do you use a charcuterie board?
In terms of when to serve charcuterie boards, they can certainly be served as an appetizer before dinner or lunch is served. They are also perfect for brunch gatherings with friends or family, afternoon parties or even late-night shindigs! The best part about charcuterie boards is that they go well with any time of day!
We always suggest a delicious charcuterie board at all of our paint and sip classes because they look great, are easy to make and taste amazing.
What foods are on a charcuterie board?
If you are looking to make your own charcuterie board, you will need to think about what foods you will put on your charcuterie board? All sorts of delicious things of course! Here is just a shortlist of tasty foods that are great to serve on charcuterie boards:
- Mixed nuts
- Sausages (both hard and soft)
- Cured meats, sliced deli-style meats also work well
- Assorted quality cheeses (soft cheeses are more common, but harder cheese can be used too!)
- Fresh fruit and dried fruits (such as grapes, strawberries or blueberries) or dried fruit (like apricots or cranberries) can make for some healthy options on your charcuterie board!
If you're looking for some great recipes for meats, cheeses and bread then look no further than the internet! Pinterest is always a good source for eats, and you can also find some tasty charcuterie board recipe recommendations on sites like Bon Appetit.
Now that you know what to do it's time to get shopping. Many grocery stores today sell pre-made charcuterie boards in their delis or prepared foods section (if not they will likely be able to make one for you). If you'd rather make your own however here are some further great food ideas:
- Cheese - hard and soft cheese, brie, blue cheese, goat cheese, mozzarella balls (cherry size), feta (or any other type of fresh or aged cheese!)
- Meat - cured meats, salami, prosciutto, capicola, andouille sausage, pepperoni
- Fresh fruits - grapes (green and red), strawberries (cut in half), blueberries
- Bread - baguette slices, crackers or pita chips
- Nuts - almonds, walnuts, pecans (toasted) + candied nuts
- Fresh herbs - add a sprig of rosemary for colour and a stunning aroma
- Olive oil - olive oil is a must in a little bowl to dip bread in
- Vegetables - marinated artichokes, roasted capsicums and other yummy vegetables.
How do you arrange a charcuterie board?
Charcuterie boards can be difficult to arrange. Placement is important so that colour and taste pair well. I will give you a few tips that will simplify your job arranging a whole charcuterie board. A complete charcuterie board looks surely like a piece of art but must be balanced. How do we balance a charcuterie board? You should take a small dish or a cup, lay it in the centre of your serving tray and put the bread around it. Now get ready to make a beautiful board that not only looks stunning but is absolutely scrumptious.
Choose vegetables that go well with the meats you have chosen. For example: if you want to add salami to your charcuterie board then add cherry tomatoes, fresh carrots or pickles to balance out flavours
Meat and Fish
You can choose from fish to meat when arranging a charcuterie board. Try different types of meats such as beef, chicken, duck or turkey for variety. For an easy charcuterie, the board setup uses dried sausage and cured meat combos like smoked ham and Proscuitto with pepperoni and salami.
Fruit and nuts
In addition to meat and cheese, fruit and nuts make an excellent side dish. How to put fruit on the charcuterie board? Slice fresh fruit into pieces that will fit your serving tray or plate and then serve them in small bowls or plates around the central plate.
Cheeses and dips
Your charcuterie board should contain a variety of cheeses and dips. Little bowls for mozzarella is also good for nuts or other things. The size of your board depends on how many people you are serving. Try to balance it out with dimensions, shapes, materials and colours. The board is great to move crackers over and throw dried fruit on top of this board and stack cheese next to it. Bowls perform this dual job of acting as groundwork for your board.
What kind of drinks should you pair with a charcuterie board?
Just like there are different charcuterie board ideas, there are also numerous drink combinations that go well with this meal. Here is a shortlist of drinks to pair with your charcuterie board:
- Dry white wine (Pinot Grigio)
- Spicy red wine (Zinfandel)
- Sparkling rosé
- Beer (not traditional but pairs nicely as it cuts through the heavy flavours and spices found in charcuterie boards)
No matter how you make your charcuterie board, they will be tasty! Make one for yourself today and enjoy these fun party favourites.
Whether you're planning an event yourself or just want some new ideas for your next charcuterie board outing be sure to check out some of the ideas mentioned above! Having a great time with food is easy as long as you know what to do with it but always serve it fresh and ready for your party.