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Charcuterie Board

Charcuterie Boards

A charcuterie board is perfect for entertaining, but it's surrounded by an air of mystery. What is a charcuterie baord exactly? And how do you pronounce that word?
We’ll confess – sometimes, even we forget. (For the record, it’s shar-koo-tuh-ree.)

Charcuterie boards are an incredibly simple way to wow your guests. Think of it as an elevated cheese plate. It features various textures and flavours of cheese
and cured meat, which are often accompanied by crackers, breads, olives, fruit, toppings and spreads. They’re usually served with wine before dinner.

All that might sound intimidating, but we can assure you that they’re unbelievably easy to put together and the result is always fabulous and delicious.
To help you out, we’ve broken down each element that goes into a charcuterie board and provided product examples that fill each requirement. Enjoy!

 

Charcuterie Cheeses

charcuterie cheeses
     
     
 . .  . .

The beauty of charcuterie boards is the potential for variety. When it comes to cheese, there’s no need to choose a theme. Have an array that covers the main cheese genres:

  • Fresh (fior di latte, burata)
  • Soft-ripened (camembert, brie)
  • Semi-soft (friulano, havarti, gouda)
  • Firm (piave, spillembergo, aged provolone, crotonese)
  • Hard (grana padano, parmigiano reggiano)
  • Veined (gorgonzola, bleu, stinton)

Don’t be afraid to try different types of milk as well – cow, goat and sheep’s milk all offer different varieties and textures.

     

Charcuterie Meats

charcuterie meats
     
     
 . .  . .

The rule of variety holds true in this department as well. Harder meats (like salami) are best served thinly sliced along with something rich, like a pate, and dry, cured meats like soppressata and chorizo. Round out your selection with a smokey prosciutto and a cooked meat like mortadella or pancetta.

     

Charcuterie Breads and Crackers

charcuterie breads and crackers
     
     
 . .  . .

Peanut butter has jelly, bacon has eggs, and cheese has crackers. Really, there is no simpler pairing that is as delicious as a soft, creamy cheese with a crunchy, herbed cracker. A firm cracker provides a great texture contrast to the soft meats and cheese on your board. To accompany your firmer cheeses and meats, you can toss sliced baguettes in olive oil and toast or grill them.

     

Charcuterie Accompaniments

olives and herbs
     
     
 . .  . .

Okay, let’s get real: accompaniments are basically fancy condiments. But the same way ketchup makes fries the best side dish in history, products like honey or jam make charcuterie that much more delicious. Whole grain mustard and cornichons (most people, like us, call these gherkins) pair well with meats, while grapes and sliced apples complement cheeses and add a lovely pop of colour to your board. Natural, unsalted nuts also make a great addition, as do sweet jams and jellies - they help offset the saltiness of the board.

     

Charcuterie Wines

wine
     
     
 . .  . .

Ah, wine. How can something that’s so much fun come with so many rules?!

When selecting a bottle to serve with your charcuterie board, choose anything that's low in alcohol, high in acid, slightly sweet, and can be chilled. Aim for something light and refreshing to cleanse the palate. Rosés, sparkling whites and prosecco are your best bets.

Contrary to popular belief, reds are NOT ideal to pair with charcuterie due to their high alcohol content and low acidity. These characteristics, combined with the salty, spicy, fatty and varying flavours of charcuterie, make the taste of alcohol much more pungent. If you must serve red, select something light that can be chilled and doesn’t have a lot of tannins. Pinot noirs from cooler regions work best.

     

Charcuterie Hardware

cheese board and knives
     
     
 . .  . .

We like that extra-rustic feeling and use a wooden board; slate is another great option because you can write on it in chalk to indicate the names of your cheeses.

It might seem excessive, but provide a separate utensil for each cheese. This will prevent the flavours from mingling.

     

Tips and Suggestions

an assembled charcuterie board

 

  •Cheese is best served at room temperature. Remove cheese from fridge about half an hour before serving. Meat, on the other hand, can be taken out 15-20 minutes prior to plating.

 
  •Slice firmer meats and cheeses beforehand to make them easier to eat.

 
 . . •Have fun with your arrangement! There is no right or wrong way to serve a charcuterie board. For aesthetic purposes, we like to use the odd-number rule (ie, five types of cheeses and three types of meat).

 

  •One Serving=2 oz each of cheese and charcuterie per person. (Psst...a single ounce of cheese is about the size of a pair of game dice; for meat, one ounce = about one slice, depending on thickness.) Plan accordingly.