What is charcuterie and tips on how to make your own board.
While charcuterie boards have been happening for hundreds of years (Europeans know how to eat!), thanks to Instagram, they are now the go to for any event from a baby shower to a birthday party. And of course Christmas parties! We are loving the craze! Their popularity makes sense, they are fairly easy to make, you don’t have to bake anything, and people can graze on them for hours.
What is it?
Charcuterie (shar-KOO-ta-REE) in French means ‘Pork Butcher’, and the term has grown to mean a fancy assortment of meats and cheeses. It is called many things depending on the country. Your grandmother would have called this a meat and cheese plate, and in the UK it’s called a ploughman’s lunch while in Italy it is antipasto. It has always been a popular working class dish because of its long shelf life and easy prep, but charcuterie boards have become a stylish staple at any event.
Meat- sliced salami (for a little spice go for Calabrese), prosciutto, mortadella, and soppressata are a staple as is a pate (meat spread)
Cheese- Any cheese will do. No Velveeta! Pick a few soft and hard, mild and potent options. Aged cheddar or aged gouda are great choices as are cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano or gruyere.
Bread- The sliced baguette is easy to manage and the perfect size for a piece of sliced meat.
Crackers- While bread can suffice, crackers are great to include in the mix as well especially for a gluten free option.
Fruit- In season fruits are fantastic and be sure to include some preserves as well. Fig is always wildly popular.
Condiments- Spicy mustard, honey, olives, nuts or little sweet pickles tend to make an appearance as well. But the best part of a charcuterie board is you can let your taste and creativity soar!
Of course the board is almost as important. You have to have a good looking board that is the right size to support all of this food! Picking a board depends on the size of the event and table space. You may just want to make a little board for date nite or a big round board with handle for your annual Christmas party.