When hosting an event, big or small, a charcuterie board is always a good idea. When it’s your time to create this dish, you may be asking yourself, “What reallyis a charcuterie board?” The answer lies within each Chef. Some may use it for an appetizer; others may turn it into an entire meal. Whether you are a beginner or a charcuterie King looking for a new way to spice up your board, here is our Chef’s take on making a draw-dropping charcuterie board:
- Take a minute to review all your items
Pinterest boards feed you a plethora of charcuterie examples, it can get a little hard deciphering what is even on the plate. When making your very own charcuterie, make sure you cover the basics. A charcuterie begins with cheese, meat, and fruit. Before taking it any step further, make sure all the bases are covered before getting creative.
- Quantity & Quality
Whether your charcuterie board is the main event or for snacking, quantity and quality should be emphasized in all boards no matter how big or small. When breaking it down to specifics, a traditional charcuterie board has 1-2oz of cheese per person and 3-4 slices of meat per person if it’s meant for grazing before a larger meal. Before you buy, make sure the specifics about who you will be serving, and last-minute members, are added up before the big shop. With the quantity all set, it’s time to consider the quality of each item. If you are confused about what meats to buy, prosciutto and pâte are a perfect start. Choose items that come in different shapes, colours, and sizes, so you and your guests can differentiate from each item.
- Put your cheese and meat on the board first
Charcuterie boards may seem structureless to the eye, yet when it comes to this dish, the unwritten rules of layout can make all the difference. To make a charcuterie board experience come to life, ensure that cheeses and meats are the first items on the board. By laying out the cheese from soft to hard, and mild to strong, it provides a guide to taste buds when navigating a euphoria of options. Now that the cheeses are placed to perfection, it is time for the meat to follow. Proteins can be laid out in the same fashion as cheese, that is; mild to strong, beside the corresponding cheese taste. By pairing mild cheese with mild meat, it grants the guest with the ideal match for every bite.
- Don’t forget the sauce
When building a dish that revolves around the conversation of taste, don’t let your charcuterie lackluster. Embrace and expand your charcuterie pallet with an assortment of sauces, compotes, and jams. For the mild section, adding a delicate sauce, such as honey, can make all the difference. Don’t get tied up over strong cheese and spicy meats, as seasoned and peppery sauces pair with them perfectly.
- Crackers are key
Whether you put them on the board, or display them on the side, adding a variety of crackers and crostini makes every charcuterie an instant hit. If your board does not have enough room, don’t chintz out on the crackers…make them their separate display!
- Don’t forget the pickles!
Sweet, salty, and savory…who doesn’t love a good pickle? If you aren’t the biggest fan of dill, don’t fret, with a mix of pickles, olives, gherkins, and pearl onions, the world is your oyster within a charcuterie. The assortment may seem excessive, yet pickled bites serve a purpose; the vinegar cuts the fat and richness of the cheeses and meats. As your guests move between items, these help to cleanse the palate for the next bite.
- Fill the gapsYou may be looking at your board and wondering what final touches can bring it to life. Now that we are onto the last step, this is where the sweet meets the savory. To fill the gaps and voids on your board, sprinkle in a balance of fresh, or dried fruits with nuts throughout the board. Grapes are a classic. Not sure what else to add? Think about the occasion! If it’s the holidays, keep it seasonal with figs, dried or fresh. If you’re not sure what to add, think of things you like. This board is representing your taste and personal creation, so why not have it reflect your personality as well.