Tips For The Perfect Charcuterie Board

Savory cured meat varieties, excellent cheese, fruits, and nuts, what else can be so appealing and delicious than a good charcuterie board?

Charcuterie boards have a variety of ingredients, which means every guest will find something suitable for their taste. Whether for a snack party or simply as an appetizer, the perfect charcuterie board can add an incredible atmosphere to every event.

The best thing about a charcuterie board is that you have endless possibilities to create it and each time it will be unique and special. You can be as creative as you wish too.

Seems too easy to prepare?

True, it won’t take you much time to place the ingredients on the board, but the search for the right ingredients can be intimidating. The right choice of ingredients and their combination is very important to make a beautiful and tasty charcuterie board. 

So, what do you need to make a perfect charcuterie board? Let’s find out.

Starting with the Board

The first thing to think about is the board. Boards can be as big as you want, it depends on the number of guests. If it’s for a family dinner, one board would be enough. If you are going to throw a big party, it would be better to make more than one board.

There is no need to buy a special board and spend much on it. A simple wood cutting board or serving tray will be perfect.

Starting with the Board

Cured Meats

Select a variety of meats, 3-6 different types would be great. Choose from different flavors, pick mild, medium, and bold assortments to get a more unique flavor. Don’t be afraid to be creative, mix the colors, textures, and flavors. If you don’t know what to pick, try the combination of hard salami, salty prosciutto ham, spicy soppressata, and pate, or rillettes.

You can simply choose the kind of meat you usually buy and add some different flavored meats and voila. Also, don’t forget about the amount of meat. In order not to overspend or buy too little, consider 3-4 slices (2 ounces) of meat per person. You can buy already sliced meat to not waste your time. Some cured meat types are sliced in big sizes, so you can cut them so that it won’t be too much for the guests.

Variety of Cheeses

The first thing to think about is the board. Boards can be as big as you want, it depends on the number of guests. If it’s for a family dinner, one board would be enough. If you are going to throw a big party, it would be better to make more than one board.

There is no need to buy a special board and spend much on it. A simple wood cutting board or serving tray will be perfect.

wine

Pairing with Wine

If you’re going to offer wine along with a charcuterie board, choose the meat that will pair best with wine. If you prefer red wine with a lot of alcohol and tannin, note that salty and spicy meats, like salami and prosciutto, will make the wine taste hot and the meat even saltier. Though, if you love salami and don’t want to exclude red wine, choose Bresaola by pairing it with smoother red wines. The key is to choose a red wine with lower tannins and alcohols under 13.8%. 

Fats in meats soften tannins in red wine, so pates or foie gras terrine will be a perfect pair to the bold red wines.

Champagne and sparkling wine are the best for a charcuterie board due to their high acidity, lower alcohol, and their affinity for salty dishes. So, if you don’t have any particular wishes for the wine, choose champagne and sparkling wine.

To pair wine with cheese, note that firmer cheeses pair best with older bold wines. If you’ve chosen cabernet sauvignon, pair it with sheep’s milk cheeses, which are very soft and will only make wine’s flavor more colorful. Avoid pairing cabernet sauvignon or any bold red wine with cow’s milk cheeses, as some of them are too creamy and will make the wine taste thin. Though firmer cow’s milk cheeses such as Gouda and Cheddar will be perfect for red wines.

Bread and Crackers

Add some bread and crackers, after all, what are meat and cheese without bread? But try not to choose rich flavored salty bread with herbs. You can simply add a sliced baguette and cracker or crostini to add more balance to your charcuterie board.

Colorful Fruits

Some people may think that pairing salty meat and cheese with sweet ingredients is not a good idea. But on the contrary, fruits not only will add a colorful look to the board, but also will balance the salty ingredients. Adding some fresh in-season fruits is a great idea. Berries are also an excellent choice. If you want to go extra creative you can add some dried fruits. They are accessible all year round. Also, adding some vegetables can also be a good idea.

fruits

Healthy Nuts

Crunchy nuts will perfectly balance the rich flavors of meat and cheese. Here you can choose any nuts you want. Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, pistachio, and cashews are all good choices. You can put small nuts in the bowls.

Pickles and Olives

Pickled vegetables are an ideal addition to a charcuterie board. Gherkins, pickled jalapenos, or pepperoncini are all great and will add extra flavors and colors to the board.

Don’t forget to add some olives to your board.

Jams, Preserves, Mustards, and Dips

Add various jams, preserves, mustards, and dips! bowls with different sizes, colors, and flavors will be extra delicious and will also look great. Coarse ground mustard, apricot jam, fig spread, or pesto, you have limitless options. Jams and preserves with their sweetness will add more balance to dry and salty meat. Mustards and dips will add some extra flavor to meat and cheese.

How to Serve Your Charcuterie Board

Start creating the board with the bowls. Then place the meat and cheese. Note that charcuterie oxidizes quickly, and for some types, you can’t buy already sliced meat (like for salami). If you’re going to slice it, do it 1-2 hours before serving and put it in the fridge. Place the slices rolled up to make the meat easier to pick. You can also place the meat not sliced, but make sure to have a knife, so that everyone can cut it as much as they want. As for the cheese, you can cut some cheese into cubes or slices or add the cheese as a wedge. Again, don’t forget about serving knives.

Then add the bread and crackers, you can place them against the bowls. Try not to place too many of the same colors and textures side by side, the more varied the better. Fill the gaps with fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Add them in different places to mix the colors.

If you’ve placed the board in the fridge, make sure to remove it 15 minutes before serving, so that cheese gets closer to room temperature.

And voila, your perfect charcuterie board is ready to be served!

Grazing platter - Cheese & Charcuterie board
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