Love to have friends over but don’t like to cook? Here’s a clever, delicious answer to that scenario.
Like many great ideas that live on, Charcuterie Boards date back to the 15th century. In those days ‘charcuteriers’ sold their cured meats to villagers to supplement the supply of fresh food available throughout the year.
Pronounced “Sharh-cute-er-ree”, by definition, the word charcuterie means “pork-butcher’s shop,” also, “cooked flesh,” and “meat”.
Today Charcuterie Boards are showing up in restaurants, hotels, and homes. Traditionally made of cured, dried meats, these days, almost anything goes, so you can get creative. Learning how to mix the meats, cheeses, fruit, spreads, and crackers or breads using a variety of different textures, colors, and flavors is great fun.
How to Build a Charcuterie Board
Foodies and hosts are always looking for ways to entertain that are quick, easy, and delicious. That’s exactly what Charcuterie Boards are. The simplicity and fun of selecting a variety of meats, cheeses, veggies, fruits, and other items, then arranging them on a large tray or other flat surface gives you a lot of creative freedom.
And perhaps best of all -- it literally involves no cooking and can be served year round.
The holidays present an excellent time to try out your skills making a Charcuterie Board. If you have ten or so guests for whom you need a meal between Christmas breakfast and Christmas dinner, a Charcuterie Board can be the perfect solution. You don’t want them to be too full before dinner so a Charcuterie Board offers the convenience you want.
You can use anything as a base or foundation for your board as long as it’s flat. You’ll want to consider a few factors. Make sure whatever you use is safe for food. A large cutting board or large sheet pan works well.
A frugal and fun way to put together a Charcuterie Board, is ask some friends and family to bring an item or two to contribute and build it together. It’s a great way to get a party started and gives everyone a chance to stand out.
There are really no set rules about creating a Charcuterie Board. You can go traditional with meats, cheese, olives, crackers, fruit, and spreads; or do one with a chocolate theme. Cookies and cakes make an eye-catching board, too. The only real rule is to mix a variety of different flavors, colors, and textures. If you add something creamy, make sure to contrast it with something crunchy. Same with sweet and savory.
Variations on a theme could include a variety of chocolates, mixed with fruits and cheese. Tuna in a small bowl, accompanied by mini pickles, dill and sweet, a mustard mayo spread and a pile of sprouts, with toasted wheat bread, cut in to triangles. Flavored nuts (sweet and savory), along with fruit, fresh and dried. the possibilities are endless.
And remember to pair your Charcuterie Board delights with a choice of flavorful wines, whether your board has meat and cheese or chocolatey dessert items. There’s a wine that’s perfectly matched for both.
Whatever you decide, make it your own and share it with friends and family!