How To Make A Charcuterie Board For Your Next Party
Wine and food are two sides of the same coin. They’re good on their own but enjoyed better together. However, wine is as varied as the world’s cuisines, so finding the right pairings is tricky. Not sure what food to serve when planning to enjoy a nice wine bottle?
This is where charcuterie boards come in. Cured meats, sausages, and hams are deliciously compatible with wine, as are cheeses and other goodies. It’s no surprise that serving a charcuterie board to your guests when tasting wine is a popular strategy. Here’s how to make a charcuterie board for your next party.
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What Is Charcuterie?
Charcuterie is a catch-all term for preserved food, mainly salt-cured and smoked meat. The practice goes back to when we didn’t have refrigeration. Ham, bacon, terrines, sausages, and pâtés are all considered charcuterie. And specialties exist worldwide. From jelly-like terrines to fatty confit, charcuterie is timeless (literally) and has been intertwined with wine and other beverages since the middle ages.
Charcuterie is no longer a necessity but rather a treat to enjoy now and then. It can be a luxury, too. The finest hams are pricey. Charcuterie is also the star ingredient in cold platters. It’s an excellent appetizer for parties, from formal events to casual get-togethers.
What You’ll Need to Make a Simple Charcuterie Board
All charcuterie boards look different. There are so many possibilities regarding the items used and how to present them that there are no hard and fast rules for assembly. With that said, you will need a large board or platter to serve the food on. Bowls can help compartmentalize the board, adding even more possibilities. Cutting and spreading knives should also be considered, depending on the menu. Leave room for decoration and garnishes, too.
What to Put on a Charcuterie Board
No charcuterie board is complete without cured meats, and there are many to choose from. Smoked ham. like the Spanish Iberico and the Italian Prosciutto, are popular alternatives. At the end of the day, the options are limitless. We recommend finding a specialty in your area to highlight local flavors.
Cured meats are best enjoyed with complementary foods, like cheese. Hard, soft, and blue cheeses can play exciting roles on your board. Cheese is creamy, and it can be quite pungent. In a way, the sharp flavor of the cheese balances the cured meat’s fattiness.
Fresh bread, like baguette slices, are a must at every cheese board. So are crackers. These items provide a means of eating the other goodies and help cleanse the palate between bites.
Assorted nuts, dried fruits, and olives are additional complementary ingredients that can give color and variety to your charcuterie board. Everything goes when it comes to these. However, most people try to keep things consistent. Board platters can be thematic, so if you’re serving Mediterranean meats and cheeses, stick to popular items from the area.
Dips and Sauces
Including preserves, dips, and condiments—like Dijon mustard, is an exciting way to complement charcuterie boards. Think of fun preparations, like onion jam and garlic confit.
How to Make a Charcuterie Board for Beginners: Our Top Tips & Tricks
Consider the number of guests, including yourself, and determine the amount of food needed. This may vary depending on whether you’re having dinner or serving dessert. When in doubt, buy more than you think you’ll need. The last thing you want is to run out of food before everyone reaches their fill.
Buy high-quality ingredients. When it comes to charcuterie boards, quality matters. Some items are expensive, like Spanish ham and French cheese. However, high-end products are often of higher quality and are much more exciting than low-end alternatives.
Buy the bread at the last minute to ensure freshness, and don’t serve cured meats and cheese straight from the fridge. They’re more expressive at room temperature.
Arrange the elements on the board or platter artistically, balancing colors, flavors, and textures. Don’t overcrowd the platter. Have extra ingredients on hand, and replenish the board as necessary.
Learn the basics about the board’s main ingredients. Share what you know with your guests, making the charcuterie board an exciting conversation starter. For example, ask your guests, “Did you know this cheese ages in a cave for three months?”
Once you've made a charcuterie board you're proud of and you've chosen the perfect wine to pair with it, the final thing to do is decide on your glassware! Check out the Grassl Vigneron Series’ Mineralité glass, a mouth-blown, multi-purpose wine glass that will transform any wine during any phase of its life.