Charcuterie boards are the best combination of trendy and delicious. Here’s our how to guide on building a charcuterie board to impress your guests!
Impress your guests with a delicious charcuterie board!
Charcuterie boards have been all the rage in restaurants for some time now and many food lovers are borrowing the idea for easy home entertaining. “Charcuterie” is a French word that means “cooked meat,” and a traditional charcuterie plate usually consists of a selection of different prepared meats. Restaurants will usually stack their charcuterie boards with house-made pates and fancier selections, but its perfectly acceptable to fill your homemade charcuterie board with meats from your local grocery store deli department.
Here are some tips on how to get started with your own charcuterie board at home:
- Invest in a proper board – While placing your meats on a regular plate would technically work, there are benefits to buying a wooden butcher’s block or proper charcuterie board if you plan on serving charcuterie often. The wooden board looks nice and sets the mood for a casually shared appetizer, but there are also some practical reasons to use one. An elevated board makes it easier for people to reach for their meat selections and a large flat surface allows you to smear jams and mustards directly onto the board for easy access. If your board is large enough you can also make small labels to place beside each meat so guests know what they’re eating.
- Choose your meats – You don’t need to go overboard, but a good charcuterie board should have at least four to eight meat selections. Plan about 2-3 oz (55-85 g) of meat per person, spread out among the total number of varieties. From there, variety is key — you don’t want a board full of similar looking cold cuts. Choose a mix of cured hard sausages (slice them or leave a chunk of sausage on the board with a knife), thinly shaved meats like prosciutto, and a pate or terrine (choose a pre-made one, there are many available). Plan on an array of flavours, making sure that there’s a balance of spicy and more mild choices.
- Condiments and extras – Salty, spicy meats beg for some balance with a little bit of sweetness, sourness, bitterness, and acidity. Fill out your charcuterie board with some fancy mustard, pickles, olives, artisanal jams, chutneys, and other condiments.
- Bread and crackers – Once the meat is in place, you’ll need a vehicle to serve it with. A thinly sliced baguette can be transformed into crostini when brushed with olive oil and baked for 15-20 minutes in a 350 degree F oven. Store-bought crackers, breadsticks and fresh un-toasted bread are also welcome additions.