Can I Make This In Advance
Absolutely. Just remember fruit like apples and pears will brown if cut too early so only add those right before serving. I would also leave the bread and crackers off and only add right before serving. Assemble your board then cover well with plastic wrap. Leave at room temperature for up to an hour or keep in the fridge for up to 4 hours. Remove from the fridge an hour before serving to allow the cheese to come to room temperature.
My Favorite Crackers For A Charcuterie Board:
- Pepperidge farm Trio crackers
- Water biscuits
- Something gluten-free, like a Nut Thin or something similar
Other items to add to your board:
- Olives and/or mini pickles, for a salty bite. I love a mix of green and black olives.
- Nuts! My favorite to use are Marcona Almonds but mixed nuts, almonds, cashews anything works
- Honey I love drizzling honey on my cheese!
- Jam or mustard
- Chocolate chocolate and cheese pair well together. Get a dark chocolate bar and just break pieces to fill in the board.
Thats everything that goes into one of my easy cheese boards. My rule of thumb is that it should seem messy but its really not.
How To Make The Best Meat And Cheese Tray
I dont know about you, but I believe a charcuterie and cheese board is much more than throwing a few pieces of cheese and cold cuts on a board and serving it with crackers or bread. While that is certainly acceptable, I look at it as a form of art and an opportunity to feed the eyes of your guests before you satisfy their palates.
With that being said, choosing the right combination of wine, cheese, meats, crackers, and other accompaniments takes a little bit of planning, but hopefully, with my tips, it will be an easy one and you will master the art of preparing a gorgeous meat and cheese tray for your guests.
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Tips For Wine Pairings With Charcuterie
Wine is meant to accompany and highlight the food before you. Most charcutiers and cheesemongers publish detailed profiles of their products, commonly sharing other food and wine pairings alongside the descriptions of the items. A quick search of the purveyor or simply the style of the product will reveal clues for solid wine pairings.
Meet Our Favorite Meats
Weve found that ordering the meats sliced fresh from the deli meat counter is the way to go. The meat just tastes so much better when its sliced fresh to order and served the same day.
We usually do 4-5 different cuts of meat for a small board or even more for a larger crowd. If were eating the board as a meal, we plan for about 3-4 slices of each meat per person. Thinly sliced. For your reference, each package of sliced meat for a board for two people ends up weighing anywhere from .05 to .25 of a pound.
Weve gotten to know the staff at our local grocery store deli meat counters and rely on them for recommendations if were looking for something new. Were always really nice to them because requesting just 8-10 thin slices of 4-5 different meats is probably not their favorite order to take, but its all we need sometimes if were building a board just for the two of us. No need to buy a full pound of meat when you just need 2-3 thin slices per meat per person.
Here are our favorite meats:
- Prosciutto 18-30 month
- Italian Salamis Soppressata, Coppa, Schiacciata Piccante, Finocchiona, Calabrese
- German-style Salamis Hungarian-style, Mustard Seed, Cliente Picante
- Mortadella with or without pistachio
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Food Items For The Seasonal Charcuterie Board
Here are the items that you can use to make our charcuterie board:
- Cured meats: You can select any of your choices. I got a package in the store that came with 3 cured types of meat: prosciutto, capocollo, and Calabrese salami. You may either choose them individually or buy a variety pack, which usually has a better price!
- Cheeses: our meat and cheese board has 3 different types of cheeses: two hard kinds of cheese and a semi-soft cheese .
- Starches: 2 types of crackers, Italian breadsticks, and baguette toast composed our board.
- Fruits: I used dried cranberries and also a variety of seasonal fresh fruits like grapes, pomegranate, and strawberries.
- Veggies: Anything seasonal and that would appeal to your picky eaters. I used celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, and baby carrots.
- Nuts: They cost more so I chose only one type which was pecans. But you can buy mixed nuts in a can or pick one or more of your preference.
- Spreads: For the sweet spread I picked an orange marmalade and for a savory spread/dip, hummus.
- Desserts: I chose mini treats such as macarons, caramels, meringues, and chocolate truffles. They dont occupy much space and you can easily buy them in most stores. Anything that is small, proper for the occasion, and that you love goes well.
The Best Cheeses To Use
Lets talk cheeses and little plates and dishes you can use. Before I start anything else I like to choose first my board, because that will give me an idea how much I need for my board, second my cheeses and third, little dishes to include.
Like I said above, this is your board so choose your favorite varieties of cheese. Id suggest have at least 3 different cheeses in different shapes and sizes. See my photo above for reference. Keep in mind my board was very large, but I chose 4 cheeses- brie, smoked gouda, blue cheese, Pecorino Romano and a bloc of cream cheese that I added spicy jelly on top.
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Tips For Creating A Charcuterie Board
In this tutorial, we will teach you how to put together a charcuterie board. But first, we will start with a couple of general tips:
- When selecting your favorite ingredients, always remember to look for a balance in flavor. You can reach this balance by incorporating bitter ingredients and sweet ingredients .
- Also look for a balance in textures: include hard cheeses and soft cheeses.
- When assembling the board, start from the center. This will help you create a beautiful structure. Add containers for some of the elements this will create additional shapes.
- Always remember to add bread or crackers .
- Remember to add at least one knife for each type of cheese.
- Be creative with the ingredients. Besides the charcuterie and cheeses that are often included in boards, feel free to add dried fruits, fresh fruits, olives, and other elements that can add flavors and variety.
These are the products we selected for this board:
Mitica Drunken Goat Cheese In Red Wine
Most people enjoy a glass of wine with their charcuterie platter, so Mitica went ahead and infused red wine straight into their goat cheese! This semi-firm goat cheese from the Murcia region of Spain is cured for up to 72 hours in a traditional Spanish red wine. The result is a bright white cheese with a purple rind that has a beautiful, smooth fruit taste. Its a great way to offset any strong flavors on the board.
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Why Make A Cured Meat And Cheese Platter
Because it is super fun and requires no cooking! It is a dream for any food lover, wouldnt you agree?
Imagine a whole spread of foods that you can nibble on, nicely assembled for your leisure or entertaining. It all creates a composition of flavors and textures like a harmonious symphony .
But thats not all! Here are a few more reasons to fix a meat and cheese board:
- It makes a no-cook appetizer or meal for a party.
- It is perfect not just for summer but for all year round. It is not a seasonal thing, although you should choose seasonal items to make it budget-friendly.
- The variety increases your chance of satisfying different palates!
- Great for when youre having guests over for the holidays and want to impress, but without all the hassle.
- A great opportunity and excuse to clean out your fridge or pantry using fresh fruits, veggies, pickled items, nuts, sauces, crackers, proteins, and other finger foods. A clever way to avoid waste!
- Ideal for when you want a light meal with different items to choose from.
Pro Tips For A Great Charcuterie:
Keep it simple! This may seem obvious, but design your board based on the people who will be eating from it and fill it with simple foods that people actually LIKE! When in doubt, avoid fancy and expensive cheeses, nuts, crackers or condiments that the people youre serving may not care for.
Make it COLORFUL! I love to add color through fruit, like bright red apples, green and red grapes, strawberries, raspberries or blueberries.
For Costco members: I particularly like Costcos sliced cheese party tray. Its inexpensive, good quality, and the cheese is already sliced and ready to go. They also have great and inexpensive Brie cheese, and sliced meats packaged and ready for these type of meat and cheese boards.
Select A Variety Of Meat Textures
Charcuterie should vary by texture, spice profile and slicing thickness to create myriad flavor combinations for food and wine pairing. Our chef likes to serve salami , alongside terrines, pates and rillettes to create a textural spectrum of meats. Select both sausage-style hard salamis, which are salt-cured and seasoned with spices and herbs, and the more delicate, salt-only cured prosciutto ham, as demonstrated in our how to assemble a charcuterie platter video above. The salting and drying of salami releases moisture in the meat while concentrating flavor. Pate, terrine or rillettes offer a much creamier texture, thanks to fat added during preparation. We prefer to make our own pates, terrines and rillettes, but Olympia Provisions is a wonderful purveyor of ready-made delicacies. Our favorite cured meats to serve at Jordan are currently La Quercia Berkshire Prosciutto of Iowa compared to a Spanish Iberico, Molinari Finocchiona Salame , Berkeleys FraMani Nostrano Salame , FraMani Salame Rosa . We also like to serve 10-month aged Bresaola from Utahs Creminelli Fine Meats, which is one of the few beef products cured in the prosciutto tradition. Combining salt and a touch of sweetness, the carpaccio-thin Bresaola has stronger flavor than a pork prosciutto.
So What Exactly Is A Charcuterie Board
A charcuterie board, which is pronounced shaar-KOO-tuh-ree, originated in France. It translates to pork-butcher shop, and was mostly a board of pork products. But nowadays, these boards are made up of a variety of cured meats and other ingredients like fruit, cheese, and flavor enhancers. They are meant to complement each other and create delicious pairings based on taste and texture. Everyone loves a good grazing board because there is usually something for everyone. The combinations that can be put together optimize flavor to create a really enjoyable and exciting assortment of foods.
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No More Scratching Your Head At The Grocery Store Here Are The Best Cheeses Pairings And Serving Ideas For Your Cheese Board
Tapenades. Jams. Olives. So many cheese options it makes your head spin. Luckily, from Giadas restaurants to recipe developing and beyond, weve had more cheese board experience at the Giadzy Kitchen than we ever thought possible and weve picked up a thing or two about pairings along the way. Consider this your ultimate bookmarkable guide on how to build any cheese board!
And now all of the best cheese board pairings, explained!
How To Arrange A Charcuterie Board
Building boards is easy. No board is ever the same.
Make it your own, use what you have. And never apologize for a culinary mistake.
Enjoy bringing people together with great food, and I think youll be surprised how casual and easy it is to serve a charcuterie board.
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What I Included On This Cheese Board:
CHEESE: Roth Kase Raw Private Reserve, Sartori Merlot Bellavitano, Wisconsin 5-Year Cheddar, St. Mark’s Bloomy Rind, Bri Du Pommier, Bayley Hazen Blue
MEATS: Murray’s Prosciutto di Parma, Murray’s Genoa Salami
FRESH FRUITS: Snapdragon apple slices, red grapes
DRIED FRUITS: Mariani Dried Apricots, Cherry Bay Orchards Dried Montmorency Cherries
NUTS: Blue Diamond Honey Roasted Almonds, Fisher Roasted Cashews, Roundy’s Pecan Halves
SAVORY: Murray’s Garlic Stuffed Olives, Trois Petits Cochons Cornichons
DIPS: Private Selection Whole Grain Garlic Mustard, Local Hive Honey, Divina Fig Spread
BREADS: Alessi Breadsticks, Private Selection Peppercorn & Poppy Water Crisps, Back to Nature Multigrain Flax Seeded Flatbread
When Should You Serve A Charcuterie Board
Charcuterie makes for a great appetizer or meal for nearly any occasion. Some of the best times to create and serve a charcuterie spread include:
- Picnics: Charcuterie boards have an earthy feel that makes them perfect for a picnic. Its easy to pack the ingredients separately and quickly arrange them on a tray once you choose the perfect spot for your picnic.
- Celebrations: Whether youre celebrating an engagement, a new home, a birthday, a new baby or any other of lifes special moments, a charcuterie tray is a perfect way to enjoy special occasions.
- Holiday gatherings: The holiday season is one of the most popular times to indulge in delicious cured meats and cheeses, so a charcuterie board is right at home at a Christmas or New Years party.
- Dinner parties: Charcuterie boards serve as an easy and impressive appetizer when youre entertaining. They can even serve as the main course if youre hosting a more informal dinner party.
- Romantic dates: What is more romantic than enjoying a glass of wine and delicious food with someone you love? A charcuterie board is an excellent choice if you want to create a romantic date for you and your partner.
What Condiments Go On A Charcuterie Board
Triple Ale Onion Spread with Aged Cheddar and Sausage.
- Balsamic Fig Mostarda Spread Figs Simmered in Balsamic with a Touch of Mustard Spice A Classic Addition to A Cheese and Charcuterie Board.
- Green Tomato Jalapeno Pepper Jelly Spread A Sweet Yet Tangy and Spicy Bite For Your Meat and Cheese Platters.
Expert Tips For Seasonal Charcuterie Boards
- Choose and use the produce & other foods based on what is in season and/or on sale. In the summertime, for example, pick seasonal fruits such as watermelon, peaches, and cherries. If youre making a winter meat and cheese platter like I did, grapes and pomegranates are some of the best picks, For fall, apples, pears, and figs are better choices. In the spring, maybe apricots and rhubarb. The same goes for veggies! Buying seasonal produce will save you money and also will taste better.
- Place food items next to what they will be eaten with: For example, crackers close to a cheese, cured meats closer to toast, veggies close to dips, etc.
- Choose a board or platter with handles or a rim when possible: After putting the board together in the kitchen you will be able to easily carry it wherever youll be serving the food.
- Break the most popular food items into small groups: Because most people go for cured meats, crackers, and bread as well as cheeses first, it works better if you scatter them across the board with space in between them. That way, more than one person can serve themselves at the same time instead of having to wait their turn.
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How Much Should I Buy/serve For Charcuterie
- 3 ounces of meat and 3 ounces of cheeses per person you arent buying 3oz of EACH cheese/meat, only a total sum of 3 & 3 per guest, planning for each person to snack on a variety of items you place on the board.TIP: Dont forget to check if the store has a cheese sample bin with smaller wedges, which may be a more economical way to select a wider variety.
- Fruits and vegetables should match the amount of meat and cheese in board real estateif the meat and cheese cover 12 inches of the board or plate, then fruit and vegetables should cover approximately that same amount of space.
- Pickles, olives, nuts, and jams get tucked in and around the platter to encourage guests to mix and match these accompaniments with everything on the board.
- Ultimately you will buy some items in larger quantities than youll use creating a single board like a whole bag of grapes, jars of olives, or boxes of crackers, so leftovers are inevitable. TIP: Leftover fruit can be frozen for tossing in breakfast smoothies!
How To Create Regional Charcuterie Boards
You can also create a charcuterie board around a theme, such as a regional destination. Pick a country known for its meats and cheeses, like Italy or France, and stick as closely as you can to only including meats and cheeses that were originally created in the region, even if you purchase an American-made equivalent. Make sure your drink selection also hails from the country.
Regional charcuterie boards arent necessarily limited to European countries. For an American charcuterie board, narrow in on a particular region. One of the best places you can select is Lancaster County. This region produces some of the best American meats and cheeses to rival European favorites. For example, you could include cheeses like Smoked Lancaster Colby and Lancaster Conestoga Sharp Cheddar alongside quality smoked meats from S. Clyde Weaver and round out the board with other Lancaster favorites.
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