Charcuterie is the PERFECT appetizer to serve to guests because there is so little fuss involved…no mixing, stirring, baking or heating! Creating a great Charcuterie is all about balance. I like to balance color, texture, and flavour profiles. Something savory, something creamy, something with a kick, something crunchy, something sweet.
Choosing your board: While charcuterie could be presented on almost any type of plate or platter, I prefer a wooden board. Choose one with a unique shape. Again, symmetry isn’t important. In fact most boards are purposely & naturally non-symmetrical. An interesting shaped board just adds to a beautiful presentation. You can use most hardwoods like oak, maple, teak, pecan, bamboo & cherry. Hardwoods are preferred as the tighter wood grain doesn’t allow for food bacteria to be as easily absorbed into the grain like it would with a pine, fur or other soft wood. You can NOT use cedar, rosewood, hemlock, or any type of reclaimed wood (like barn wood for instance). These are not food safe, and will leach oils that (could) have a high toxicity to humans. The best finish for a charcuterie board is tung oil or mineral oil. The board should be re-oiled after it has been washed, or before each new use to keep your board in good condition.
We carry a lot of different sized & locally sourced boards that range from $29.99 to $59.99 depending on size. No two are alike, so come in store to see our selection!
Don’t be too precise: Charcuterie should be presented in an informal/casual way. Nothing too symmetrical, precise or fussy. Again, color & flavour balance is more important than precision of placement.
Focus on the meat and cheese: As charcuterie has become more popular, board presentations have become more varied and custom. The definition of Charcuterie is “smoked and cured meats”, so traditionally the whole board would be built around items that pair with, and highlight your meat choices. Charcuterie has evolved away from being a “thing”, to a way of presenting many little bites in a particular way. You could make a gorgeous vegan Charcuterie for instance.
Don’t overload your board: You do not have to fill every inch of your board with an item. Like in most design, “white space” is important.
Serving sizes: Not every person at your gathering is going to have some of everything you offer. The beauty of charcuterie is having a variety of items available, so that there is something most people will enjoy. Plan on about 4 pieces of each type of meat, and approx. 2 oz of cheese per person.
Meat: Click here to see our post on Salami which also highlights some of the types we carry
In general, you should choose a selection of cured meats like salami, prosciutto, something soft like pate, or smoked meats & sausage.
Cheese: See our post highlighting some of the cheese we carry. Try and have at least one soft cheese like goat Chevrai or a flavoured ricotta, and 2 hard cheese selections like a white cheddar, or Asiago. Semi-soft gouda’s are always popular. If you are looking for something a little different, grill some Haloumi cheese for your board.
Wild Cards: Antipasto, hummus, honey, grainy mustard, olive tapenade, pickles, olives or other marinated vegetables
Crunch: A variety of crackers, nuts, fresh vegetables (carrots, celery radish & Jicama are all great) & breads.
Fresh: Berries, fresh figs & grapes are great “finger food”, don’t require slicing, and won’t brown over time.