If you’re on trend, you’ll know that charcuterie boards are all the rage right now. This artistic form of preparing food has recently found its way on to a number of menus, especially in restaurants that focus on farm to table produce. If you want to impress your guests or you’re just looking for something different to make, find out how to build a charcuterie board full of delicious treats.
So, what is a charcuterie board? Well, charcuterie is the art of preparing a range of charcuterie meats – including sausage, ham, pâté, and salami – and pairing it with a range of cheese products, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and much more.
What is a Charcuterie Board?
A charcuterie board features cured meats, traditionally pork, but they can also feature game, poultry and a range of other charcuterie meats. Literally translating to ‘cooked meats’ from the French ‘chair’, meaning meat or flesh and ‘cuit’ meaning cooked, charcuterie dates to 15th century France. Fancy!
Charcutiers, the makers of these cooked meats, were specialist shop owners that sold pork products ranging from sausages to terrines, black pudding and ham and much more. During lent, when eating meat was banned, charcutiers would sell saltwater fish - which explains why fish has found its way onto the modern charcuterie board too. We see you, sneaky seafood.
Charcuterie boards celebrate the traditional cured meats of 15th century France by pairing them with a range of breads, spreads, fruits and more.
What makes a charcuterie board?
The best place to start would be your charcuterie meats. Tradition is important when it comes to charcuterie meats, much like in Spanish tapas, so knowing which traditional meats you can use for charcuterie board ideas is key.
You can use pâtés, ballotines, galantines and terrines in your board, providing a range of different textures and flavours. Terrines are made from chunkier meat, while pâté is typically made from liver. Ballotines are traditionally deboned poultry thighs or legs that are stuffed, and galantines are like pâté, supplying a paste-like dish of either poultry or fish that has been poached.
Some of the most popular charcuterie meats to include on a charcuterie board include salami, prosciutto, chorizo, rillettes and speck – but if you’re planning on blowing your budget and going all out, Spanish favourites like Jamón Ibérico De Bellota are going to be sure-fire favourites. Our continental meat selection at SPAR could be the perfect place to start when it comes to charcuterie meats.
Charcuterie Board Ideas
The meat is the star of the board, so it’s all about celebrating the flavours you’re putting out. Firstly pick out which meats you’re going to use and then make a list of the other components that you want to use. For cheese, pick a variety of both hard and soft cheeses, such as edam, feta or gouda, but make sure that your hard cheese is sliced into bite-size pieces to make devouring them that little bit easier.
From there, pick crackers or bread to serve as a tiny plate to deliver the goodness of the charcuterie board to your tastebuds. Here’s a top tip: go for a blander choice here that will add texture but not take away from the beauty of your charcuterie meats.
Then there are fruit and vegetables, which you can either roast or serve raw. Options like roasted tomatoes or peppers, or asparagus can go well with cured meats, whilst raw offerings include carrots, cucumbers, or sliced radishes. In terms of fruit, use apples or berries, or dried fruit options like figs and dates that pair beautifully with your meat and cheese choices.
You can add extras like nuts and olives, and dips or sauces like hummus, mustard, or pickles if you are feeling truly creative.
How to Assemble a Charcuterie Board
It’s key to remember that a charcuterie board is meant to be shared. Large plates, bowls and platters will be used to spread the meats and accompaniments around to make the board easier to share. With the right assembly, your board can look like a piece of art.
Picking your platter is the first step – the bigger the board you want to make, the bigger the platter you’ll need. A large plate or wooden serving board would work well here. From there, use different size and shape bowls to keep your smaller pieces inside, like the dips, or nuts.
Make sure the space is filled on the platter by placing things onto the board, contrasting different shapes and colours. An example of this would be keeping light coloured cheese and crackers apart. You can display the meats and cheese in a way that suits you or your guests. Try folding your meat or rolling it tightly and slicing the cheese or crumbling it.
Time to get on board
Take the time to practice before you’re displaying a charcuterie board for larger groups. At SPAR, we have a great selection of meats, fish and side options available, suitable for future gatherings and celebrations where you might want to show off your new charcuterie talents.
Our Spanish Chorizo is a showstopper, providing the authentic spiced flavour of the Mediterranean and stocked in a SPAR store near you. Head down to your local SPAR to pick up yours, along with a range of other meats and charcuterie favourites for your next gathering. Pair your charcuterie board with a selection of our award-winning wines for the perfect night in.
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