Catch up with friends around the fire, and nibble on these tasty treats to fuel the conversation! These are our 10 steps to charcuterie greatness:
- First comes first: your platter. For a truly epic charcuterie board, you need a solid foundation: Large cutting boards, marble slabs, slate boards or ceramic platters are all appropriate options for displaying your masterpiece.
- An assortment of cured meats is the core of a great charcuterie board. The origin of the word charcuterie translates to the French words for “meat” and “cooked”. Cured salami and prosciutto provide rich saltiness, while a savory sausage like chorizo adds spice. Save your guests some effort and pre-slice before serving.
- Cheese! Soft and hard cheeses with varying textures, tastes and colors. Try Brie, Havarti, Gouda, Hot Pepper, Mozzarella, Provolone, Blue Cheese, and more. Be sure to serve at least one common cheese that most people are familiar with. If serving any hard cheeses, slice them ahead of time for your guests.
- Olives bring a unique briny flavor to your charcuterie assortment. You can always rely on the common black Mission Olives, or branch out to try some of the fancier options, such as Nicoise, Kalamata, or Cerignola. These more exotic olives will add pops of color to your platter, and offer more complex flavor profiles. Make sure you have a small dish or ramekin for pits if they are not prepitted.
- A great condiment pairing can really bring out the flavors in the other elements on your board. Mix it up with some tasty spreads, like fig jams or mustards. You can also prepare a simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar bread dip in a shallow dish.
- Include a selection of crackers and sliced bread. These items are typically going to be paired with your spreads and cheeses, so make sure they are fresh and tasty, but also mild flavored. This can be a great way to add texture, so try seed crackers and soft baguette slices. If there isn’t enough room on your platter, these can be served on the side.
- Fresh and dried fruit such as grapes, berries, dried apricots, and dates add notes of sweetness to compliment the salty elements on the platter.
- And for some finishing touches, add some fresh herb sprigs such as mint or rosemary.
- Arrange your snacks for optimal snacking, and your plate is set for success!