Charcuterie is not only one of our favourite things to eat, but its also one of our go-to appetizers when hosting! We particularly love it because a) Richelle is a fairly picky eater and she loves that she can choose what goes on her plate without looking rude b) because it is one of the quickest and easiest appetizers to make c) Charcuterie is a great option for any Season/ Occasion! Summer, yes. Thanksgiving, definitely! Christmas- One Hundred Percent!
Never made one before or in a Charcuterie rut? No worries! We have 5 simple tips for you to make your Charcuterie EPIC!
1. Give Lots of Options- This goes back to our comment on being picky! Not everyone loves all kinds of Meats or Cheeses, so by providing a multitude of options you can ensure there is something for everyone! We reccomend 3-4 different types of Cheese. Go with a few staples like Brie or Camembert, an aged Cheddar, an Italian Classic like Piave Vecchio or Prima Donna and something funky and flavoured such as Blue Cheese, Port Cheese or a herbed Goat Cheese. Then come the meats. We like to pick up a few different kinds of Salami such as Gypsy and Spicy Genoa, as well as some domestic prosciutto (just as delish as imported, but a quarter of the price), and some Organic Turkey for good measure. Next, think beyond just the standard cheese, meat and grapes. We’ve found that the best boards have many easy-to-grab items that guests can pick at over the course of the evening (and a few glasses of vino!). Include fruit, nuts, spreads, pickled foods and even throw in a few veggie options if you are inclined!
2. Mix Sweet and Savory Flavors- Many skip the sweet flavors on a charcuterie board and we believe this to be a critical error! Think Brie Cheese with raw honey, sprinkled with truffle salt… need I say more?? Some of our favourite sweet ingredients to include are organic apples, pears, berries, and melons, Honey (we have a slight obsession with Drizzle!), Chutney, Jams, Spreads, dried fruit, nuts and even CHOCOLATE. Have fun with it and get a little adventurous!
3. Presentation- One of the keys to an envy-inducing Charcuterie board is aesthetic appeal, aka how fab it looks all put together! We always start by putting a few small bowls or ramekins spaced through out the board. Next add in all your condiments (jams, honeys, mustards, spreads like hummus etc). Then Cut larger wedges or rounds of cheese in half or quarters and spread them around your cheese board. This way, if two guests want Aged Cheddar, one doesn’t have to wait while the other cuts a slice. Plus, it is more visually appealing to have various shapes and sizes around the board. When it comes to meat- cut up some pieces such as your Chorizo sausage, roll some, stagger others. It makes items much easier to grab when rolled up or staggered then the way it appears when sliced at the deli. Space out your carbs around the board. Arrange breadsticks, various types of crackers, and bread in different designs to create depth and vary color!
4. FILL the Board- Let no space go empty! If you have run out of ingredients, feel free to add decorative and edible garnishes that create a little flair. I love to use Fresh, Organic Herbs such as Rosemary, Dill, Thyme and Basil. You can also use other random items kicking around in your fridge such as Spicy Arugula, Butter Leaf Lettuce, Kale, Cranberries or Pomegranate seeds for a pop of color and little zip of Freshness to cut the richness of Meat & Cheese! We also love sliced grapefruit, halved pomegranate, cut figs, and halved kiwis and place through out the board. A few other finishes we love to add at the end- clementine oranges with the leaves still on, watermelon radishes, and gooseberries! Have fun playing with the colors and textures. We often make our boards a mixture of charcuterie and Crudité to add more color and freshness! For hints on how to do that- check out this post!
5. Incorporate Small Dishes- We love the look and practicality little dishes and ramekins provide. You can contain some items like soft condiments (Mustards, Chutneys, Jams etc) or smaller pickled items like beets or olives that might bleed into another ingredient’s space. Using small dishes also gives the platter another eye-catching dimension. You can also use little jars or cute shaped containers you have left over from other ingredients.
Below are some images from a recent Charcuterie we put together for recent event celebrating the launch of the Clove, and exciting new residential development in Edmonton’s River Valley Neighbourhood of Cloverdale! Check out that Epic Backsplash!!
Happy Charcut-ing!! We would love to see what exciting and fun boards you come up with! Be sure to tag us on instagram or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org !