Charcuterie Board: easy appetizer or meal
Instructions on how to build a Charcuterie Board and suggested ingredients for a Charcuterie Board perfect for Holiday Parties and Entertaining.
We have discovered the joy of the Charcuterie Board, which is just a fancy way to say Meat and Cheese Board.
What is a Charcuterie Board?
Literally, ‘Charcuterie’ is defined as the branch of cooking related to prepared meat products. But the term has also been loosely applied to meat trays accompanied by an assortment of cheese, fruits, nuts, and other accompaniments. If we really wanted to make Merriam-Webster happy, we would say ‘Charcuterie and Cheese Board’, but that’s just 2 extra words we don’t need, so we are sticking with Charcuterie Board. With that vocabulary lesson out of the way, let’s move on.
Now that both of our little fledglings have flown the nest, we often find ourselves sitting on our new back porch come dinner time and pulling out a variety of meats and cheeses, olives, nuts and preserves for a casual dinner.
Since the weather has chilled, we have moved our Charcuterie Board indoors and in front of the fireplace. In truth, we have long been a family that enjoys their meat and cheese platters; we often order it in restaurants as our group appetizer and we have been doing our version of Christmas Cheese Board on the day after Thanksgiving as we decorate our home for the holidays
For the holidays, we just amp up the festive colors and change out some of the fruits, but in essence, it is the same year-round meat and cheese board.
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Charcuterie Board Ingredient Suggestions:
Include a variety of cheeses like:
- Soft/Creamy Cheese like Brie or Goat Cheese
- Semi-Soft Cheese like Munster or Tallegio
- Firm/Hard Cheese like Manchego, Gruyere and Cheddar (pre-slicing the hard cheeses will make it easier)
- Blue Cheese like Stilton and Gorgonzola
- Cheese Flavored with herbs and fruits, like the goat cheese rolled in dried cranberries and orange peel shown above.
Include a variety of meats like:
- Hard Meat like Salami, Pepperoni, Saucisson, or Chorizo (consider pre-slicing your hard meats and putting them in a little bowl)
- Dry-Cured Meat like Prosciutto, Coppa, Speck, or Jambon
Fruits & Vegetables
Consider seasonal produce and preserves for your Charcuterie Boards. Some suggestions are:
- Pickles and olives, such as Pickled Cranberries, Cornichons, Marinated Castelvetrano Olives
- Grapes, Sugared Cranberries, Fresh Berries, Apple and Pear Slices (dipped in lemon juice), and Cherries in Spiced Port Wine.
- Preserves like Mulled Wine Jelly, Winter Cranberry Conserve, Fig Jam, Smoky Spiced Tomato Jam
- Pistachios, Marcona Almonds, Spiced or Herbed Nuts like these Toasted Walnuts with Rosemary
How to Build a Charcuterie Board:
In general, for a holiday-themed meat and cheese board, consider the colors that you want to accentuate. On my board, I wanted a festive red and green theme, so I found red-topped toothpicks and used cranberries and greens for garnishing. The green in the olives and cornichons and red in the sugared cranberries helped me to further carry that color scheme.
I find that filling as much space on the board as possible creates the most attractive Charcuterie Board.
- The first step to build a Charcuterie Board is to lay out the bowls and jars of preserves you are using on your large board. For my Holiday Charcuterie Board, I used bowls of Marinated Castelvetrano Olives, Cornichons, Sugared Cranberries, and Herbed Walnuts. I also added a jar of Mulled Wine Jelly and a bowl of sliced saucisson.
- Next, lay out your meat and cheese. For the cheese, make sure the cutting side is facing out.
- Fill in with bread, crackers or toasts
- Place a container of toothpicks if needed
- Place several cheese knives/spreaders near the cheese and a spoon in your preserves and mustards.
- Garnish with parsley or rosemary and then dot the board with fresh cranberries.
How much meat and cheese do I need to build a Charcuterie Board?
If your meat and cheese board is for appetizers, figure on a total of 3 ounces per person. Double that to 6 ounces if the Charcuterie Board will be the main coarse.
To refer back to this post on how to build a Charcuterie Board and suggested Charcuterie Board ingredients, bookmark this page or pin the following image.
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