Charcuterie. A what?!
Yes. There we go, Charcuterie.
I’ll be the first to admit, I had no idea how to pronounce it. I always said, “You know, those meats and cheeses people put on wooden trays?! Usually at fancy parties…” until I was corrected one afternoon by a foodie coworker. Still took me awhile to get it but now it just kind of rolls off the tongue.
Before we get down to the bare bones and the nitty gritty, let me preface this by saying there is no wrong way to create a charcuterie board. You will still be thought of as a fancy party host/hostess with any types of meats and cheeses. This is just a informational piece so you have all textures covered for all palates.
You want to start off with a combination of meats. Sausages, coppa, prosciutto, salami, ham and roast beefs are great high-quality meats to start off with. Make sure your meats are thinly sliced so they go further and you get more bang for your buck. (Don’t worry, boo. I got you. We’re all about saving here.) If you want to give ’em a good “wow factor”, include meats such as sopressata salami, bresaola beef, cacciatore salami or italian dry salami.
Purchase cheeses with a variety of textures and flavors. It’s good to have one semisoft cheese like Havarti, Monterey Jack, or Muenster; one soft-ripened cheese like Brie or blue cheese; and one firm cheese such as Gouda, Cheddar or Parmigiano-Reggiano. To help keep costs down, mild cheddar and swiss are affordable crowd pleasers. ** For my San Antonio peeps, Central Market has a huge selection of quality cheeses and meats for your charcuterie board. Ask for Chad, the Deli/Cheese manager!
Make sure you fill up empty space on your charcuterie board with bread, dried fruit and nuts. Plus, the helps out with the cost because normally, french baguettes and dried fruits aren’t a huge dent in your wallet. In order to also get more bang for your buck, buy boxes of crackers that come with a variety instead of buying one box for each type. Fruits add color to your board while nuts add a different texture.
There’s no wrong way to display a charcuterie board. Many people use various shapes and sizes of wooden trays while some prefer marble or cast iron. What really will help you is placing out some cheese knives (last thing you want is people grabbing the cheese, taking a big bite and double dipping…) small bowls to hold the fruits and nuts and a cheese plane to grate thin slices of cheese. All of these items can be found at my favorite place in the world… Target.
All in all, a charcuterie board will help win you brownie points. It keeps your guests nibbling on food while you make the rounds. The final thing is, when you throw your charcuterie party, feel free to email me so I can be there. wink wink.