Maybe you've scrolled past a beautifully displayed charcuterie board on Instagram, maybe you’ve never heard of it, or maybe you’re a pro. No matter what level you're on, charcuterie boards are whatever you make of them. Charcuterie boards can be a simple arrangement of meats and cheeses shared around the table, or they can be dressed up elegantly for a special occasion.
There’s no shortage of ideas or possibilities for charcuterie boards, and we want to share a few options to try at your next gathering.
What is Charcuterie?
Charcuterie boards come from the old French tradition of preparing and assembling meats. Since then, charcuterie boards have evolved to also include an assortment of meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, pickled products, breads, etc. One of the main features of a modern charcuterie board is the variety of tastes and textures and how well they can all pair together. Soft cheeses meet crunchy French bread while pickled vegetables are paired with bold meats. It’s a palate phenomenon, and trying new pairings and flavors is half the fun of enjoying a charcuterie board.
Charcuterie for a Crowd
Whether it’s for a small get together in the backyard or a large gathering, like a wedding, charcuterie boards are the perfect way to feed your guests. Here's how you can build your board:
- Select what you will use as the foundation of your charcuterie board. Some options include a cutting board, a wood round, a countertop, a table, or anything suitable. As long as the surface is flat, you can use it. You’ll also want to consider how big you want your spread to be; the bigger the crowd, the bigger the spread, and the bigger your foundation needs to be. This also applies to your budget; the bigger the foundation, the more ingredients you'll need to fill it up.
- Decide where you’re going to buy your ingredients. If you can, try to find a store with fresh and unique foods such as homemade bread, a fresh deli, pickled vegetables, interesting jams, ripe produce, and a variety of crackers and nuts. Unless you have the perfect store in mind, you might need to visit a few different stores to get all of your ingredients.
- Decide what foods you're going to feature on your board. What you put on your board is up to you, as there is no right or wrong way to build a charcuterie board, but pairing complementary foods close together will guide your guests' dining experience. For example, you can set a soft goat cheese in between tangy red pepper jelly and crunchy rounds of a French baguette - encouraging your guests to enjoy the ingredients together for a flavorful experience. Here are some more food ideas for your board:
- Dried fruits
- Olive oil
- Assemble your board and prepare for your guests. Here comes the fun part! Like we said in Step 3, it's best to arrange your ingredients strategically on your board, and the fun part is getting to decide what goes where. Don't stress or overthink the arrangement; pour yourself a refreshing glass of wine and enjoy creating your masterpiece. After you assemble your board, make sure you have your wine pairings ready for your guests. Not sure what wine to pair with what cheese pairing? Check out our other posts about white wine pairing and red wine pairing.
- Enjoy your time with your guests. The hard part is over, and now you can sit back and enjoy your company over a beautiful arrangement of cheeses, meats, accoutrements, and wine. Ah, is there anything better?
Not Ready for a Charcuterie Board?
Maybe just reading this post has you feeling overwhelmed. While charcuterie boards are an approachable option for everybody, we understand wanting to feed your guests with fewer ingredients. That's why we listed our favorite wine and cheese pairings for our white wine and red wine lovers. Simply lay out some bread and crackers with your cheese selections, and sip on a complementary wine for a unique and easy experience.
Whether you build a charcuterie masterpiece or enjoy wine and cheese pairings, Casillero wishes you a happy get-together with your friends and loved ones.