You may be thinking, “WTF is she talking about?!?”
Charcuterie: pronounced ‘shar-koo-tuh-ree’.
Here’s an example of a charcuterie board I made this weekend for a wine tasting I hosted at my house. A charcuterie board is just a fancy way to say meat and cheese platter. Except these boards are on steroids and often include fruit, crackers, nuts, jams, jellies and even dips.
I know you secretly want to impress your family and friends this holiday season. I promise you there is no skill or cooking required. What could be better? And let’s face it, the holidays are getting closer by the day. That doesn’t leave much time to perfect your aunt’s famous coconut cream pie. I also know you have some upcoming parties. Friendsgiving, Thanksgivmas and the big game…just to name a few. Don’t panic! The first step is to volunteer to bring a meat and cheese platter. When you show up with a charcuterie masterpiece, their minds will be BLOWN! Trust me. I would never lead you astray, my faithful reader.
- Get yourself a wood board. They have tons of various shapes and sizes at stores like TJ Maxx and Home Goods. These boards are inexpensive and in my opinion, are the perfect backdrop to whatever you decide to include on your board.
- I prefer to include a mix of cheese, crackers, meat, fruit, nuts and olives. The sky is the limit. Get creative and don’t get bogged down with all the options. There are no set rules here, no matter what you may have read on the subject already.
- When you set out to do your shopping, color is key. You want a variety of colors on the board. You don’t want a board of all white food. That’s not exciting or appealing. Think green grapes, strawberries, cheddar/colby cheese, olives and any kind of meat you like. All of these add nice pops of color.
- Presentation is key. Cut your cheeses into a variety of shapes. Cubes, triangles and long strips all work well. It adds interest and texture to your board.
- Are you that person that hates when their different foods touch on a plate? Then you’re gonna struggle with this next trip. You want your foods to touch. Don’t space them out. You want it to all run seamlessly from one food to the next.
- Blocks of cheese taste better than pre-cut cheeses. Please do yourself a favor and buy the blocks of cheese, not pre-sliced cheese. This will also allow you get creative with shapes as you cut.
- No need to go to a fancy cheese shop. All of these items can be purchased at stores like Hy-Vee, Aldi, Wal-Mart or wherever you like to shop.
- Don’t buy foods you don’t like to eat. You will likely have random leftovers and you don’t want food in the house that you don’t actually like.
The board pictured above is quite large. You can certainly size down for a smaller group. Here’s a check list of the items I used:
- Cheese: colby jack, havarti, gouda, smoked cheddar, and Boursin cheese. Boursin is the brand and it is divine. Actually, I think it’s crack. Yes, crack cheese.
- Meat: summer sausage, peppered salami, mini pepperoni
- Fruit: green grapes, pears
- Ramekins contain: green olives, black olives (regular black and kalmata) and mixed nuts. Tip to making your olives look fancy: sprinkle some feta, gorgonzola or Boursin cheese on top. You don’t HAVE to put these in ramekins, but it does add another layer of depth to your board.
- Crackers: I used two kinds of generic crackers.
As always, I hope this has been helpful. I’d love to see some of your own charcuterie creations! I have to admit, I learned from the best. This next photo is courtesy of my friend Emily. Beautiful.
If these photos don’t make you hungry, there may be something wrong with you. Get yourself a bottle a wine and dig in!!
See ya on the next post!
-The Chic(ish) Chick