A Beginner's Guide to Charcuterie
No fuss, no muss. Just let loose and party!
Throwing a dinner to impress? Perhaps, an intimate get-together with your best mates? Or maybe you’re just feeling a bit peckish. Whatever the occasion, you can never go wrong with a nice spread of nibbles.
Clearly, I was on an appetizer roll this weekend. One of my faves to do is a #charcuterie board. Guests can graze while hosts can continue to cook. You can catch the step by step on my insta story or recipe highlights on the key components to making a stellar board. I like to add in olives but had no room so I served small bowls of extra stuff on the side. Any way you look at it - it’s a good time for all🍃💙👍🏻 . . . . #foodphotography #feedfeed #f52grams @thefeedfeed #simplybeautifuleating #beautifulcuisines #fbcigers #hautecuisines #foodandwine #myopenkitchen #foodstyling #bhgfood #pursuepretty #vscofood #foods4thought #thatsdarling #heresmyfood @food #realsimple #huffposttaste #buzzfeast #eatingfortheinsta #charcuterieboard #fruit #cheese #nuts #howisummer #verytandc
Hors d’oeuvres are a fixture on any party planner’s menu because they’re so easy and simple to pull together. Just make a quick trip to your favourite neighbourhood butcher and specialty food shops and, up to an hour ahead of your party, assemble a board or two of your favourite meats, cheeses, and various accoutrements - instant party!
The key to a crowd-pleasing board? Know how to mix and match a little bit of everything. Here are a few tips:
Plan around a theme
Maybe you’ll want to focus on the cuisine of a specific region or country. Of if you’ve picked a motif, matching colours or patterns could work. Perfect for the GoT-themed series ender after-party you’re planning.
Play with meat styles
Cured meat are the heart of your charcuterie board; everything else is just extra.
Your basic salami, sausage, and ham are great to start. Make your board extra-special with some wafer-thin prosciutto, pancetta, and capocollo. Make thicker slices and you can put your cured meats in pinwheel or triangle mini-sandwiches. For an extra kick, offer both raw cured meat and cooked meat.
How much is too much? Or not enough? About two ounces of meats per guest should be about right for an appetiser. Go up to five if you don’t intend to serve dinner.
Know your butcher
Any idea where your meat comes from? Ask your butcher! A charcuterie board is only as good as the raw ingredients you use. Go local and organic; your guests - and the planet - will love you for it.
Combine your cheeses
Cheddar is a must-have so your guests can kick off the tasting with something familiar and warm up the palate for something more adventurous. Add maybe two (or four or six) more types of cheeses to make an odd number, depending on how big your party is. Remember to mix the soft with the firm - try Feta or Cambembert wedges with slices of Edam, Gouda, or Monterey Jack. Mouth-watering!
Right before serving
Store your charcuterie in the refrigerator. You can keep your hors d’oeuvres from drying out by covering your board with wax paper. Meats are best served at room temperature, so let it sit out for a few minutes before your guests start to arrive.
Ready to party!
To enjoy the fatty, salty goodness of cured meat and bring out the flavours of your cheeses, add some shelled nuts, olives, or fruits in season, and place some buttered crackers or toasted sourdough baguettes on the side.
Don’t forget to include bowls of dips and spreads! For extra variety, give them a choice of sweet and tangy flavours to dig into - honey, mustard, jam, chutney, hummus, and tapenade come to mind. Add a dash of herbs for flavour, garnishing, and drama.
And finally, beverages. Pair it with your favourite rosé, white, or red wine - heck, offer all three. Maybe a local Pinot Noir? Your own homebrewed recipe served ice-cold wouldn’t hurt either!
Mix in tapas with your charcuterie!
The Cooks Workshop
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