Charcuterie Basics: Building your board

Charcuterie Basics: Building your board

The holiday season is approaching and that means its time for gatherings and great charcuterie. What could be better than sharing time with friends, while also showing off your kitchen skills by offering tasty treats!

Here are some basics of building your own board, with a few tips to elevate your guests' experience.

The Meats

The word "charcuterie" literally translates to "products of a fancy pork butcher," which is to say, meats are the primary element to a great board. 

Meat can be one of the more expensive parts of building your board, but you should consider a variety of options to suit your budget. Pork is traditional, but consider using beef, turkey, chicken, or even lamb.

Cured meats are often offered, but you can also try cooked portions, especially if they're hot off the grill.

Pro tip: Lots of charcuterie items are offered sliced. Consider using cubes, as well as chunky portions prepared for slicing in order to create a visual variety.

The Cheeses

Cheese is the next most important factor in a great board. 

When it comes to cheese, there are two things you want to offer: complement and variety.

Pick cheeses that go well with your meats. If you've got a sizzling steak flank coming off the grill, you may want to have a the intense flavors of soft blue cheese or a hard aged cheddar.  

If salty, fatty ribbons of prosciutto will grace your board, a mild, spreadable feta, or even a slightly stronger-flavored shaving of parmesan may make a good pairing.

In all cases, make sure your board varies from soft to hard cheeses and from mild to bold.

Pro tip: It's good to have cheese varieties your guests will recognize, but you can also go bold and introduce a flavor you or your guests may not have ever tried.

The Complements

Meat and cheese alone does not a great charcuterie board make. If you really want to kick things up, you'll have to add complementary flavors, texture and contrast.

Complements come in a variety of forms -- crusty breads and crackers that lay a foundation of flavor balance, an offering of herbs to add seasoning and aroma, and contrasting intensifiers such as sauces that skew vinegary, sweet, herbacious, sour or salty.

You only need a few complements to elevate your charcuterie board. Offering a few herbs, pickles, pimentos or dipping sauces can take your charcuterie experience from ordinary to extraordinary. 

Pro tip: Sometimes the simplest ingredients are the best. Try fresh herbs instead of dried, sea salt instead of a seasoning blend or fresh, sliced hot peppers for a spicy kick.   

The Board 

We believe the board on which you choose to serve your charcuterie makes a statement as well. There's nothing like starting off with a functional piece of art that says something about who you are and what you represent.

Check out our line of hand-crafted charcuterie boards and coasters made of all natural bamboo. We personalize!

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