How To Build The Perfect Charcuterie Board

How To Build The Perfect Charcuterie Board

Although the phrase “charcuterie” sounds good, what really is it?

Meats cooked like bacon, ham, pâté, sausage, and salami are called charcuterie. Elegantly crafted charcuterie boards are a hit at gatherings because they allow guests to customize their own snacks. Typically, these meats are served with breads, jams, cheeses, and olives. We have a step-by-step tutorial if you’re wondering how to construct the ideal charcuterie board. See it down below!

Charcuterie board essentials

How To Build The Perfect Charcuterie Board

It’s challenging to decide which meats and cheeses will be most enjoyable for you and your guests with the wide selection available. We’ve focused on the essentials.

Charcuterie: The meats will be the bulk of your board. Make sure you select a variety and cut or slice them in order to make it easier for your guests.

Cheese: These can range between hard, semi-hard, soft, semi-soft and fresh.

Spreads: One or two spreads such as jam or mustard will give any meat and cheese combo the sweet/savory flavor it needs.

Breads/crackers: Hard breads and bigger crackers help keep ingredients together. Make sure to have gluten-free options as well.

Seasonal fruits: Dried and fresh fruits give an added flavor to any pairing and can also serve as a palette cleanser.

Accompaniments: Creativity goes a long way. Adding extra ingredients such as pickled vegetables, nuts or even dark chocolate is a must. Make sure to be aware of any nut allergies before serving!

Types of meats to use in your charcuterie board

The most often used meats on a classic charcuterie board are listed below. Most of these may be found by visiting a speciality store. Consequently, we have included a list of typical pre-sliced deli meats that are available at almost any grocery store.

How To Build The Perfect Charcuterie Board

Prosciutto: There are two main types of prosciutto: one type from Italy and the other from Spain. Spanish prosciutto is also known as Jamon Serrano or mountain ham. The main difference is that Italian prosciutto is more aromatic and sliced more thinly. Jamon Serrano has a bolder, saltier taste and is usually sliced thicker. Pairing it with juicier sides like figs, sliced cantaloupe or tomatoes can make a heavenly match.

Salami: Salami has a salty, slightly sweet flavor. It is often made with peppercorns and sometimes garlic and wine, which gives the meat a robust and aromatic quality. It’s easy to enjoy it by itself, but it pairs well with stronger flavors like olives, and cheeses. The root of the word salami means “salted meat”.

Pancetta: Pancetta — from the Italian word meaning small belly — is a type of thick prosciutto that’s rolled up and cured with pepper. This gives it a very robust, meaty flavor. It’s great diced and eaten by itself or cubed. It brings a burst of peppery, chewy flavor.

Pâté: If you’ve ever tried liverwurst, then you have an idea of what pâté tastes like. It’s a creamy, meaty spread, that comes in many varieties and usually has an area of jelly or fat that’s settled during the curing process, which is highly prized. It usually pairs well with things like fresh baguette, toast or slightly acidic foods like olives or even capers.

Spanish chorizo: Spanish chorizo is a unique toasty and rich flavor that comes from mixing pork meat with paprika, giving the meat its distinctive deep rusty color and strong assertive flavor. It goes especially well with hard breads or firm cheeses like manchego, romano, asiago or provolone. It also pairs well with crudité (pickled vegetables) or kalamata olives.

Mortadella: Mortadella has a delicate sweet and aromatic flavor. It often contains pistachio nuts and peppercorns. Unlike most cured meats, mortadella pairs well with delicate flavors as stronger pairings can overwhelm it. A classic Italian combination is mortadella and fresh mozzarella, but mortadella can also be diced up into large cubes that can pair with interesting unusual choices like cheddar, Monterey Jack, tomatoes or even mango!

Coppa: Coppa, also known as capocollo (head of neck), is made from the muscle than runs from the neck to the shoulders and ribs of the pig. The sausage is usually highly marbled and can be either smoked and rubbed with paprika, giving it a charred, peppery flavor. Or it can be air dried. The beef version of coppa is known as bresaola. Both are paired well with firm cheeses, like manchego, provolone and even harder cheese like parmigiano or romano.

Speck: This wonderful dried pork meat is the prosciutto of northern Italy. The name comes from old German and English, meaning “bacon” or “lard” and is prepared by both salting and smoking, as well as rubbing with salt, garlic and herbs. Because of the strong smokey and salty flavor, it pairs well with pickles, gherkins, coleslaw and bolder cheeses.

Types of cheeses to use in your charcuterie board

Cheeses are essential to your charcuterie platter as well. They may be spread over a baguette or cracker or piled with your meats. Cheese comes in a variety of varieties, including fresh, blue, soft, semi-soft, hard, and semi-soft. You can discover a comprehensive information on cheese varieties and accompaniments right here.

How To Build The Perfect Charcuterie Board

Hard: swiss, gruyere, romano, toscano, emmental, parmigiano-reggiano, pecorino-romano

Semi-hard: colby, gouda, provolone, edam, venus, cheddar, rosso

Soft: brie, feta, cirrus, picolo, acapella, filetta

Semi-soft: havarti, jarlsberg, colby jack, pepper jack,

Fresh: ricotta, cottage, mozzarella, queso fresco, cream cheese, mascarpone, burrata

Using local deli meats and cheeses:

It doesn’t matter whether they go by fancy names like salumi and charcuterie—you can still create your own at home! Many make do with whatever they have in the fridge, and discovering new combinations is half the pleasure. For incredible tastes, you may also add a variety of chutneys.

American meats: hams, turkey, bologna, liverwurst, ham steak (cooked and diced), SPAM

American cheeses: cheddar, provolone, monterey Jack, mozzarella

Portion sizes for your charcuterie board

A charcuterie board is commonly served with wine as guests interact and is intended as an appetizer just before a delectable dinner. Knowing how much to purchase is crucial because meats and cheeses may be quite costly. Typically, three pieces of bread or crackers and three ounces of meat and cheese are plenty. It is advisable to serve five ounces of each dish per person if this is going to be the main meal.

Accompaniments

How To Build The Perfect Charcuterie Board

Your choice of meats is not nearly as crucial as the accompaniments to your charcuterie. These will serve to unify your layers and balance out the tastes. Pickled foods typically pair well with spicy meats, whereas sweeter sides, like honey, go well with meats that are higher in fat. Meats and cheeses go well with jams and stone-ground mustards.

Serving your guests

Since visitors will be serving the meats and cheeses on crackers or bread, it is preferable to slice them all before preparing the board for a party. Make sure to have cheese knives for the softer cheeses and don’t forget to include spoons for any jams or mustards. Variety is the secret to a great charcuterie platter.

Charcuterie board for two

How To Build The Perfect Charcuterie Board

A charcuterie board may also be the ideal meal for two (or one, depending on how hungry you are) if you’re searching for ideas for a relaxing evening in! The ideal quick dinner is a smaller board loaded with your favorite cheeses and meats.

Building a charcuterie board isn’t hard, as you can see. All it takes is putting the proper pieces together, and presto—an instant hit. Put your favorite proverb on your board to add a more sentimental touch!

Charcuterie board pairing guide

See our matching guide down below! It offers suggestions for beer, wine, nuts, and bread along with pairings for meat and cheese. Every time you’re ready to organize your next party, consult this helpful guide.