What we used to call a meat and cheese platter is now known as a charcuterie board, thanks to social media sites and restaurants that have made it so wildly popular. Interestingly, Merriam Webster defines charcuterie (pronounced shar-KOOT-uh-ree) as “a delicatessen specializing in dressed meats and meat dishes, also : the products sold in such a shop.” Whatever you choose to call it, there’s no denying the popularity of this dish for parties, small gatherings, or even an easy, no-cook summer dinner and there are a myriad of ways to make it and serve it.
The basic charcuterie would include prepared meats, such as sliced pepperoni, soprasetta, and genoa salami, along with some sliced cheeses of any variety. Some of the popular cheeses for charcuterie are sharp cheddar, gouda, gruyere and brie. Some firm crackers, or bread slices should be included along with nuts and fruit or olives.
Oftentimes, my husband and I will have this for a summer dinner at poolside. A glass of wine is a great compliment to this dish if you care to indulge, but if not, try Mimi Jackie's spritzer for an alcohol-free refreshing alternative. No special dishes are needed to make this clever concoction. Charcuterie looks good on anything…whether it’s a cutting board, serving board, a platter or even a a rimmed cookie sheet.
Do you want to take it to the next level for a special party or entertaining? You can make meat roses, (a quick search of YouTube will show you how), add rosemary and mint sprigs for decor and learn to arrange your cheese artfully. I found a video from Natasha’s Kitchen (click here) that was really helpful. This is my charcuterie platter after watching the video. I kind of got carried away and had so much on my large platter that I needed a separate board for the bread and crackers.
As far as what other foods to include, the sky is the limit. Try crudités, dips, a mini jar of honey, chocolate squares, or even small cookies. One of our favorite things to include with our charcuterie is a spicy honey mustard spread on honey-crisp apples with a pretzel bite chaser. It’s just the right combo of sweet, salty and savory.
Pinterest has some great ideas for different ways of serving, such as individual charcuterie. Lala Malana went to a shower that served individual cups for a large gathering. So beautiful and definitely an Instagram worthy photo (pictured below).
I recently attended a party where they laid down brown butcher paper and covered the entire runner with a huge assortment of meat roses, cheese, bread, jams, fruits, and nuts. There are some great Instagram posters who can inspire ideas like the individual trays pictured below at @Ice.cheeseboards. Dessert charcuterie is even a thing now, using chocolate dipped pretzel rods, assorted chocolate pieces and assorted fruits.
If you need a serving platter, check out this large one on Amazon. It's 20" wide and currently 10% off.
If you want to get some individual serving trays, you might want to try these disposable wood-look ones.
The best thing about charcuterie is how creative you can be. Basically, there are no rules. You can go as simple or as fancy as you want and use your favorite foods or use everything in the bakery and deli department, or even your refrigerator. It’s totally up to you!
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