How to Make a Charcuterie Board

What Is A Charcuterie Board
Charcuterie is a French term that refers to the practice of preparing and assembling a variety of cured meats, typically served as a platter or board. The word “charcuterie” is derived from the French words “chair” (meaning flesh) and “cuit” (meaning cooked). It refers to the products, particularly (but not limited to) pork specialties, such as pâtés, rillettes, galantines, crépinettes, etc., that are made and sold in a delicatessen-style shop, also called a charcuterie.

The charcuterie board has become popular in recent years as an appetizer or snack, often featuring an assortment of cured meats such as salami, prosciutto, and chorizo, along with various cheeses, crackers, fruits, nuts, and spreads. It provides a visually appealing and delicious way to enjoy a variety of flavors and textures in one meal.

How Much Food Do I Need on My Charcuterie Board?
It’s important to remember that your board is an appetizer, not a main course (unless you are serving it on its own), so you don’t need a half or quarter pound of meat per person, as you would serve for an entree.

How to Make a Charcuterie Board
Creating a charcuterie board can be a fun and creative process. Here are some general steps to help you make your own:

  1. Choose a board or platter: You can use a wooden cutting board, a slate or marble cheese board, or even a large serving platter. The size of the board will depend on how many people you’re serving and how much food you want to include.
  2. Select your cured meats: Choose a variety of cured meats with different flavors and textures. Some popular options include salami, prosciutto, soppressata, chorizo, and capicola. You can also include pâtés or terrines if you like.
  3. Add some cheese: Choose a variety of cheeses with different textures and flavors. Some popular options include soft cheeses like brie or camembert, semi-soft cheeses like Gouda or Havarti, hard cheeses like Cheddar or Manchego, and blue cheeses like gorgonzola or Roquefort.
  4. Include some bread and crackers: Offer a variety of breads and crackers for spreading and scooping. Some popular options include baguette slices, crostini, breadsticks, and an assortment of crackers. Tip:  You’ll want at least one cracker or piece of bread for every slice of meat.
  5. Add some spreads and dips: Include a variety of spreads and dips to complement the meats and cheeses. Some popular options include grainy mustard, fig jam, olive tapenade, and hummus.
  6. Include some fresh and dried fruit: Fresh fruit like grapes, apple slices, and berries can add a refreshing and juicy element to the board, while dried fruit like apricots, figs, and raisins can add a chewy and sweet element.
  7. Add some pickles and olives: Pickles and olives can add a tangy and salty element to the board. Choose a variety of pickles, such as cornichons, pickled onions, and pickled peppers, and a variety of olives, such as kalamata, green olives, and stuffed olives.
  8. Garnish with some fresh herbs: Fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, and basil can add a pop of color and a fresh flavor to the board.
  9. Assemble the board: Start by placing the larger items, like the cheeses and cured meats, on the board first. Then, fill in the gaps with the smaller items, like the bread, crackers, spreads, fruit, pickles, and olives. Try to create a balance of colors, textures, and flavors, and don’t be afraid to get creative with your arrangement.
  10. Serve and enjoy: Once your charcuterie board is assembled, serve it with some small plates, napkins, and utensils, and enjoy!

Additional Resources
Charcuterie for Dummies
In the Charcuterie: The Fatted Calf’s Guide to Making Sausage, Salumi, Pates, Roasts, Confits, and Other Meaty Goods