By now, you must have seen charcuterie boards all over Instagram, in fact, it was one of the most searched culinary trends in the later part of 2021. For the unaware, Charcuterie (also sometimes called a cheese board/platter) is a culinary choose-your-own-adventure story. So in simpler words, a fine way to elevate your snacking style, the savory goodness that is a Charcuterie board consists of an array of cured meats, tangy pickles, sweet jams, cheese, fresh fruit, and your own assortment of personal favorite culinary wild cards, paired with beer or wine to complement the flavors and textures.
The biggest flex of a charcuterie platter is its versatility. The fabulous thing about putting together a charcuterie is that there are no rules! You can keep it as simple as you like. Just visit the specialty department in your grocery store and pick and choose what looks amazing and then set it on a board. It may seem overwhelming to a newbie but once you have the basics down, assembling a delicious and aesthetically pleasing charcuterie platter will take you no time at all. So, to help you in grasping the concept, below we have broken down the entire process of assembling a basic Charcuterie along with the essentials you need.
Start with the big things first, which includes your actual platter. Charcuterie boards are usually assembled on a wooden tray of any shape/size. If you don’t own one, you can simply use a plate or a chopping board. Along with that, you will also need some regular small bowls that will hold your condiments, dips, and other smaller items – plus, the round shape of the bowls help in breaking the space in the charcuterie board to make it more fun to look at. If you want, you can also include a variety of (cheese) knives, little spoons, and toothpicks so that your Charcuterie remains safe & sanitary.
It's good sense to include a variety of Cheeses.
• Sharp Cheddar
• Smoked Gouda
• Smoked Mozzarella
• Wheel of Brie
• Goat Cheese
• Soft Blue Cheese
You can mix & match the flavor, consistencies and texture when making a choice. As a cardinal rule, I usually prefer including a creamy cheese (brie), a firm cheese (Parmesan), a soft cheese (goat cheese) and a tangy cheese (Gorgonzola or blue cheese). Using this rule is a good way to ensure that you've got a variety of cheeses with different textures and shapes.
Just like the cheeses, you can choose 3-4 types of cured meats. Just go through the variety available at your local grocery store and find what will work best for you and your guests. Partially sliced good quality pepperoni, varieties of salami, and sausage are ideally enough.
Including seasonal fruits & veggies adds a burst of flavour, color & freshness to your board. Some of our classic favorites include:
• Fresh strawberries (sliced strawberries, you can also leave the leafy part on for a fun presentation)
• Grapes green/red (leave the stems on)
• Apple or pear slices (drizzle with a splash of lemon juice to keep them from browning)
• Pomegranate seeds
• Sliced Peaches or Plums
• Cherry tomatoes
• Baby carrots (or regular carrots diced in smaller pieces)
• Roasted bell peppers
• You can also go for lightly salted & roasted nuts that are easily available at all grocery stores & supermarkets.
• Toasted slices of sourdough bread
• Monaco, Britannia NutriChoice or any type of butter Crackers that you can easily procure
• If you wish, you can also add sugar-coated crackers/sweet biscuits/macarons in the mix for a fun flavor twist
You can add a variety of store-bought dips to go with your veggies and crackers for a more wholesome platter.
• Jar of jams and/or jellies: Besides your typical fruit preserves, consider livening up your Charcuterie board with something unique like a Bacon Jam or Jalapeño Jelly, if they are easily available to you.
• Garlic Aioli
If you are not a big fan of olives, we recommend finding a small single-use package that is seasoned and shelf-stable at your local grocer, so you won't have to deal with leftovers.
No charcuterie board is complete without a few pieces of indulgent chocolate chunks.
• This is just a basic list of ingredients that should help you in building a board. But your fillers need not be limited to this list, you can go as basic or as extravagant as you want. As a Charcuterie Board is all about assembling complementing colors, textures & flavors together, we suggest you get creative and put out what is easily available & works best for you.
• Start with the big things that are going take up the most room on a cheese plate, like your smaller bowls and cheeses. You can fill everything else into the blank spaces later on.
• Cheese should really be served at room temperature, which means you should take it out of the fridge and let it rest for 30 minutes to an hour before serving.
• You want to devote as much space as possible to the cheeses, so put just a handful of crackers on your board and set out an additional plate of extra crackers for those who want them.
Gargi Bisht is an event copywriter/conceptualizer turned writer currently working with EazyDiner Pvt. Ltd. Compulsive eater, book hoarder, dog lover and pop culture enthusiast with an innate love for storytelling. Usually the quietest person in the room, Gargi is an introvert who loves her own company. When not eating, can be found in front of her laptop watching movies. Knows a thing or two about art and literature.
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