I would argue that 2020 was the year of the charcuterie board. While the concept of serving meats, cheeses, crackers and spreads is one as old as time when it comes to entertaining, placing these items on a wooden slab in a beautiful display is where the charcuterie element comes in, and this type of appetizer has taken the hors d’oeuvres world by storm. And, really, for good reason; who doesn’t like a charcuterie board?
While we may know what a charcuterie board is and what it consists of, I question how many of us know how to build a truly stellar one to wow your guests with the next time you entertain. My sister is a charcuterie master, and after watching her construct a few masterpieces of her own, I figured I would share some tips and tricks to get you on your way to making the best charcuterie board possible.
While having a selection of items is important, try not to go overboard with options. Having 15 types of salami is a good way to confuse folks, so I recommend having four or five choices of meats and cheeses to avoid overwhelming anyone but also providing an assortment of flavours. Try to snag some cheeses that are sharp, mild, soft and hard to offer a good mix, and the same goes for protein options. With protein, though, don’t feel as though you can only use meat; nuts are a fantastic addition to any charcuterie boards, as are heartier spreads, like hummus, for example.
Crackers are always a safe bet for a charcuterie board, but so are slices of a hearty, crusty bread, as is pita or naan bread.
To heighten the presentation of your board, try to incorporate colours via sauces and spreads as well as adding a few pieces of fruit for variety. Try serving dried apricots and/or figs, and for vegetables, olives and/or hot peppers.
Now be on your way to creating the best charcuterie board your kitchen has ever seen.