10 Items You'll Need For Your Next Charcuterie Board Idea
10 Items You'll Need For Your Charcuterie Board
A charcuterie board is a great way to show off your culinary skills and to provide a variety of flavors and textures for your guests. By having a list of charcuterie board items, you can make sure that you have everything you need to create an impressive, visually-stunning and abundant board. We've created a helpful list here to make sure you check all your charcuterie board boxes.
1. A Board
A hardwood board or cutting board is a must to serve as your charcuterie board base as you and your guests will be using knives for the presentation to cut through cheeses, meats, and fruits. Depending on the number of guests you’ll be hosting, your board can vary dramatically from an intimate 2–4-person board to a party-size “grazing” table which would be more appropriate for larger events such as weddings or outdoor gatherings. For most boards, look for woods like acacia, cherry, teak, or maple.
Charcuterie is a French term that refers to all the meats that are cooked and preserved by curing, salting, smoking, and drying. This includes meats such as pork, beef, and poultry, as well as game meats and sausages. The meats are usually marinated or seasoned, then sliced thinly into bite-sized portions. This is where you can get adventurous. You will want to find a nice variety here, just make sure you don’t go overboard because the meats aren’t the only highlight of the board. We suggest spicy soppressata piccante or chorizo, a decadent pork or duck prosciutto with a texture that will melt in your mouth, something from the delicatessen like mortadella with its smooth flavor, and our favorite, black truffle salami for the gourmands boasting a sophisticated palate. The possibilities are endless here, get creative, experiment with meats you’ve never tried before for that winning combination.
A variety of cheeses is key for a successful charcuterie board. Choose a mix of hard and soft cheeses, as well as both savory and sweet flavors. A good rule of thumb for the amount of cheese you’ll need is about 1-2 ounces per person. Also, this is another great time to step out of your comfort zone of smoked gouda and cheddar cubes and go with something elegant like a nutty sheep’s milk Manchego, complex and firm Comtè, creamy and sweet gorgonzola, or Camembert from France (shh, it's illegal in the states), where you can just as easily substitute with a creamy brie.
Thin, crispy crackers are the perfect vessel for delivering cheese and charcuterie flavors to your palate. The cracker becomes your little edible base that you can pile the variety of flavors on top of with a satisfying crunch. Nowadays, finding artisan-style crackers at your local market is quite common and that way you can find unique flavors and avoid processed buttery, flaky crisps (unless that’s more your style).
A few slices of fresh fruit and dried fruit can add a nice sweetness and crunch to your charcuterie board. Texture is key here because you may have some guests who happen to have serious allergies to gluten, and you’ll need something rigid as a substitution. This is where a crisp pear or apple can come into play in lieu of the cracker. Dried fruits are where the magic happens. Sun-dried apricots, deep and rich in flavor come in countless varieties, as well as figs. Dried cherries and cranberries are wonderful with their tangy tart attributes. Fresh berries and grapes make for fast-snacking finger foods.
A sprinkle of nuts can add a nice depth of flavor and some crunch to your board. Be mindful of including whole nuts that require cracking, they can become messy and can accidentally leave shell debris on your board. Pistachios and Marcona almonds are a fancy favorite here as they have a unique crunch and taste, especially the sea salt and truffle oil varieties.
Jam or Honey, pepper paste or pâté, it’s all welcome. A dollop of sweet jam or honey can add a nice finishing touch to your board. Savory spreads like duck rillettes add a savory, delectable compliment. We find it best to house spreads in a small bowl or ramekin just to keep things on the tidy side.
A selection of olives can add a salty, briny flavor to your board. With olives, a little go a long way and there isn’t much of a need to flood your board with them. Variety jars of olives are a great start and remember to be aware of pits.
A few pickles can add a sour and crunchy element to your charcuterie board. Cornichons, gherkins, pickled green beans, pickled tomatoes, pickled pearl onions are always fan favorites. The pickling liquid helps to refresh the palate and “cut” through lasting tastes.
If you really want to have it all, you can include a few varieties of bread to dip into all the deliciousness on your board. A country loaf or fresh baguettes are what to look for. Choose a bread that is dense and chewy, something that can stand up to the weight of the meats and cheese and not get soggy.
In following this simple foundation, you will be sure to create a stunning combination of meats, cheeses, and more in no time. Remember, there is no wrong way to put together a charcuterie board, have fun with it and be adventurous with your ideas!
Be sure to visit www.AngelSalumi.com for all of your charcuterie needs.