Before we dive in, let’s get a few things out of the way:
How Is Charcuterie Pronounced?
Charcuterie is pronounced (shar-ku-tah-ree).
What Does Charcuterie Mean?
Charcuterie is derived from French words that essentially mean “cooked meats“.
Charcuterie technically refers to processed and/or cured meats; however, charcuterie platters and boards have been adapted into both meat and cheese platters.
Here in Canada, charcuterie may include not only cured meats, pates, and terrines, but may also have cheese, nuts, condiments, pickles, olives, flatbreads, and/or crackers.
Some sweet-lovers have even begun making sweet Charcuterie platters with chocolate treats, berries, biscuits, macarons, and assorted bonbons.
What’s Not Allowed On Charcuterie Boards?
Ultimately, charcuterie platters/boards can really be customized for your guests and event, and at the end of the day, there’s no real right or wrong way to assemble a delicious snack board.
However, if you are looking to create a memorable, aesthetically pleasing, up-scale spread that is guaranteed to impress and satisfy, we’ve got a few helpful tips to share:
The Right Charcuterie Board
First, you’re going to need to select the ideal board for your charcuterie base.
While wooden, live edge charcuterie boards are most popular, you can also use brown paper, slate, or marble slabs – round or rectangular!
When it comes to the size of your charcuterie board, be sure to consider how many people will be eating from the board, and what portion size each person is likely to consume.
After all, you don’t want to over-serve and waste any of the amazing food you’ve laid out.
The Right Meats For Charcuterie
The two must-haves of any charcuterie board, (when it comes to meat) are Salami and Prosciutto. These salty, delicious cured meats can be perfectly paired with almost anything!
For those looking to add a variety of meat options to their board, consider our go-to meat grocery list below:
- Italian Salami
- German Salami
- Cured Sausages
However, if you’re vegetarian, simply skip the meat altogether. Your board will still be perfect – we promise.
The Right Cheeses For Charcuterie
The next most important aspect of any charcuterie board is, of course, the cheese.
When it comes to picking cheeses, it’s a good idea to pick a number of different tastes, colours, and textures, speaking to a number of palates.
We also suggest cutting these cheeses into various sized slices, squares, and chunks.
Here’s our go-to list for your next shopping trip at the Maunders Marketplace cheese counter:
- Brie Cheese Wheel
- Blue Cheese
- Cranberry Goat Cheese
- Cheddar Cheese
- Smoked Gouda
- Colby Jack Cheese
The Right Crackers For Charcuterie
If you’re like us, you need a little crunch to go along with your meats and cheeses.
Crackers are the perfect complimentary snack to anything savoury or salty. Crackers also act as the perfect vessel for stacking, dipping, or sandwiching other items from your charcuterie board.
When choosing the right crackers for your charcuterie board, think about the different types of flavours and textures that will compliment your food.
Here are our go-to cracker favourites:
- Sesame seed crackers
- Flatbread or pita
- Whole wheat crackers
- Thin crackers
- Tortilla chips
The Right Accent Foods For Charcuterie
Now it’s time to fill in the cracks!
Looking to add some sweetness to your snack board? Consider oranges, apples, dried apricots, dried peaches, strawberries, or blueberries.
Jarred goods are also perfect for charcuterie boards. We suggest trying olives, pickled asparagus, pickles, and antipasti.
To compliment your cheeses and crackers, explore pepper jack peach jam, red pepper jelly, or any other delectable hummus or dip.
For nutty flavours, add almonds, cashews, and any of your favourite nuts.
Looking for some healthier options? Add cucumber, carrots, celery, snap peas, and cherry tomatoes.
Almost anything will look good (and taste good) on your custom charcuterie board.
The Right Charcuterie Arrangement
After you’ve selected your favourite board and purchased your favourite ingredients, it’s time to get everything out in front of you and begin placing items.
A good rule of thumb is to place your cheeses down on the board first. Create distance between each cheese, allowing the various shapes and colours to draw your attention across the board.
Next, set out any dishes, such as pickles, nuts, or jams.
Once your largest items are set, fold or set your meat slices, snuggling them up close to your cheeses for easy pairing. Each type of meat should be separated slightly so snackers can tell which meat is which.
Finally, take your crackers and additional garnishes to fill in the cracks, creating a colourful arrangement of deliciousness.
Voila! Your charcuterie board is ready!
Remember, you are only limited by your own creativity when it comes to curating a charcuterie board. Follow your senses, and pick the foods you love! We hope to see you soon!