The holiday season is upon us. Let the parties begin! From family gatherings, office celebrations and holiday entertaining, there is never a shortage of reasons to gather. And, certainly at every gathering food will be a star of the show. For a beautiful, but no-fuss option consider the charcuterie board! Pronounced “shahr-ku-tuh-ree,” this French term actually translates as “pork-butcher shop.”
Essentially a charcuterie board is a method of pairing a variety of meats (it doesn’t just need to be pork), with other sides such as fruits, cheeses, olives and bread. There should be a good balance between textures and flavors with items that contrast and compliment each other. The result is an elegant, easy to assemble, crowd pleaser with options for every palate. And, it’s the perfect option to let your creativity take the lead.
While traditional charcuterie boards include items such as Italian meats, spreads such as pate, rillete and mousse, fruits and cheese, the sky is truly the limit. The goal is to assemble something that will delight and perhaps even pleasantly surprise your guests. We’ve included some of our favorite combinations below!
Think Superbowl, a fun family game night or a simple gathering after caroling or looking at holiday lights.
Dips Ranch or hummus
Cheeses Cheddar, Monterey and Colby Jack cheese cubes
Meats Diced ham and slices of pepperoni
Fruits/Vegetables Baby dill pickles, baby carrots, berries and dried apricots
Crackers Ritz and pretzel crisps
Extras Roasted, salted nuts
Beautifully simple, a charcuterie board can easily be dressed up for nicer formal gatherings.
Preserves/spreads Fig and apricot preserves, stone ground mustard, tapendade, pate and hummus
Cheeses A sharp (blue cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano, sharp cheddar), a medium (Gruyere or Gouda) and a mild (goat chevre or Emmental) cheese
Meats Sopressata, Genoa or hard salami, prosciutto
Fruits/Vegetables Fresh or even grilled seasonal fruit and berries and pickled vegetables such as gherkins, olives, jalapenos or pepperoncinis
Crackers Baguette slices, gluten free crackers or simple crackers without a lot of added flavor to help accentuate the items on the board
Extras Dark chocolate, raw nuts, nut butter or hazelnut spread
Have fun with this version! Select items you know your youngest guests will particularly enjoy.
Dips Ranch, hummus
Cheeses Cheddar, Havarti, Pepper Jack, Swiss
Meats Ham, turkey, salami, pepperoni
Vegetables Baby carrots, sliced cucumbers, grape tomatoes
Crackers Wheat Thins, Ritz, pita chips, peanut butter filled pretzels
Extras Olives, trail mix, apple slices, orange slices
We carry a variety of boards and beautiful serving utensils in store. We’d love to discuss ideas and show you some options. Also, watch for more details about a cooking demonstration from our favorite chef Elena (whose recipes are featured on our blog every month). She will be showing how to assemble a charcuterie board on November 21. Time and more details to come soon!