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!

Casual

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

 

Elegant ­­­

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

 

Kid-Friendly

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!