Do You Eat Charcuterie With Your Hands?

Are you currently asking yourself what the correct way to eat a charcuterie board is? Rest assured that this is something that causes plenty of confusion, especially for those who are planning on trying their very first charcuterie board for the first time.

Are you supposed to eat with your hands, or should you opt for a knife and fork?

Well, the good news is that, when it comes to charcuterie boards, there aren’t too many rules that you need to follow! So long as you’ve got an appetite and a spare plate that you can put your charcuterie food choices on, you’ll be good to go.

And if you’re wondering – yes, you can eat charcuterie with your hands! 

Nevertheless, below, we are going to be taking a closer look at the correct way to eat charcuterie, as well as provide you with some additional charcuterie etiquette tips that will help you get the most out of this unique eating experience.

So, without further ado, whenever you’re ready – let’s jump right in.

What Is A Charcuterie Board?

Seeing as you’ve clicked on this article, we’re going to assume that it’s going to be one of your first times (if not the first) trying out a delicious charcuterie board!

So, it only makes sense that we should take a few moments to provide you with a quick explanation of what a charcuterie board actually is – as there are quite a few descriptions flying around on the internet.

do you eat charcuterie with your hands?

Essentially, charcuterie is a French word that loosely translates to cooked meats which means that you guessed it, a charcuterie board is mainly comprised of a variety of different cured and salted meats – such as bacon, sausage, ham, and plenty of other meats that are commonly used in French cuisine.

Alongside these main meat options incorporated onto the board, a charcuterie board is also usually made complete with a variety of other foods, including ingredients such as fresh fruits, pickled vegetables, various jams, as well as a variety of cheeses to choose from in order to complement and enhance the flavors of the meat.

Fun fact: Interestingly enough, the cook or host that prepares the charcuterie board is officially known as the charcuterie and this loosely translates to pork butcher in French. The more you know! 

Do You Eat Charcuterie With Your Hands?

So, now that you know what charcuterie boards are, we are now going to be talking you through some of the most important etiquette rules that you might currently be wondering about – starting with how to eat them. 

As we have already briefly mentioned above, when it comes to eating charcuterie, the great news is that there aren’t any set rules to follow!

Thanks to this, it means that you won’t need to worry about following any specific etiquette rules while indulging in a delicious charcuterie board, and are free to use your hands in place of your usual knife and fork.

In fact, charcuterie boards are specifically designed to be a “sharing” platter of finger foods, which means that picking up the contents of a charcuterie board is actually something that is encouraged.

However, even though eating charcuterie is generally deemed to be an informal and relaxed style of dining, you should be sure to move around the board in a clockwise manner, as this will help to prevent cross contamination of foods – especially if you are going to be dining with friends and family.

As soon as you have your chosen food on your plate – you can begin tucking in with your hands!

Needless to say, even though it is generally accepted that a charcuterie board is to be eaten in an informal, relaxed dining style, you should still make sure that you are following basic table manners.

So, if you are going to be sharing a charcuterie board with others, you should refrain from touching the foods that you do not want to eat yourself, as well as make sure to take your fair share of food so that everyone can enjoy a delicious spread from the charcuterie offering. This brings us to our next point.

Taking Food From The Charcuterie Board: Etiquette Rules To Follow

Even though you do not need to eat charcuterie with a knife and fork, there might be some instances where cutlery might be necessary while you are picking out the food that you would like from the board.

This will help ensure that both you and everyone else will have an enjoyable eating experience. So, whenever you’re ready, check out the following guidelines below that we recommend following while taking food from the charcuterie board:

Sliced meat: When selecting the sliced meat that you would like from the charcuterie board, feel free to simply pick up the slices of meat that you would like to eat with your fingers.

However, as we have mentioned above, try and refrain from touching the slices that you do not want, and make sure that you are taking a fair amount so that there will be enough for other people to try too.

Soft cheese: If there are any soft cheeses on your charcuterie board that you would like to try, then it is important to note that these will require a knife to cut into slices.

Even though eating charcuterie with your hands is encouraged, it will be a lot more enjoyable and hygienic to transfer the soft cheese from the board to your plate, rather than trying to break some off with your fingers.

Sliced cheese: If there are any sliced cheeses available for you to try on your charcuterie board, then rest assured that you won’t need to use any cutlery while picking these. As they will already have come pre-sliced, all you will need to do is simply take the slices that you would like with your hands.

Just like with the sliced meat, please be mindful of touching the slices that you do not want, while also making sure that you are taking your fair share so that others will also be able to try out the different cheeses. 

Fresh jams: If your charcuterie board comes with fresh jams to choose from, then we recommend that you use a small teaspoon to retrieve the amount of jam that you would like and place it on your plate.

From there, we then recommend that you take another small teaspoon so that you can eat it without making a mess. In some instances, the jams provided on the charcuterie board will come in mini sizes for each guest to take and put on their plates.

Vegetables/fruit: When it comes to vegetables and fruits, it is generally considered polite table manners to take what you would like with your hands.

However, if there are any pickled or blanched vegetables on the charcuterie board, then you and your guests might find it helpful to use a knife and fork while eating these types of vegetables.