Recent years have witnessed a dramatic increase in the popularity of charcuterie boards, and there are many choices of what to include on your board. A variety of meats, cheeses, and fruits can be added to boards to make them look beautiful.
Charcuterie boards are often topped with figs, honey, olives, and chutneys. There are different types of charcuterie boards, as well as different types of charcuterie meats.
Throughout this article, we will cover the different types of charcuterie boards, meats, and fruits.
What Does Charcuterie Mean?
Charcuterie comes from a French tradition, and it means cured, cooked meats. It is the art of preparing and presenting such meats in an appealing and attractive manner. Charcuterie typically involves meats of many kinds, cheeses, condiments, and delicious fruit.
Charcuterie boards frequently contain bread, olives, and pickles, too. The board is intended for sharing, and it is a beautiful presentation of amazing foods.
Why Is It Called Charcuterie?
The term charcuterie translates to ‘pork butcher shop’ in French. It is called this because most charcuterie meats derive from pork products, such as prosciutto, ham, and salami. It is also called charcuterie because this would have been the cook’s title who prepared the meat and any sides.
It is known as being a branch of cooking that involved prepared (often cold) meats, as well as fruits, nuts, bread, and dips.
Styles Of Charcuterie Boards:
Charcuterie boards are some of the most visually appealing displays of food, and they are extremely bright, colorful, and unique. All the flavors with the salty meat, sweet grapes, and strong cheese pair surprisingly well.
There are different themed charcuterie boards, and they may contain different things depending on the style they are adhering to.
Firstly we have the classic charcuterie board. This board simply consists of meats, cheeses, bread, and simple additions such as nuts and fruit. The classic charcuterie board is known as an arrangement of cold meats, cheeses, and bread.
You can make a classic charcuterie board in a simple way, or a fancy way. Use cold meats such as salami, prosciutto, mortadella, and chorizo. If you are using stronger meats such as chorizo, make sure to pair them with a nice aged brie, or nutty Gouda.
Cheeses on a classic charcuterie board are typically not as strong as usual. You can also add classic condiments such as fig jam or apple chutney to a classic charcuterie board.
Another popular kind of charcuterie board is a pickle and spread themed board.
These boards often have an array of pickled items such as gherkins, dill pickles, pickled cauliflower, pickled red onions, and some delicious sweet dips such as chili jam or fig jam.
There is still meat and cheese on these boards, but their main feature is the pickles that air well with the meat and cheese. To serve a pickle and spread themed charcuterie board, use smokey, softer meats such as prosciutto, and serve with light crackers and toasted baguette.
Fruit And Cheese
One of the most popular and easiest charcuterie boards is the cheese and fruit themed board.
Again, this board still has meat (it definitely does not have to, though), but its main focus is the cheese pairings with the fruits. With this charcuterie board, you will want to pair some classic cheeses such as Gouda, brie, and cheddar, with sweet fruits. It is proven that grapes pair perfectly with cheddar, and pears pair well with Gouda.
Cherries may suit brie, and you can also use stronger cheeses such as Gorgonzola and goat’s cheese to pair with soft fruits such as grapes or strawberries. After all, charcuterie boards are all about experimentation! With a cheese and fruit themed board, serve light jams and chutneys, and serve any smokey meats of your choice.
Vegetables And Fruit
Vegetable and citrus charcuterie boards look exceptionally fancy, and they are just as delicious. You can make a vegetable and citrus charcuterie board by pairing light vegetables such as celery, fennel, and radish with sweet citrus flavors such as blood orange, lemon, or berries. These types of fresh vegetables with citrus pair exceptionally well with fattier meats.
Fattier meats have a mellow taste, and they taste great with sweet and fresh vegetables. You can make these boards look really attractive and fancy with the addition of scattered berries, pickles, nuts, and even edible flowers!
Types Of Charcuterie Meats:
Charcuterie meats can consist of pretty much anything you like. Classically, the charcuterie meat is pork-based dry aged or cured meats such as saucisson, salami, and prosciutto.
You can also add popular meats such as smoked salmon, mortadella, and calabrese. Other meats include rillettes, Genoa salami, chorizo and ‘nduja sausage. You can add any meats that you want to your charcuterie board.
How Do You Pair A Charcuterie?
It is really simple to pair meats with cheeses and fruits, and you can pair your charcuterie board with wines, too. With charcuterie boards, you will probably want to pair strong cheeses with softer meats, and with sweet fruit.
With strong meats such as chorizo and ‘nduja, you’d want to pair these with mellow cheeses such as Gouda, brie, and mozzarella. Strong meats will also suit mild fruits such as pairs, blackberries, and green grapes.
You can pair all the meats, cheeses, fruits, and condiments in the same area, and fill in any gaps with nuts, bread, and crackers.
What Kind Of Bread Is Used For Charcuterie?
When you are serving bread on your charcuterie board, you will probably want soft and delicious bread such as baguettes, sourdough, ciabatta, and rye. You can also opt for bread that already has delicious fillings such as tomato and olive ciabatta, or walnut and raisin rye.
The bread is really up to you, and as long as you have some delicious meats, cheeses, and dips, people will enjoy your charcuterie board.
Is It Still Called Charcuterie If It Is Not On A Board?
Charcuterie meats are typically served on a wooden or slate board, but it can still be a charcuterie board even if it is on a plate. As long as your spread of meats, bread, cheese, and condiments is on a flat surface, it can still be regarded as a charcuterie board.
Is Charcuterie Bad For You?
Smoked meats such as prosciutto are rather lean, so they are not the worst for you. Any kind of pork is rather fatty, and it is something that should be consumed in small amounts, and infrequently.
Meats such as chorizo and salami are extremely fatty, and they are somewhat bad for you. As long as you are eating charcuterie meats in moderation, they are not damaging to you.
What Is On A Traditional Charcuterie Board?
A classic and traditional charcuterie board consists of cured smoked meats, pickles, cheese, fruit, and jams. Any additions of nuts, vegetables, and bread are additions, and you will find them on most charcuterie boards.
Olives, and even tomatoes are popular additions, but they surprisingly are not part of a traditional charcuterie board.
What Wine Goes With Charcuterie Boards?
Red and white wine are the best options to serve alongside a bright charcuterie board. Argentinian reds such as Malbec as well as Syrah and Merlot will pair perfectly with the rich cheese and meat.
Slightly dry but sweet whites will pair well with a charcuterie board. Wines such as Californian Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling will pair very well with a charcuterie board.
What Condiments Usually Go On A Charcuterie Board?
Condiments are seen as the finishing touches on charcuterie boards, and they truly change the taste of everything on the board. Balsamic vinegar and olive oil is great in a small ramekin, as it goes well with bread.
Additionally, fig jam is one of the most popular jams to have on a charcuterie board, as it pairs excellently with cheese, as well as smoked meat.
Balsamic fig spread is also a popular jam, as well as jalapeño jam. Mustard is a standard choice for charcuterie boards, and it pairs pretty well with sharp cheese, or hard cheese such as pecorino or Parmesan. Tomato relish is also a great choice, and it will pair well with cheese such as brie and Gouda. Plum jam may also be a hit, and this pairs amazingly well with strong cheeses such as Gorgonzola and Stilton.
How Should I Present A Charcuterie Board?
It is pretty easy to present a beautiful charcuterie board. Simply lay your meat out first. You can do this by layering the meat, so it looks floral, and bending it to form pretty circles, or you can bunch it up, effortlessly.
Next, place different types of cheese around the board. Remember, be liberal with all of your cheeses and meats! Next, add any fruit piles such as strawberries and grapes (on the vine, of course!).
Add olives to ramekins, as well as pickles and nuts if applicable. Add your condiments to little dishes. Add any bread and crackers to fill in the gaps. Charcuterie boards should look full, colorful, and slightly messy, but in the best way!
What Kind Of Crackers Are The Best For A Charcuterie Board?
Typically, water crackers are a popular choice for charcuterie boards. With crackers, you do not want anything too overpowering, as it will mask the delicious flavors of the meats and cheese. Crackers such as Ritz crackers and grain crackers are also great, because they have a crunchy exterior, with little overpowering flavor.
Charcuterie boards are some of the most attractive spreads of food, and they should be thoroughly enjoyed. They are really easy to make, and everything pairs together really nicely. Now you know about the different types of charcuterie boards, charcuterie meats, and the origin of the name, you are ready to make your own!