Charcuterie is an art form.
Configuring the perfect charcuterie board takes a creative eye and patient, steady hand. It is a straightforward appetizer that works well in a variety of environments, from casual happy hours to upscale weddings. The presentation of the board is critical and can work in your favor to make a big statement in a simple way.
Believe it or not, the elements of a charcuterie board should be carefully chosen to create a well balanced selection. Below are a few tips from my personal experience to take your Charcuterie game to the next level!
1. How much is enough?
You never want to have too little charcuterie for your guests. A rule of thumb when it comes to quantity is, 3 to 4 ounces of meat per person and 2 to 3 ounces of cheese per person. Those values are standard if you intend to have the board as a stand alone appetizer.
2. What kind of meat? What kind of cheeses? It's so much to choose from!
Breathe easy because this list will be your ultimate guide! Just choose from the following categories and you'll be set. They will give you a hearty range of textures and flavor profiles. Check out the Local Pig or Broadway Butcher for real-life meat expertise, and the Better Cheddar for cheese needs.
Meats / Cured Sausage: Felino, Dry Chorizo
Paté, Rillettes or Terrine: Chicken Liver Pate, Duck Rilletes
Cured Meats: Prosciutto, Coppa
Whole Muscle Cuts: Roast Beef, Turkey
Cheeses / Semi-soft: Gouda, Havarti
Firm: Cheddar, Pecorino
Veined: Gorgonzola, Stiton
3. What else should I add to the board?
In addition to the meats and cheeses, fill your board with fresh fruit and pickled vegetables. Carbs are a must, they help to act as a medium to hold the charcuterie but also make the appetizer more filling. You can choose anything from sliced baguettes, seasoned crackers to breadsticks.
The accoutrements around your board are almost important as the board's contents.
To take your charcuterie game to the next level, be sure to swing by any Made in KC shop and pick up a variety of spreads, nuts and dips. These should be scattered around the board for your guests to add on to their selections. Be sure to have a few savory and sweet selections, i.e. preserves, jams, mustards and sauces. A few of my favorite additions are Thez Nuts’ Smokey Sweet KC BBQ Almonds, KC Canning Co. Ancho Date Butter, and KC Canning Co. 7-Pepper Jelly - all things you can pick up at your local Made in KC.
4. So that's it?
Not quite, putting everything altogether is the most time consuming aspect of building a charcuterie board. To be simple and brief, when incorporating all of the components on your board mix them up--don't have all the meat in one area or a clump of cheese in the middle. Weave the components together to create a seemingly homogenous presentation.
5. Alcohol suggestions?
Yes, we can't forget that! Wine and beer are great pairings for a charcuterie board, specifically give these few a try:
Red wines / Barbera, Beaujolais
White wines / Pinot Grigio, Champagne
Beer / Lager, Pilsner
And with that, CONGRATS!
You have completed my crash course in Charcuterie, look forward to a complimentary framed certificate in the mail.