Follow these simple beginner tips on how to make a beautiful and delicious Charcuterie board easily!
Every single night Haley puts together a snack (well, we call it “third dinner” – parents of growing kids, you know what I’m talking about!)…and it’s always the same thing; string cheese, a dill pickle, handful of crackers, and salami.
So, I’m not sure who was more excited about my latest Safeway excursion, her or me, because I spent the day with Columbus® Craft Meats, Triscuit, and J Vineyards. Basically awesome.
At Columbus® Craft Meats, they don’t add or remove ingredients that compromise taste, and they don’t rush the process to get more product out the door faster. All their meats, spices, and ingredients are carefully sourced to enhance the flavor of high-quality meat they start with. And it’s obvious, because their products are delicious!
Did you know that the original Triscuit only has three ingredients? THREE. Whole grain wheat, canola oil, and sea salt. Baked with simple, quality, wholesome ingredients, giving each cracker its distinctive texture and crunch. They have so many other flavors now, along with a new snack line – Triscuit Wheatberry Clusters made with wholesome wheat berries << these have already been included in my kids’ lunch boxes with a thumbs up!
Then there’s The Bubble Room at J Vineyards and Winery. Holy moly. Guests are treated to a world-class hospitality experience, where Executive Chef Carl Shelton and Winemaker Nicole Hitchcock use ingredients and techniques to create five courses of food and wine pairings that showcase the vineyard. Every menu tells a flawless different story. It was truly incredible.
We got to put all these great elements together in a fun Bento Box, which also got me thinking how perfect these ingredients are for a Charcuterie board. With Easter, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day all coming up, a Charcuterie board is a perfect way to welcome your friends and family. Have you ever made one?
What is a Charcuterie board
Charcuterie (pronounced “shar-koo-tuh-ree“) basically means a wide range of cured meats (or the process of curing.) Originally it was intended as a way to preserve meat before the handy refrigerator was invented. Today, Charcuterie boards are very popular and served at parties, casual get-togethers, holidays, or just any ‘ol day.
Their popularity comes from their ease, versatility, and beautiful presentation.
Basics to building a Charcuterie board
The key to a great Charcuterie board is all about balance – balance of textures, balance of flavors, and balance of colors. You want ingredients that contrast and complement each other. Boards can focus on a particular style (like savory or sweet), dietary needs (gluten-free or vegetarian), or a certain region. Keeping that in mind, it’s anyone’s game and the possibilities are endless!
Foods that you usually see on a meat and cheese board are cured meats, cheese, nuts, dried fruits, crackers, vegetables, olives, and dipping sauces or spreads. You can’t go wrong with these combinations:
1. spicy meats with sweet fruits
2. pickled vegetables with smooth Pâté
3. fresh fruit and soft cheeses
4. cured meats and crackers
When you build your tray, think about having little piles scattered around, and placing contrasting colors next to each other. Then once everything is in place, fill in any gaps with more of the same ingredients or something different. You can also include little bowls filled with sauces and spreads that go with your theme.
You can make your meat and cheese board as fancy and complex or as basic as you like. And basic doesn’t mean boring! The simple board I created is lovely.
Items I used:
1. Columbus® Italian Dry Salami
2. Hint of Salt, Rosemary & Jalapeño, and Basil & Garlic Triscuit crackers
3. Triscuit Wheatberry Clusters with cashews
4. Pimiento-stuffed green olives
5. Dill pickles
6. Roasted and salted almonds
7. Colby-Jack cheese
8. Fresh strawberries
9. Red grapes
10. J Vineyards Pinot Noir, for serving
How to serve Charcuterie
Natural wood, marble, bamboo, and cast iron boards are all good options, with natural wood probably being the most popular because of expense and also it lends to a more rustic look. It’s my favorite. They come in all shapes and sizes, too. I prefer rounded with a rim, which keeps everything in place! You can find many of them available on Amazon and Etsy.
Charcuterie boards are show stoppers and yet they’re really no-fuss. The best part, other than their deliciousness, is that there’s really no right or wrong way to make one. Just have fun with it!
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