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5 charcuterie board design ideas

Michael Giacopassi

Posted on October 09 2019

Image courtesy of Pixabay

5 Winning Charcuterie Board Design Ideas For Your Next Get Together

Bringing family or friends over to hang out? Putting together a business meeting that requires some elevated snacks? Or maybe you want to put out a great selection of eats for the big game.

The word “charcuterie” seems to imply something both foreign and complicated. A French word that literally translates to “pork butcher shop,” a correct charcuterie board presents a selection of cured meats and cheeses. 

You do not have to limit yourself to pork, or even to meat and dairy products. It can offer meats as widely varied as duck, beef, chicken, or any other protein, with or without curing.  Fruits, vegetables, and sauces need not be banished from a well-made plate either. 

Charcuterie’s options extend as far as your imagination. Below are five ideas to get you started on making the perfect charcuterie for any type of get together.

German Style 

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This simple selection brings superior flavour. Pair top quality savoury German bratwurst with the decadent taste and texture of thick soft pretzels. A simple honey mustard sauce would provide the perfect complement to balance the salty and savoury notes on this platter.

Of course, a great beer serves as the perfect, almost a required, beverage buddy for this platter. A light pilsner would cut through the rich flavours and provide balance. Heavier beers, however, would also accentuate the taste and texture of the brats and pretzels. 

Pickles and Cured Meats Make Great Partners

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Pickled vegetables serve as one of the most classic pairings of traditional charcuterie with non-meat and dairy options.  They add the strong input of vinegar along with either sweet or savoury spices to the salty richness of cured meats. 

Pickled vegetables give you a variety of options. An Italian charcuterie could combine a salad of pickled items, known as giardiniera, along with olives, native cheeses, and any number of delicious cured meats from that country.  Or try an American style charcuterie which could include sweet or dill pickles along with summer sausage, salty Virginia style cured ham, and rich cheeses such as cheddar.

Feel free to go beyond pickles. A delicious and tasty world of pickled vegetables awaits and most of them pair well with cured meats and cheeses.

Berries On Center Stage

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One creative way to balance the rich, salty flavours of cured meats lies in bringing sweet elements to the platter. Berries provide a light and juicy sweetness that creates a powerful balance with heavier cured meats. 

They also evoke a sense of the open country, mountains, and cold rushing streams. 

Blackberries serve as a popular choice in such pairings with blueberries not far behind. Grapes and raspberries can also fill the role well. When thinking of cheeses, consider feta and blue cheese as complements. Their taste intertwines well with sweet berries. 

For more complexity, consider adding nuts for texture. 

Not By Bread Alone, But It Helps

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Bread serves as another fantastic complement to both traditional and modern charcuterie. That goes with an important caveat. The bread must have enough taste and texture fortitude to stand up against the other strong flavours on the plate.

Avoid breads that have a softer and lighter texture. Bold flavours and robust thickness and textures will allow the bread to serve as an integral part of the plate, rather than a sideshow. It should stand up on its own, rather than serving as a platform for the meats and cheeses. 

Remember, it’s charcuterie, not a sandwich board!

Crackers serve as a superior foundation for meats and cheeses in charcuterie. They keep the platter in the realm of snacks as opposed to a meal. 

Modern Charcuterie

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Charcuterie has come a long way from its origins as cured pork surrounded by flavourful cheeses and perhaps a bit of bread. Some modern fashions in food that trend toward the fresher and lighter have had their impact on charcuterie. 

This has led to the inclusion of versatile fresh fruits and vegetables as centrepieces of the platter instead of supporting characters. Avocado adds natural richness and fat and can stand in well for cheese. Many chefs have turned to cantaloupe and honeydew melons as well. They bring robust texture as well as sweetness to the plate. 

As opposed to berries, which are reminiscent of a more mountain environment, avocados and melons carry a tropical taste to the dish. They “feel” more like California or the Gold Coast, perfect for munching while watching a tropical sunset with a glass of good wine. 

Charcuterie can encompass any number of combinations of meat, cheese, bread, fruits, vegetables, and even mushrooms. Their versatility makes them a hit at any party, especially since almost everyone loves cured meats.

Use your imagination and amaze your guests at your next get together with creative and delicious charcuterie. Shop our range of charcuterie boards now and get inspired!

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