A Valentine’s Day Charcuterie Board
Posted on February 11 2019
Putting together a charcuterie bard for Valentines day can be a fun thing to do together for any couple – no fancy RusticWares Charcuterie Board needed (although it would help spice things up a bit).
First off a trip to the grocery store – which for some may be more stressful that it need be. Always always always make a list prior to heading down to the market. This can keep your mind and budget in check while wondering the hundreds of thousands of items a typical modern grocery store carries.
Stick to the outside of the store – do not go venturing down the aisles – everything you need for that perfect romantic charcuterie board is found on the outskirts – don’t get pulled in.
First off, start with fresh fruits and veggies. Sugar snap peas, broccoli, carrots are always front and center on my boards. I will typically pair them with a nice flavored hummus which I place in the center of the board. OK, veggies done – shoot for the fruits. Red and green grapes – that’s a no brainer. If you want, add some strawberries, pineapple or a cut up melon – no honey dew – honey dew is a tool of the devil and should be left to rot where it lies.
If you want to add a fruit dip to the mix I suggest, making one. Here is a great cream cheese base dip from Dinner At The Zoo - https://www.dinneratthezoo.com/cream-cheese-fruit-dip/ or if you are a Disney fan you might like making a Dole Whip http://www.dole.com/recipes/d/DIY-Dole-Whip which is fantastic all by itself. You can also go dippable chocolate, pudding, whipped cream or salted caramel https://www.rusticwares.com/blogs/news/16442064-salted-caramel
Next up is the meats – as you need to have meats on a charcuterie board. Well OK, you don’t, if you are a vegetarian or just want to go a bit lighter – feel free to leave the meats out of this one – but I wouldn’t. Pepperoni, prosciutto, salami, nduja (an amazing type of spreadable spicy salami), chorizo, ham cubes, jerky, sliced turkey rolls and chunk chicken breast are all good calls when filling out a charcuterie board.
OK, now its cheese time! I typically do not get too adventurous with cheese. I don’t know it well, so I tend to stick with the basics. NY or Vermont sharp cheddar is my favorite. One of those soft cheese ball things with the nuts on the outside – always a fan favorite as it is soft enough to spread around. With so many cheeses to choose from I suggest each of you taking a turn until you have 2 – 4 kinds picked out.
OK, so fruit, veggies, cheese and meats are down – just a few more things to round out this charcuterie board V Day party platter for 2 , or 3 , or 4.
Ow you need a cured meat and cheese delivery vehicle. Crackers and bread. There are so many different kinds of crackers on the market that I get dizzy and need to sit a spell before choosing. My new favorite are the rice crackers – light, airy and perfect. I don’t like a heavy triscuit that is flavored with garbage in a charcuterie board application. On their own a Black Pepper triscuit is pretty good, but their flavors are so over powering that the subtleness of the cheeses and meats will get lost among all that other stuff that it defeats the purpose of taste and savoring what it is you are eating.
Of course if you are going the bread route I would suggest making your own – follow the NYT No Knead recipe and you will not be disappointed - https://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/nyregion/13recipe.html This is New York Times most popular recipe of all time. Of course you need 24 hours’ notice, but if you plan it right it is something that turns out amazing. I look at bread baking as one of the most basic skills you can have. I’m not saying it is a basic skill at all – but I am saying you should have at least one bread recipe in your “go to” arsenal to pull out when the need arises.
If you don’t have time to bake your own, then any loaf in the bakery section made that day will do. A nice long banquette sliced up thin and lightly toasted is fun, a big boule to cut in to chunks works, or a plain old loaf of Italian bread is a fun choice as well.
Well that’s about it – unless of course you are a nut person. With so many people today having all kinds of nut allergies if I am making a board up for a party of people I will typically leave the nuts off the platter. If you know the other person is good with nuts I like to add a smoky almond or fancy peanuts. Oooh, almost forgot I like to add the bar mix sometimes too. I’m not exactly sure what is made up of the bar mix. Its got those sesame seed rod thingies, pretzel type thingy and other stuff.
Now that you got everything you need and you had a fun time picking it all out its time to head home or to the park and put it all together. Like I said in the opening a proper charcuterie board is not needed. Find anything flat – most of the time I say to use your cutting board. If you don’t have one of those – well then my heart weeps for you. Maybe you could use a trapper keeper or part of your front door?
Anyways – you can find a flat board thingy anywhere in your house or around the block. Putting everything together in a presentable format is the next fun part. Laying out the cheese in a fan style shape, lining up the meats in order of size, arranging the baby carrots as sun rays around the hummus container and placing grape bunches here and there to make it look oh so casual makes it even more fun.
Don’t worry if your layout creation doesn’t look like what you have seen on Instagram or Pinterest – looks don’t matter as much as the effort that goes in to it and the fun the two of you have putting it together. Plus if it’s your first time ever putting something like this together – it shouldn’t be perfect, that comes with doing it a few more times and understanding what works. I have been curing salami for 10+ years, making actual charcuterie boards for sale for 7+ years and mine still don’t look like anything professional – so no worries what yours look like.
The point is, have fun, relax, enjoy the day and each others company. If you don’t have a special someone on V Day – make one just for yourself, or make one for your car – or make a huge one and bring it work or school or a retirement community – you will get much love doing any one of those!