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Spalted vs Ambrosia Charcuterie Boards

Michael Giacopassi

Posted on November 07 2017

spalted maple

It’s a decades old debate. A Classic New England stalemate. What looks better; spalted or ambrosia maple?

Neither wood of course is an actual type of maple tree but rather the effects placed upon it without its permission.

Spalting occurs when a fungus enters the wood once it starts to decay. Typically, around New England the spalting is represented by thick black lines known as zone lines. One can introduce fungus to a perfectly fine piece of wood and get it to splat however I tend to find it, or cut down a piece of wood and let nature start to take its course.

Ambrosia maple on the other hand is when the ambrosia beetle bores in to a tree and leaves behind a fungus from its legs that discolor the wood. Unfortunately, and much like spalting – when the ambrosia beetle shows up it is soon lights out for the tree.

So now that you know the difference between the two – and how each is formed – it is up to you to decide which you prefer. I guess you don’t have to take a side – but what harm could it do?

ambrosia maple charcuterie board

The point of this post is to determine which one would be better for us in a charcuterie board. Both provide interesting visual aspects within the wood itself – but does that even matter? Ideally your charcuterie board is covered with delicious meats, cheeses, nuts and pickled things.

The other side to that argument is if the charcuterie platter is a big hit – your board and all its spalted ambrosia glory will be seen in a matter of minutes. I have traditionally worked with ambrosia maple more as that is what comes my way more than anything else – so I like it, I know it. It’s like a comfy pair of sweats or a good book.

On the other hand, spalted maple to me is a bit more mysterious and alluring.

spalted maple charcuterie board

Whelp – I can’t decide. Pick whichever you like the best – or buy one charcuterie board of each and put the issue to your guests.


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