’Tis the season for indulging in some exquisite charcuterie boards. It’s easy to put a bunch of meat, cheese and crackers on a tray, but creating a truly elevated charcuterie board experience is an art. Thankfully, it’s an art that’s easy to learn, and has some key principles that you can keep in mind to make sure that you can create a beautiful and delicious array of charcuterie every time.
Here are some of the guidelines I usually follow when creating a charcuterie board
- Include a “showcase” For this particular board, I chose the Rougie Foie Gras. Go all out on one special component of your charcuterie board – the star of the show – and then arrange the “supporting cast” around it.
- Generally, charcuterie boards should have three, four or more of the following components: one or two meat selections, one or two cheese selections, fruit – both fresh and dried, nuts, pickles, a sweet condiment like jam or honey and a savoury condiment like jelly, mustard or chutney. A little chocolate makes most people pretty happy, too.
- Everything on your charcuterie board should complement each other. Imagine how the flavours of each component might taste when paired with the other. Picture the varying permutations and combinations that might work well together: perhaps one guest will drizzle a cracker with honey and pile it with blue cheese; perhaps another will munch on that blue cheese with fresh grapes.
- Esthetics are key when it comes to creating an enticing array of charcuterie. Arrange the cheeses, crackers, meats and other components in an attractive way. Although charcuterie boards may seem like a quick appetizer to throw together, they benefit from some time and care in the assembly.
- Speaking of the visual appeal of your charcuterie board, it’s always a great idea to include some springs of fresh or dried herbs or even edible flowers as way to adorn your board.
Not sure where to start? Head over to Pete’s Fine Foods and recreate this charcuterie board, inspired by a delicious combination of foods from both local and far-flung locales:
Rougie Foie Gras
Stonewall Kitchen Salt and Pepper Crackers
Green Calimyra figs
Lindsay Goat Cheese
Jason Lynch’s Rosehip Jelly
Pete’s Own Whole Almonds
Salami or a cured meat of your choice
Jessie is a writer, food lover and women’s wellness practitioner. She owns the Halifax-based Nalumana Women’s Wellness, and writes about all things food, wellness, parenting and adventure for a variety of publications, including her own blog, Purple House Cafe.