Charcuterie Boards ... The Life of the Party!
Charcuterie Boards are gorgeous artfully displayed platters typically filled with meats and cheeses. While their popularity has grown over the past few years with reels of instagram photos and tik tok “char-cutchie” jokes they have actually been around for hundreds of years.
Charcuterie is derived from the French words “chair” which means flesh and “cuit” which means cooked. The word was first used in 15th century France by butcher shops that prepared salted and smoked pork. Today’s charcuterie boards have evolved to much more and aren’t just made up of salted and cured meats … now we load them will cheese, veggies, fruits, breads, tapenade, pâté, jams, pickles, honey, olives, nuts, herbs and more.
To us, the art of preparing Charcuterie Boards is in the detail of its elements. What makes it a fabulous addition to our events is the ability to customize with our clients' favourite items. Switching up a few ingredients yields something new and amazing and allows us to personalize each board. When we prepare our Charcuterie Boards we try to contrast flavours, combine different textures and colours, and offer a variety of items that are easy to share and are visually appealing. We always start our boards with a few small bowls filled with olives, honey, tapenade, jams or preserves. We like to add height with breadsticks displayed in a jar, texture with a variety of crostini and crackers, colour with grapes, fresh red raspberries and ripe figs and add a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme for a provincial feel.
What makes the real difference to any Charcuterie Board is the quality of meats and cheeses that you choose. High quality local butchers and artisan cheese makers are the best place to shop.
For our meat selection we love a good sopressata that is “uncured” which means vinegar, sea salt and celery powder are used instead of sodium nitrate in the curing process. We like to slice it a little thicker than other meats as it has a nice dense consistency. Prosciutto di Parma is an absolute must. The specific curing process from the region of Parma, Italy makes all the difference. Thinly sliced it is a delicate salty meat that goes well with fruit, cheeses and jams. We always like to include mild and spicy genoa salami. With its soft moist texture it is easy to roll or fold and is perfect for displays. Italian Capocollo is a highly marbled meat that adds flavour and texture to our boards. We also like to add a few dried sausages for guests to cut themselves.
For cheeses we like a combination of soft and hard and try to contrast flavours, textures and colours. Manchego Cheese is a decadent cheese that comes from the La Mancha region of Spain. It is a firm sheep’s milk with a tangy flavour and a beautiful herringbone rind. Blue Cheese has a place on every one of our platters. A peppery Roquefort or a pungent Stilton also offer unique flavours, colours and textures. Gouda, which comes from the Netherlands, is a sweeter cheese that has very little lactose and is always a favourite. We also love to add an old sharp Cheddar to our boards along with an Italian favourite, Parmigiano-Reggiano that tastes divine with honey. And of course, no board is complete without a high quality soft and creamy brie, a triple cream is our go-to. It's delicious with fig jam or fruit - it is cheese Nirvana!
As people who love parties and gathering together friends and family, the best part about a Charcuterie Board is that they are meant to be shared. It is the anchor at any home party or a perfect grazing station at larger venue events. Friends, family co-workers gather around and nibble, chat and then nibble some more!