Charcuterie Boards: Everything You Need to Know
Two reasons we believe charcuterie boards are so popular it`s because they are an easy shareable appetizer and they come with the visual appeal, which enhances the eating experience not only in flavor perception but also in creating a social media friendly table for people to make content.
Modern charcuterie boards have become a world of combinations and themes to explore, being a perfect option for any occasion and holiday season and also giving a personal touch to your event.
Whether or not you are new to the subject, in this blog you will find everything you need to know in order to make your charcuterie board.
If you plan on going traditional, here you will understand the meaning of charcuterie, the origin of meats and cheese types. Or if you want to explore more, you will get inspired by a big list of ideas of themed charcuterie boards that don’t include traditional ingredients.
Take a look at what we will cover in this blog post and feel free to jump into the part you are mostly looking for - although we personally think it's worth reading it through:
- Definition of Charcuterie
- Who invented
- Ingredients of Charcuterie Boards
- Best Cheese Options and Cutting Techniques
- Serving Size of Charcuterie Board
- How to Arrange your Charcuterie Board
- Best Wood Boards for Charcuterie
- Modern Charcuterie Board Ideas
- Charcuterie Boards for Every Season
- Movie Night
Definition of Charcuterie
Charcuterie (pronounced “shahr-kyu-tuh-ree”) is the art of preparing and assembling cured meats and other meat products.
However, nowadays the term can also refer to an assortment of cured meats that are paired with different accompaniments, such as toasts, fruit, nuts, cheeses, and sauces.
Why is it called charcuterie?
Its etymology comes from French and means cooked meat, referring to the practice of using all parts of an animal for possible consumption.
Who invented Charcuterie?
In the 15th Century, instead of using only the “good” portions of meat, French butchers and cooks were able to practice the art that became known as charcuterie, which involved using offal and all aspects of the meat, from the desire to not let a single portion of the animal go to waste. (Eat Cured Meat)
Although the traditional process of using salt to cure meats dates back to the Roman empire nearly 2,000 years ago like for salumi such as prosciutto. (Eat Cured Meat)
Salumi refers to the Italian craft of preserving and salting cured meat, very used to compose Antipasti boards. Salumi is not the same as Salami. Salami is a fermented salt-cured or cooked sausage, which is part of the traditional salumi category.
If you are wondering about the meaning of cured meat and what this process involves, this article by Eat Cured Meat will also give you a thorough explanation.
Ingredients of Charcuterie Boards
You can choose the types of meat from a variety of pork, beef, poultry, lamb, and buffalo. The majority of classic options are pork based. Italy, France, and Spain have long been important producers of artisan cured meats such as salami and chorizo.
Prosciutto/Parma Ham, Pancetta, Dry Cured Salami, Coppa, and Bresaola are some of the classic Italian Salumi that you can include on your board.
When it comes to Salami, the blog Best Salami for a Charcuterie Board by Eat Cured Meat tells you more details about types and other overall tips.
Best Cheese for Charcuterie Board
Some popular options include gouda, blue cheese, parmesan, pecorino romano, burrata, Spanish manchego, brie, camembert, and the list goes on. Each type pairs well with different ingredients, depending on their texture, intensity and flavor.
The website Cheese.com is an online cheese encyclopedia with very detailed descriptions of each type, besides a blog with cheese-related topics.
There you will discover, for example, the properties and ingredient pairing options. It’s a must-visit page for cheese lovers.
How to cut cheese for a Charcuterie Board
Before deciding how you want to shape your portions of cheese, you should keep in mind the proper cutting techniques for each type to prevent the pieces from breaking when cutting or eating them.
Serving Size of Charcuterie Boards
As a general rule, for an appetizer or snack portion, plan on around 3oz (about 90g) of meat and cheese per person plus a handful of add-ons that you like.
In the case of a main course, double the portion to six ounces of meat and cheese (about 180g) with the add-ons - it might be a good idea to include veggies and crackers or toasts for dipping in this case.
How to Arrange your Charcuterie Board
Besides the board to place the food, it’s useful to have some small dishes for plating and serving that can serve as a map of where to arrange things.
There is not an exact rule of where to place the ingredients, so it’s up to your creativity. One tip is to look for a visual reference on Google or Pinterest and go from there.
You can also guide yourself by placing some ingredients next to each other according to the harmonization of flavors.
Usually the first ingredients to be placed are the ones that take most of the space. Dried fruits and nuts usually go last, filling in the empty spaces. Be mindful of playing with the tastes, having two or three different varieties of cheese and meat, as well as of the remaining items.
Best Wood Boards for Charcuterie
The board or tray can have the shape and size you want depending on the occasion. At Zafill, we have an amazing selection of wood boards and serving trays by Origin Brazil that can be a great option for many reasons:
They receive Ag + active ion, an antimicrobial treatment that inhibits the proliferation of microorganisms in the wood. This treatment provides permanent protection, is inorganic, non-toxic, absolutely safe for human health and with very low environmental impact.
- Made from solid or hardwood:
Wood boards made of hardwood sources like Acacia, Hard or Sugar Maple, Teak, Bamboo, Black Walnut are antibacterial & antimicrobial by nature. Plus, they don’t impart funky flavors.
Besides, such characteristic gives exclusivity to each piece, as the solid wood, with a clear finish, highlights all the unique natural design of its source tree.
- Renewable Sources:
They are made of wood from legal sources in Brazil, Uruguay, United States and Europe, and are certified by the respective environmental control bodies.
Shop our Wood collection here: https://www.zafill.com/collections/wood-line
Modern Charcuterie Board Ideas
Beyond the traditional practice focused on cured meats, people have gone creative throwing gatherings with all types of themes for their “charcuterie boards”, such as “Movie Night”, “Christmas”, “Thanksgiving”, “Dessert”, “Fun”, “Valentine’s Day”, “Breakfast” and other categories that sometimes don’t include meat at all!
But who are we to tell them it’s wrong? We are here to provide you a source on how to keep up with the party making involving any type of charcuterie board you can imagine, following the few common steps we mentioned above.
Here we have put together a list of ideas for your inspiration that we found super nice and useful:
Christmas Charcuterie Boards:
Christmas CharcuterTREE Board (yes, a tree-shaped charcuterie board)