WHAT IS CHARCUTERIE?
”Cold cooked meats collectively.” While that might be the Webster’s dictionary definition, today Charcuterie has evolved into a wide range of delicious pairings of meats, cheeses, olives, jams, bread, and more. Charcuterie was developed to preserve meats before the advent of refrigeration and has recently come back into the spotlight. Why is it so popular now? We’re not 100% sure, but we like the theory we read on a meme recently: “Charcuterie; because a generation of adults raised on Lunchables is trying to be fancy.” Seems fair. ALL JOKES ASIDE,
NOTHING BRINGS HAPPY PEOPLE TOGETHER LIKE FOOD.
That’s what Calicuterie does, brings people together by creating conversation pieces designed to be lived around. A well-rounded charcuterie board is a great first course when hosting a dinner, or it can be a standalone dish to keep party-goers happy when you are entertaining. Our blog will feature charcuterie tips and recommend pairings to help ensure you are getting the best use out of your board. Sign up for our newsletter to know when new blogs get posted!
Charcuterie meats offer a great balance of taste, texture, and flavor to any assortment. Some are more common, like Prosciutto, Genoa Salami, or Spanish Chorizo and some are less common like Mortadella, ‘Nduja or Jamón Ibérico. Much like our artistic charcuterie boards, introducing new meats can be a conversation starter amongst your guests.
Cheese - The shining bright star of every charcuterie board. With the insane range of flavors, textures, and tastes, cheese is the current that brings the rest of the board’s flavors together. When selecting cheese for your board, it’s a good rule of thumb to select a variety of flavors and textures. Parmesans dense and gritty texture pairs perfectly with some prosciutto, while bries soft texture goes well with fruits like apples, pears, grapes, and berries, and unsalted nuts like pecans, almonds, and walnuts. Other common cheeses include aged gouda, asiago, gruyere, colby, cheddar, Havarti, butterkäse, muenster, burrata, mascarpone, stracchino, and gorgonzola.
Olives are a must-have charcuterie board addition! Salty, buttery, sweet, savory - the range of flavors olives provide help bring together your meats, cheeses, and wine selections. Our personal all time favorite combination is castlevantrano olives (sometimes called the “gateway” olive as its light and buttery taste can attract even the biggest olive skeptics) with a soft cheese, like brie or goat.
Nuts, Jams, Breads, and Fruits, Oh My!
If you are in a hurry, throwing together a simple board of just meats and cheeses is a great way to add a little class and sophistication to any gathering, but if you do have a little time to plan, adding in some other elements will take an ordinary board to the level of “i need to take a picture of this.” Remember, charcuterie boards are designed to be a fancier-than-normal dish, so when choosing items to add, don’t just get the everyday, basic version. For example, go for artisan nuts and crackers over a cheap store brand or the ones that have been sitting in your pantry for about a year now.
Adding a wine selection to your board is a great way to complement the flavors, but it is not a necessary part. So, if you are alcohol-free, good for you! Try pairing the board with tea, coffee, lemonade, or soda. When selecting wines to pair with your boards, it is important to consider the meats you have chosen. Wines were designed to complement food, not overpower them. For meats low in spice, try pairing them with lighter-bodied white wines like a Sauvignon Blanc, or a light to medium-bodied red like Merlot. Sparkling wines like prosecco or rose are also great choices. For spicer meats like peppered salami or Spanish chorizo, try pairing them with fruity or full-bodied reds like cabernet or malbec, or with medium to full-bodied whites like chardonnay.