We all know the party really begins the moment the charcuterie board makes its appearance. Imagine cured and spiced meats nestled up to exotic dried Turkish figs, wedged between creamy brie truly tantalizing the senses. What will your first bite look like? Seeking a delectable crunch, you spot the grass-fed cheese biscuits cascading into the grapes and dip one into the orange-blossom honey. You then follow up with some smoked salmon with Herbs de Provence chevre. And this is just the beginning.
What is Charcuterie?
The original meaning of the french word “charcuterie” refers to the preparation of meat that is typically smoked or cured. Dating back to the 15th century, charcuterie became a way of preserving meat so as to not waste any part of the animal, often leading to the creation of aged meat and sausage. This was before refrigeration existed and the meat was cured by salt, smoke, or vinegar.
Today the charcuterie board is a staple for most celebrations and a lovely companion at any gathering. Enhance your offering and look beyond general meat and cheese sources to find grass-fed options as a way to integrate a regenerative approach. Adding fruits, vegetables, spreads, and dips provide a full spectrum of sweet to savory flavors and a variety of textures to satisfy any appetite.
When Does a Charcuterie Board Make Sense?
If you are hosting a party or even a date night and want to create something special on the fly, a charcuterie board is an excellent choice. The variety of this crowd-pleaser is perfect for those who like to make sure there is something for everyone. It can be fancy or it can be simple, charcuterie meets you where you are at. It can also be a rewarding experience for you to bring your creativity forward as a host.
Do It Yourself (DIY)
You are the artist and food is your medium! Depending on the audience or the number of guests you’ve invited, you’ll want to start with a decent-sized wooden board or tray as your canvas. Whether you shop at the corner grocery, order online, or head to your favorite gourmet food store, you will be able to find what you need. Pro tip: assess the food journey, do you need serving utensils and utensils for eating, or is it finger food? Do you need small plates and napkins? Give yourself time to ensure you have the accouterments and 5 main ingredients for your charcuterie success.
Fruits & Olives
Dried fruits such as cherries, figs, apricots, dates, blueberries, etc. as well as fresh fruit such as sliced apples and pears, and fresh grapes, may be scattered throughout your charcuterie board. Don’t forget olives either, their pungent and buttery flavors can add new life to your spread.
Meat & Vegetables
Cured, smoked, sliced, and diced. You name it, various types of aged meat, as well as smoked salmon, are acceptable protein choices that can survive a few hours into the party. Grass-fed, organic and all natural sourcing will optimize the nutritional value and pack a healthful punch. If you are going for salmon make sure you have a serving fork for ease of delivery. You can also go vegetarian and stick to vegetables. Great veggies for dipping include celery, carrots, cauliflower, radishes, cucumbers, pickles, and the list goes on.
You cannot go wrong here, people! Everyone loves cheese. However, know your audience and think about regenerative options. Grass-fed cheese definitely has a special vibe that your guests are sure to appreciate. And be sure to think about texture and taste. From hard cheeses such as parmesan to the gooeyness of brie and everything in between, you'll be sure to entice most palettes.
A great loaf of sliced sourdough is a sure win. We also invite you to think beyond the traditional cracker choices and explore Keep Grazin’ grass-fed cheese biscuits. Our Truffle biscuits made with Bolivian farm cheese may just be the highlight of your charcuterie. With every bite, the crunch brings a newfound texture to the mix while truffles take your tasting experience to the next level, without mentioning the great conversation starter this delectable little snack can be.
Creamy dips, savory spreads, and nectars are the ingredients that tie it all together! Savory options such as hummus and smashed avocado with drizzled olive oil and salt, and the sweetness of exotic fruit preserves, special honey, or perhaps whipped apple butter weave a unique charcuterie experience for everyone to enjoy. Either way one decides to go, happiness ensues. (a few pieces of chocolate mixed in can also give it an extra sparkle).
Where Is the Wine?
Wine is a great companion to any charcuterie board and the best pairing will depend on the time of day, season, and the unique combination of your choices. Natural wines, prosecco, and champagne will bring out surprising elements with their bubbles and can help to neutralize all the fats. A great red such as an earthy pinot noir can add dramatic flair to the evening.
Whatever your celebration, may it be flavorful, colorful, and texture-full, and have fun grazin’ through your charcuterie spread!