What is a Charcuterie Board?
Before adding meat to your charcuterie board, it is essential to know exactly what a charcuterie board is and what goes into it. The word "charcuterie" has French roots and can be translated to "the produce from a fancy pork butcher".
This can tell us a lot about the importance of meats within the traditional charcuterie board. These boards involve cutting and assembling an assortment of meats and cheese paired with many other ingredients that diversify the tasting.
Charcuterie boards can include fruits, vegetables, spreads, crackers, olives, and anything else that may go well with the main element (gourmet meats and cheeses). Your board can only become the center of attention if you organize it well.
How To Make Your Charcuterie Board Look Appealing
Here are some tips on how to add life to your charcuterie board
1. The Board is Important
The board itself is an essential piece of the puzzle. In fact, without that base, nothing placed on top would look appealing. You don't need to spend the big bucks on an elaborate and expensive board.
A DIY works as well as anything.
Get a uniquely shaped cutting board, or use a rimmed baking sheet for accessibility. You can also choose to place a beautiful cloth or parchment paper for those ingredients. Just make sure everything is edible and non-toxic.
2. Variety is Key
You mustn't stick to just one kind of ingredient that overwhelms your board. The whole point of a gourmet charcuterie board is the variety of ingredients you get to try. A board with a single cheese or meat option and overwhelming amounts of fruit may not pass the test.
Mix and match by adding dry-cured and cooked meats and multiple taste profiles. You can play with both texture and taste when it comes to cheese. Choose at least one spreadable cheese and make sure it clashes with a harder texture, such as these delicious crackers.
3. Fill 'Em Up!
Your guests will probably be ravenous after eyeing that charcuterie board, waiting for the tasting to begin. Ensure your board doesn't end before it has begun. You must add a filling option to the board, such as crackers, freshly baked bread, or different kinds of bread choices. You can also choose to mix and match the kinds of bread you choose.
4. Stack it High
Once you are done building that foundation, start stacking the board with things that are the best pairs for that meat and cheese. Add your olives, fruits, vegetables, or herbs. The safest fruits are figs, melons, pears, and grapes. Moreover, vegetables that can be cut into sticks make for an appealing
5. The Final Touches
Make sure the board is as appealing to the other senses as it is to your taste buds. It must look good and smell great! If you want to pull your guests to the board, consider adding a freshly baked item, such as hot bread from the oven or fried meat that engulfs their nostrils.
To make the board look especially appealing, you can use an organized approach or get creative. Consider overlapping multiple items, such as adding cheeses and meats in a river-like sequence and assorting the crackers nearby. You can also divide the board into different parts and add a unique
element as per your imagination.
The Top 10 Italian Meats for the Best Charcuterie Board of the Season!
Charcuterie boards are known for how vibrant they are, as the bright red and pink hues of the meat clash with the white cheese and multicolored assortments. However, there's no one way to get a charcuterie board perfect.
The ultimate choice depends on your (and your guests) taste buds. This includes whether you want a savory or a sweet board and the ingredient you can't afford to miss. It also depends on your budget or the object you want to highlight.
#1: The Highlight of the Board | Prosciutto
The first pick should be the center of attention on your charcuterie board. This could be Prosciutto, the perfect sweet and salty addition to start with. Of the many dry-cured Italian meats you could choose, Prosciutto is the most popular and fancier option.
This meat usually comes in thinner slices and can be consumed raw. This is because it is cured to perfection, and the flavor lies in how it is preserved. Due to the salt that it is wrapped in when cured, this meat has a distinct salty aftertaste.
Prosciutto can easily sneak its way onto your board without taking up much space. You can use it with savories (olives or cherry tomatoes), sweets (jams, jellies, or fruit), or carbs (crackers or bread). In fact, the best way to consume it is to wrap it around an olive or a piece of fruit.
#2: The Spicy Addition | Sopressata
If you add sweet and salty meat, you must balance it with something spicy. The better you balance your board, the smoother the flavors. Sopressata is a popular Italian meat that belongs to the Salami family.
It is made from different pork pieces ground together with black pepper and garlic from the Italian market. After the meat is ground, additional fat is added to enhance the flavor. Hot Sopressata is made from Calabrian chilies and goes especially well with creamier cheeses like gouda or mozzarella.
You can also pair this meat with berries, as the sweetness mixes with the tang to create an explosion in your mouth.
#3: Mix It Up | Finocchiona
If you are adding some cured meats to the board, you must also mix it up with cooked or smoked meats. Salami meat is a great addition to the board. Salami meat is diverse and is available in a wide variety. However, Finocchiona is a valuable addition to your board.
This meat is much like Salami as it has been salted, spiced, ground, and fermented in thin casings. However, for this particular kind, the process also involves the addition of spicy fennel seeds that change the flavor profile.
For this meat, the best pairing is a slice of fresh, home-cooked bread or some wine. The fennel seeds make even the blandest of wines taste great. You can also drizzle some olive oil on top and enjoy it with just that! Here are some of the best dressings to buy today.
#4: The Smoky Element | Mortadella
Add a smoked piece of Mortadella to your board for a flavor that your audience would not have expected. Since Mortadella is cooked, cured, and combined with different spices and additions, it can make your board appealing both for the eyes and the tongue.
The best way to serve this meat is to fold it into quarters and pair it with some red Italian wines, fruits, or Italian bread.
#5: Cube It | Pancetta
Pancetta is also an addition that adds variety to the charcuterie board. People usually add it in slices. However, since Pancetta contains many other elements, such as garlic and Italian spices, cubes can help you explore a lot more flavors.
You can add Pancetta to skewers and pair them with some Parmigiano Reggiano cheese or a glass of red wine. Basil, bay leaf, or Parmesan cheese is also a great option. This collection of cheeses is one you mustn’t miss.
#6: Balance the Spice | Nduja
Enough with the smoky and salty meats. It is time to look to the spicier Italian meats to add to the top of your board. Nduja is one such addition. It is quite like a traditional pork sausage, except that it is spreadable.
Nduja is known for how spicy it is, and the multiple kinds of pepper help it maintain that reputation. Another quality of the meat is the flavor it gains through smoking during the fermentation. This smoking is done using olive and orange wood smoke.
#7: Add Variety | Coppa
Coppa is another popular choice which is recognized as one of the best cold cuts you can choose. It is obtained from pork and is as thinly sliced as Prosciutto. However, it has a much higher fat content. This meat suits fruits and vegetables best and is ideal for a refresher.
#8: Excite the Senses | Rillettes
To add something new to the board, you can also experiment with a pâté like texture. Rillettes is a slow-cooked meat that is then shredded and mixed with fat. The meat is served cold. You can use this with some bread and a tangy sauce that matches the flavor profile. Shop for the freshest bread to pair with your meats at Supermarket Italy.
#9: Another Salami | Genoa Salami
Yet another Salami addition to the list, Genoa Salami is as flexible as any other Salume. It is also easy to find at the Italian grocery store. The meat is cured and uncooked, dry-aged to perfection. You can pair it with wine, brie, or gouda!
#10: The Final Blow | Cotechino
Cotechino is a slow-cooked pork sausage that takes its time. However, it is definitely worth it in the end. You can pair this sausage with grapes, lentils, or carrots. However, it is mostly used to add that beautiful smell to an otherwise bland-smelling board.
If you want to find all the meats you need in one place, explore the many categories available at Supermarket Italy’s meat section. Add to that a bundle to get an assortment of goods for your charcuterie board!
Charcuterie boards are much like art that you create with multiple foods. Mixing and matching different meats with other ingredients isn't everyone's cup of tea. Thus, learning how to pair different items together can help you achieve the best charcuterie board for your next party.
At Supermarket Italy, you can find all kinds of Italian meats as per your requirement. Moreover, our team will be available to guide you regarding your purchase and give you more information on Italian meats.