Charcuterie is the culinary art of meat curing techniques that produce salami, prosciutto, pâté and more. Commonly seen at cocktail hour, a charcuterie board is filled with these delicious meats plus an array of cheeses, mixed nuts, fruits and veggies. Making a balanced charcuterie board with the right blend of salty, creamy, crispy, and sweet takes practice, and you may be wondering where to begin. With a few easy steps and a ton of gourmet food items, Supermarket Italy is here to help you make the perfect charcuterie board a reality!
Step One: Choose Your Charcuterie Meats
To get started, compile a variety of flavors and textures like spicy salami, paper-thin mortadella, and ultra gourmet smoked speck. Prosciutto is an Italian cured meat that is salty and sweet and can be easily incorporated with any charcuterie board. The delicateness of prosciutto will be balanced with hearty sliced sausages and chorizo, which will also go well on top of crackers. Italian meats may play a starring role in modern charcuterie, but there is also room for delicious French classics like pâté and rillettes.
Step 2: Select Gourmet Cheeses
Make serving easy by choosing a variety of pre-sliced cheeses like Swiss and cheddar. Include a balance of nutty flavors like gouda and pecorino romano with sweet, creamy brie. Soft herbed goat cheese is excellent for spreading on toast points and will pair with the salty cured meats you chose in step one. Need more inspiration? Check out our recommendations for cheeses to include on your next charcuterie board.
Step 3: Add Bread and Crackers
The crunchy element of your charcuterie board will typically come from crackers and breadsticks like rustic Italian grissini. Include an assortment of crackers like whole grain, water crackers, and crostini. Toast points and baguettes are both ideal for stacking with slices of cheese and cured meat.
Step 4: Select Fresh Fruit
Fruit can provide a refreshing break from sweet and salty flavors on the antipasti platter. Give your charcuterie spread an enticing splash of color with raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries in a small bowl. The sweet flavor of sliced figs help balance the rich brininess of cured meats, while apples and pears provide a tartness to match sweet cheeses.
Step 5: Ladle Up Sauces and Spreads
You’ve made the perfect stack of bread, meat, fruit and cheese: The last step to perfection is a dipping sauce or spread. Enhance crusty baguette slices with an olive oil dipping sauce seasoned with herbs, minced garlic, and spices. Fruit jams will balance well with nutty Italian cheeses and cured meats, and for those who like things a little spicy, Italian hot peppers and spiced olives will turn up the heat.
Step 6: Decorate with Finger Food
Your charcuterie board should be practically full by now, but it’s great to include extra finger foods in the nooks and crannies. Fill up small spaces on the platter with mixed nuts, Castelvetrano olives, and Amarena cherries in syrup, a classic Italian sweet treat.