I am a sucker for finger foods and all things involving cheese. And that is why I always opt to have a charcuterie board when I'm hosting a party. Cured meats, creamy cheeses and washing it down with a glass of wine? Please and thank you.
Our family often skips dinner on Friday nights and we instead fix charcuterie and cheese for a light and tasty meal. Its delicious, its easy, and it can give your taste buds a trip around the world.
Although making a charcuterie board is easy, pairing the right tastes and textures while choosing the right wine will make your charcuterie and cheese board a chef-d'oeuvre. So let's get down to the basics.
What is charcuterie?
Basically, charcuterie is French for a type of cooking that involves prepared meat products, primarily from pork. It is a traditional way of cooking and has gained in popularity throughout the restaurant and foodie community in recent years. Its perfect for an appetizer or a light meal.
The star of every charcuterie board is the meat selection. A basic rule of thumb is to have 2 oz of meat person if the board is only an appetizer and 4 oz if it is the main dish. Playing with texture, you need to have a hard meat like salami, something soft like prosciutto and something tangy like chorizo sausage. These flavors will give your guests a variety of tastes and textures without overpowering their palate.
Cheese is so versatile and delectable, it is my personal favorite part to eat. Usually, a good rule to stick with is something hard, something soft, something goat, something cow. Pick cheeses based on what you like. If you don't prefer a strong cheese, an aged cheddar or camembert might be your best pick. Or go bold and opt for a Goat gouda or Stilton.
Brie is always a hit in my household so it is a staple for our cheese boards. I also added a French gouda, gruyere and finally a funky, blue cheese. Blue cheese isn't for the faint of heart but I love to pair the robust taste with something sweet like fig jam or dried apricot and a German Riesling. The sweet flavors tame the funkiness and who doesn't love a good, German Riesling?
Fresh or dried fruit always pairs nicely with charcuterie. I tend to have red grapes and pears or dried apricots. Nuts are great for texture and make sure to add a pickled element like olives or gherkin pickles. You can even add a touch of sweet with spreads and jams. Giving your guests plenty of options always makes them happy and keeps them full and entertained.
Keep your vehicle simple so you don't take away the flavors from the meats and cheeses. I like to slice a french baguette and may add some butter crackers. If you like more flavor, you can toast your bread with olive oil or choose a rye cracker.
Depending on what meats and cheeses you pick will determine your wine. With the spread I had made, I paired a Napa Merlot which was medium bodied and it was the final touch to a beautiful and delicious charcuterie and cheese board! Make sure to explain to your guests the various items on your board and its a good idea to have cheese markers. If your family and friends are like mine, you will end up spending the evening talking about the food and wine.
And that is why I love hosting parties and cooking. It isn't necessarily the food I enjoy, but the fact it brings people together and creates a conversation on food, wine and travel.
A life of travel doesn't have to be taking a plane somewhere every month. You can bring your love of travel to your home through food and conversation. Make your next charcuterie board French inspired, or Spanish. Incorporate meats, cheeses and wine from regions throughout the world and take a culinary journey with your family.
I love looking at my table and seeing a spread that someone in Europe or South America might eat on an average day. It makes my life a little more cultured, and a lot more fun!
Someone was eyeing the tasty snacks!