Charcuterie (pronounced “shar-KYOO-ter-ee”) is the art of making cured, smoked and preserved meats such as sausages. So a charcuterie platter, more commonly called meat and cheese platters in Australia, usually feature a display of cured and preserved meats, artisan cheeses, breads and everything in between.
A charcuterie platter is usually the top choice for easy, crowd-pleasing hors d’oeuvres (French for appetisers). There is no cooking involved and everyone will find a little something they like. However, creating a great charcuterie platter isn’t as easy as you might think. It’s more than just throwing some meat on a cutting board! Thoughts and preparation is definitely required. To simplify the process for you, we’ve put some tips together.
- Make sure to have enough meat for all of your guests. Calculate about 2 ounces (about 56 grams) of charcuterie per person if you are serving the platter as an hors d’oeuvre. However, if the platter is being used as a main dish, plan around 4 ounces per person.
- When it comes to the meat selection, variety is definitely the key. You want to please your guests so you need to make sure everybody will find something they like.
- Mix up the different textures and tastes to make it more interesting. You want to create an assortment of mild, medium and spicy flavours. And you want to have complementary and contrasting flavours so don’t be afraid to mix sweet and salty flavours. For example, prosciutto and melon goes super well together. So why not prepare prosciutto-wrapped chunks of melon?
- Make sure to not let the charcuterie stand for more than 2 hours at the room temperature.
- And what’s a charcuterie board without cheese! There is so many different variety of cheeses so it can be quite challenging to select a few. We suggest to offer variety. Select aged, firm and creamy cheeses. And make sure to serve at least one cheese that people are familiar with.
- The main attraction of a charcuterie platter is definitely the meat but it’s not a reason to forgot about the the rest of the elements. Fruits are amazing to balance with the saltiness of the meat.
- You want to select bread and crackers that are not too strongly flavoured so it won’t overpower the meat.
- Don’t underestimate the presentation. Make sure it looks as nice as it tastes.
- Don’t forget the seasoning. Olive oil, black pepper and crunchy salt will do the trick.
- Prepare some alternative for the vegetarians/vegan. Hummus, vegetables, fruits, nuts… you can create a meat-free platter that will be just as delicious!
There you go, you are all set to prepare a great charcuterie board! It will look fancy, it will be easy to eat and there isn’t much cleaning to do afterward. No doubt it will be a big hit with your guests!
Have a look below for some inspiration. And show us your creation on Instagram @partyaffairs