When we have weekends at home with nothing planned on the schedule, my favourite thing to do is have our close friends over for food and drinks. We usually spend every Saturday morning at the farmers market, grabbing seasonal goods and heading back in prep for a large dinner. Now, as much as I enjoy cooking a tasty meal for my friends, sometimes the easiest and biggest hit is a simple charcuterie board. It’s looks fancy, it’s easy to eat and the mess is a lot less work! Here are my tips for making the perfect charcuterie board:
MEAT & CHEESE
Well, this is the obvious one but buy the freshest you can get! Try to have a balance of different flavours when it comes to your cheese. For a smaller crowd, choose 3-4 cheeses, one being creamy, one sharp, one drier and one saltier. We ended up going with a goat cheese, truffle pecorino, bellavitano and a swiss. Don’t be afraid to ask to try different types at your local cheese shop and be sure to ask them what their favourites are, they are almost always the best!
For the meats, try to add different textures to change it up. We went with a dried salami, salty prosciutto and another spicy salami. Make sure to present each meat nicely, by rolling and twisting it, it allows the meat to have some height so it doesn’t lay flat on your board.
Creamy cheeses and salty meat needs to marry with some freshness to create a nice balance. Add cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, grapes or fresh figs.
This is also another area where you want to have different textures. A french baguette is always a no brainer since it seems to be the biggest hit for majority of my guests, however I tend to enjoy drier breads which is why I also like to add in a Bavarian rye and flatbread crackers.
I’m not a huge meat eater so as much as I can appreciate the taste of good meat, I like to make sure there is a variety of other items to eat with cheese. I suggest roasted artichokes, roasted pepper, grilled eggplant and 2-3 different types of olives.
DIPS & EXTRAS
In a small side dish, I made some fresh hummus for a little some extra and fig jam for some sweetness with cheese. I also made candied pecans, walnuts and cashews that were a massive hit with my guests! I used Barefoot Contessa’s recipe here. They look so pretty when you scatter them in between the cheese and meats.
I love pairing a dark red wine with bold, salty flavours like this, but I also find it can put you in a complete food coma! I like to offer a variety from red to rose to champagne.