Let's start with the pronunciation. Is it CHar-cut-ery? No, maybe it's shark-U-ter-ee. Hmm, we've all been there, that awkward moment when you have to say the word out loud... in front of other people. The pressure is on! You were close, it's actually pronounced shar-KOO-tur-ee and it's a french word that generally translates as "pork butcher." This has lead to the belief that you can only use pork with your charcuterie board but that's actually not true. The book Larousse Gastronomique defines it as"the art of preparing various meats, in particular pork, in order to present them in the most diverse ways." So, there you go! You can create your own board however you like in as diverse a way as you like. Anything goes!
History of Charcuterie
In short, and without too many snoozy details, way back in Roman times, they may have been the first to regulate the trade & proper production of pork which were salt-cured to keep from spoiling. Fast forward to 15th century France, guilds were formed. The guilds that produced these salted meats were known as charcutiers. The meats they produced were cooked, dried and salted in varying styles as a method of preservation, sometimes varying distinctly from one another depending on the region. The charcutier prepared numerous items, including pâtés, rillettes, sausages, bacon and trotters. These meats became known as charcuterie and is where the modern-day platter gets its name.
3 Main Parts of a Charcuterie Board
This category most often includes salted, cured, or smoked meats but isn't 100% necessary. Cheeses also fall under the salty umbrella. You can serve soft cheeses at room temperature or hard cheeses served cold. We've even seen cheese dips used on these platters, the sky is the limit!
- Sweet sopresatta
- Blue cheese
- Smoked gouda
- Goat cheese
- Fresh Mozzarella
Bonus: Olives or pickles
Fruit and sweets are a fantastic way to balance the salty side of the board! While some of these are not necessarily traditional, they put a great modern twist on the charcuterie concept. So, what are you waiting for? Let's add some sugar!
- Apple slices
- Dried apricots
- Orange slices
- Candied citrus peel
- Jams, preserves & fruit spreads
- Chocolate covered pretzels
- White chocolate dipped raisins
- Dark chocolate almonds
These are going to be the items that don't really fit into either of the previous two columns. Things like breads, crackers, nuts and possibly even dips. They're there to provide a balance between the intensity of the sweet and the salty.
- Baguette slices
- Cloud bread
- Naan or flatbread
- White bean dip
Speaking of cured meats... have you seen our new Smoky Bacon candle?