If you have been online in the past couple years, you have probably heard of Charcuterie boards, sometimes called grazing boards. If you haven’t heard, a charcuterie board is a selection of cheeses, meats, crackers, and other tasty treats to accompany them. There are plenty of ways to put a board together, from the simple to the artistically detailed, and that means it can be intimidating for beginners. It doesn’t have to be! WF has some suggestions for making a charcuterie board just in time for you and your partner to enjoy it on Valentine’s Day.
Start with the Stars of the Show
Cheese and meat are arguably the stars of the board, so make sure to pick them with care. This website offers some tips for selecting the perfect cheeses. Put simply, try and pick from each of these categories: soft cheese (such as feta, goat cheese, or brie), semi-soft cheese (such as mozzarella and havarti), firm cheese (like asiago or gouda), aged cheese (like virtually any variety of cheddar) and a blue cheese. This will make sure that you have plenty of options, and luckily for you, in this day and age, most grocery stores have plentiful cheese selections that go beyond the typical sliced and American.
Meat is your next step, and an important one, since the name “charcuterie” actually comes from a French word regarding a certain type of cooking dedicated to meats. Cured meats are gonna be the way to go, and some of the best options are things like Spanish Chorizo, a spicy pork sausage, Prosciutto, an Italian variety of dried ham, and any type of Salami. If meat isn’t your thing, or you don’t want to deal with the potential unhealthiness of cured meat, feel free to skip this step.
A Crunchy Canvas for the Rest
What goes better with cheese than bread or crackers? You can pick your favorite, but great options for this category are crusty baguettes, pita chips, or even pretzel crisps. Nuts are also a delicious addition to any charcuterie board. Plain almonds, cashews, and walnuts are a perfect match, but there are also plenty of flavored nuts available. For some folks, a charcuterie board just wouldn’t be complete without the bite of a little vinegar or brine. Dill pickles or olive varieties are another worthy addition to your board.
Finding Balance: Adding Sour and Sweet To the Board
A charcuterie board is all about balance and matching, and that means you might want to have something sweet to balance all that salty, savory goodness. Honey and fruit spreads are a great addition to the board, as well as dried fruits (dried apricots and cherries are this author’s favorite!) and dark chocolate.
So, you have all the goodies you want to add to the board, but what now? If you’re feeling casual about it, you could just make good use of your plates, but if you want to live up to the name, you’re going to want to include a board, preferably a wooden or bamboo one. Cheese knives are also bound to be handy, so that you can cut your cheese without running to the kitchen.
There are plenty of beautiful arrangements out there, and there is no shortage of inspiration on Pinterest and google if that’s the route you want to take. However, it’s just as simple to arrange it yourself, by spreading all your ingredients around the board to complement one another, and even adding a sprig of rosemary if you’re feeling fancy.
The final step? Enjoy your delicious and decadent grazing board, which is a perfect companion whether you’re spending the night in with a date, hanging with friends, or even cozying up to a rom-com on your own. Happy Valentine’s Day!