Hors d'oeuvres

Charcuterie Boards 101

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Charcuterie boards are a perfect way to impress guests when having a shindig whether it’s chill and casual or sophisticated. What makes these boards so much fun and a popular item found at modern-day parties is the simplicity and opportunity to create amazing spreads in just minutes.

 

Before we get started, how in the heck do we even pronounce “charcuterie” and what in the world does it mean? The correct pronunciation is [shahr-koo-tuh-ree] and it is the term used to describe preparing often cured or smoked meats such as ham, salami, and prosciutto (Italian cured ham.)

 

Now that we’ve covered the technical business, let’s discuss how I created a super simple board in less than 10 minutes with a budget of $15!

The greatest aspect of charcuterie boards is typically the board or tray itself. I found a really nice marble cheese tray at my local TJ Maxxx which cost under $15. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Cheese trays come in a variety of designs from large cutting boards, marble slabs, and even ceramic platters and can be found at stores like Walmart, Homegoods, TJ Maxxx (my favorite) and even your local dollar store. If you can’t find one, feel free to visit your local hardware store and see what you can find to create your unique charcuterie board.

After you’ve found the perfect platter or board, choose a variety of cured meats that’ll impress your guests. On my tray, I included hard salami that I rolled into cylinder shapes for easy serving and prosciutto wrapped in mozzarella cheese. More meat options would include pepperoni, soppressata (ground pork sausage) and cured ham.

 

Next, we add cheese- since cheese can get expensive, especially depending on your location, I chose a quick and easy option of pre-sliced Colby jack cheese and my absolute favorite- Boursin Cheese which is just Gournay cheese with garlic, parsley, and chives. Both cheese options cost less than $6 which was good enough for me! However, if you’re looking to broaden your cheese selections, try Brie, Gouda, Mozzarella, Blue Cheese, and Provolone.

 

Your cheese and meats must be accompanied with a great cracker and luckily this doesn’t have to become a search for the fanciest cracker you can find. Kroger’s Private Selection brands carry my favorite cracker option- Peppercorn and Poppyseed Water Crisps for less than $2. You can keep your board simple with Ritz crackers or even try crisp bread like baked Italian bread.

 

Depending on your guests and budget, there are many different options that can be used with your charcuterie board such as cured olives, antipasti, grilled artichokes, figs, jams and spreads, and even fruit. I chose to add a sweet component using fresh red grapes and strawberries. There are two of my favorite items to enjoy with fresh cheese and meats.

 

And just like that, you have a simple, yet beautiful charcuterie board waiting to be indulged by your guests (also here for personal enjoyment!) If you’re like me, wine is added to the picture whenever possible. Don’t forget to serve a nice wine selection and eat up!

 

 

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