Charcuterie essentials

Although I know it’s probably not the healthiest cuisine, I am a real fan of cured meats and exotic cheeses and a variety of tastes ranging from creamy brie to sharp olives or baby dill pickles, to fruits, nuts and berries. I really like a charcuterie board. And between ourselves, I don’t feel like you should have to wait until you’re planning a party to make one.

Traditionally, charcuterie is the art of preparing and assembling cured and other meat products with an assortment of different accompaniments, such as crackers, fruit, cheese, and…sauces.

Now, specifically what sauces you include on your board depends on what kind of meat and other ingredients you’re serving, but when I’m preparing a board with meats like salami, prosciutto and pepperoni and a few bold, flavorful cheeses with cracker or toast points, I always include small bowls of Buzz Savories Honey Mustard and Spicy Beer Mustard. If I have goat cheese or bleu cheese on the board, I also include a bowl of Buzz Savories Artisanal Honey, which pairs nicely with many cheeses.

The point is you can make a charcuterie board be an appetizer platter for 20 or dinner for two. We often build a board with hummus and pita and a few vegetables like carrots and red bell pepper, add what cheese we have on hand, some olives, and some grapes or a sliced apple. Dinner on those nights is kind of like going to a party.

Here are a few other elements you might want to consider.

  • Choose your favorites, of course, but good cheeses to include are brie, smoked gouda, blue cheese and Pecorino Romano. A block of cream cheese with spicy jelly on top is also a nice touch.
  • Fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme add color and a pleasant smell.
  • Add finger fruits like raspberries, blueberries and grapes. Dried apricots and other dried fruits are also always appreciated.
  • For savory tastes, a variety of marinated olives and artichoke hearts work well.
  • Finish it off with a few different varieties of crackers or pita points or crostini.

Looking for something fun and creative for a party or tonight’s dinner? Build a charcuterie board.

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