Learn How to Make This Seasons’ Most Popular Food Trend
If you’ve been on social media, you’ve probably seen the newest food trend --charcuterie boards. Its fashionability has been well-documented by food bloggers. It’s even spilled over into everyday kitchens, with an increasing number of at-home chefs creating their own compilations of finger foods. That’s because making your own charcuterie board is actually super easy—so easy, we’re going to teach you how, right now!
All you need to start is a theme around which to choose ingredients -- a holiday, a special event, or even a time of day. For us, we decided to use a season as the inspiration for our board. So, since spring has officially sprung, we’re sharing our Texas-inspired SPRING charcuterie board.
WHAT IS CHARCUTERIE?
But wait! For those of you who might feel a little embarrassed to ask, ‘What’s a charcuterie board?’, we’ll explain. You probably have seen one before but didn’t quite know its name. A charcuterie board (pronounced "shahr-ku-tuh-ree") is essentially a delicious smorgasbord of meats, cheeses, bread, pickled veggies, fresh or dried fruit, veggies, and nuts, decoratively laid out for continuous grazing.
Charcuterie boards are a French creation that have been adapted and modified throughout various parts of the world. In France, their boards mostly contain a variety of pork products. In fact, the word ‘charcuterie’ translates to ‘pork-butcher shop’. So, a truly authentic charcuterie board contains mostly pork-based meats, such as pâté, cured ham, or mortadella. But, Americanized charcuterie boards have been adapted to include other components like cheeses, crackers, fruits, nuts, and even various dips. Our spring-inspired charcuterie board will most definitely fall in line with this more modern adaptation.
BALANCE IS KEY
Now, the key to creating a truly phenomenal spread is to have a balance of tastes and textures --sweet and salty, chewy and crunchy, savvy and bright, and so on. This can be accomplished by breaking down these flavors into food categories like sweets, meats, cheese, crackers, fruits & jams. The balance of flavors make charcuterie boards excellent fruitcake pairings. We like to start with sweets...
HOW TO BUILD A CHARCUTERIE BOARD
SWEETS: We recommend slices of our DeLuxe® Fruitcake or Texas Pecan Cakes. Because our fruitcakes are packed full of the types of nuts and fruit you might typically find in a charcuterie board, a couple of slices of our DeLuxe® is the perfect fruitcake pairing for just about any spread.
For tips on how to best slice our cakes, watch our slicing video found here!
MEATS: As the cake’s salty counterpart, we recommend a variety of cured and uncured meats, such as prosciutto, uncured soppressata, and hard salami. With the addition of these salty meats, your board will have both depths of flavor and color. For a delectable selection, check out New Braunfels Smokehouse.
CHEESE: We recommend a variety of both hard and soft cheese. Softer cheeses, such as brie or fresh mozzarella, provide a rich creaminess that won’t overpower the palate. While harder cheeses, like sharp cheddar and gouda, provide a twangy bite and depth that’ll help balance the sweetness of the jams and cakes.
For a variety of Texas-made cheeses, check out Antonelli’s Cheese Shop.
CRACKERS: Ahhhh, the cracker. A humble vehicle for dips and cheeses, but a vital component to your board nonetheless! Upon what else can you stack and snack? We recommend a variety for a texture-rific experience --butter crackers, rye chips, sesame crackers, rice chips, and dried-fruit-filled crisps.
FRUITS, SPREADS, & NUTS: We suggest a variety of fresh and dried fruit. Fresh fruits like papaya and cherries offer a tangy brightness that perfectly lightens up your board --Just don’t forget to pit those cherries first! As for dried fruit, try dried pineapples, apricots, and golden raisins. Chewy and full of flavor, these dried fruits are basically nature’s candy. As for your nuts and spreads, we recommend roasted pecans, strawberry preserves, and a touch of honey.
QUESTION - Where can I find all these ingredients?
ANSWER - Most all these ingredients can be found at your local grocery store. For Texas natives, we recommend H-E-B. They’ve been proudly serving Texas since 1905 and have everything you need to build the perfect board. You can even order online and have it delivered to your doorstep!
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
So, you have all your ingredients. Now what? --Now, it’s time to put it all together.
Step 1 - Pick Your Platter
Really any large serving platter or cutting board will do. If this is your first time making a charcuterie board, we recommend a tray with a raised edge. This way none of your ingredients will fall off the sides. Don’t stress about how decorative the board should be. Remember! --It’s going to be buried under a mountain of food.
Step 2 - Gather Your Ramekins
Gather a couple of ramekins and place those on your tray. These will hold your more liquid ingredients or smaller ingredients that may get lost in the shuffle --your honey, jams, nuts, and raisins. If you don’t have any ramekins, any shallow cup or bowl will do.
Step 3 - Work Bigger to Smaller
Around your ramekins, begin adding your larger ingredients --your fruitcake slices, pecan cake slices, and your brie. Next, add your medium-sized ingredients --crackers, cubes of cheese, and cuts of meat. Finally, fill in any open spaces with your smallest ingredients --like your dried and fresh fruits.
Step 4 - Stand Back and Admire Your Masterpiece
Stand back and look at the food magic you’ve made. Maybe even take a photo or two, because those Instagram foodies have nothing on you! You didn’t even realize till today what a spectacular food artist you were. All you needed was a little guidance. We’re glad we were able to help you unlock your new hidden talent.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER IS...
The most important thing to remember is, there’s no right or wrong way to make your board. If you like the way it looks and you like the way it tastes, you did it right! There’s no real rhyme or reason. Seriously, ANYONE can do it.