Have you ever been to a Christmas or New Year’s party where there was a charcuterie board? And then, as you cozied up to the various meats and cheeses, to the inevitable water crackers and precious slices of ever-so-slightly toasted baguette, weren’t you impressed by how cool and fashion-forward your hosts seemed?
Well, I have, and I was. And, frankly, nothing’s changed since then: if charcuterie boards were “in” last holiday season, then they’re all the rage this year. Here’s how to make one of your own that will remind your friends how “with it” you truly are.
Cervelat: A must on any board. Our Gourmet and Peppercoated Cervelats are both excellent options.
Lachsschinken: This center cut of pork loin is cured and smoked. Serve chilled and thinly sliced. In taste and mouthfeel, Lachsschinken resembles smoked lox–a rare and festive delicacy.
When in doubt, ask your local cheese purveyor what they recommend. I generally try to include both hard and soft cheeses on my boards, with pungent, creamy, and tangy options. Consider a smooth goat cheese; a triple-cream Brie; a good gorgonzola or blue; a nicely firm, sharp cheddar; or an aged Manchego. 3-4 options should do. Choose a few cheeses from a single region (we love the Alsace), or follow a more international theme. Most supermarkets carry a wide variety of cheeses from all over the world.
Put simply, you can’t have enough sliced baguette. Buy bread the day of and serve warm in a separate bowl or basket next to your board (so as not to crowd your charcuterie).
Try olives, a sprig of rosemary, bacon-wrapped dates (!), cornichons, our horseradish mustard, spiced nuts, a bit of good fig or apricot jam, dried cherries, or sliced persimmons. There’s no need to go too crazy, though—charcuterie boards are appealing in their simplicity, above all.
Adhere to a few high-quality items arranged on your largest wooden cutting board, then stand back in amazement as holiday-party hosting becomes easier than ever. But not before you’ve had your own fill of the goods, of course.