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Choosing and Using Your Charcuterie Plates

Charcuterie is a culinary term referring to a division of cooking devoted mainly to preparing prepared meat goods, like sausage, ham, bacon, salami, capres, sardines, grouse, and other fresh meats. The word ‘charcuterie’ is derived from the Latin ‘charqui’ which means roasted or smoked meat. Charcuterie uses different cooking techniques and methods to prepare the various types of meat. Dishes based on a specific region or cuisine are very popular, for example, in England, France and Spain, while in many American kitchens the term ‘charcuterie’ is used to refer to a particular style of cheese preparation.


Early Charcuterie was centered on making cured meats. Charcuterie is not an exact science; there are always exceptions but charcuterie has a reputation for being consistently good. In fact, charcuterie is one of the most popular ways to prepare the best tasting food around. Most people think that this type of food originated in the Renaissance in the Italy, where it was known as ‘pastrami’, the word for smoked meat. However, modern charcuterie is not smoke-based but rather a heat-based technique. Heat is used to help impart the flavor and tenderness into the meat products while letting them retain much of their structural integrity.

The heart of any Charcuterie Board is the collection of specialty items and cheeses that it represents. The best selling items on a charcuterie board are those made from the best cuts of meat, with their unique flavor and texture. Classic favorites include hams, pastrami, rackets and spareribs. Other items might include such delicacies as stroppled veal, foie gras, salmon fillets and salmon eggs or even goose and duck eggs.

The collection of specialty items on your charcuterie board represents your tastes and interests. Whether you have a fine dining restaurant experience or are just looking to host an appetizer party, having a wide range of items makes your Charcuterie Board a memorable one. When you select a recipe book or subscription to a cookery magazine, you can learn about the various ingredients, cuts and styles of meats that are available to you. By purchasing a book like this, you can be well on your way to developing your own favorite Charcuterie Board.

When looking for the perfect charcuterie platter, you have many options to choose from. From basic flatbreads to decadent desserts, there is a wide range of items to choose from that will delight your taste buds. For a fun and fancy dinner party, consider including fresh strawberries and blackberries in the mix as well as some blueberries and raspberries. For an everyday full of wholesome flavors, try serving an assortment of whole grain bread, baguettes and brie.

Along with fresh herbs and cheeses, you should include fresh herbs and spices in your Charcuterie Board. Spices add great flavor to any meats or vegetables and can also be used as garnish on appetizers and breads. For example, fresh Rosemary leaves can be sprinkled over some crackers or sliced thinly against the board for an herb-flavored appetizer. In addition, fresh Rosemary can be ground into a fine dust for use in muffins and grilled cheese.

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