Who doesn't love a good charcuterie or cheese board? And whether it is served before a meal or to finish one off it's such a great way to make sure there is something for everyone at your party and also one of those things that you can easily make look fancy with limited time or resources. Pair cheeses and meats with savoury crackers and pickles or sweet fruits and preserves, or both.
Make sure you mix a variety of cheeses, so there is something for every taste including soft, hard, mild and strong flavours and maybe a washed rind for the more adventurous guest. Fail safe selections like a mature cheddar, a mild brie and a tangy blue are options everyone is likely to enjoy. Mixing cheeses of all shapes and sizes will help with the aesthetics of your board.
Mature cheeses should be served at room temperature so make sure to take it out of the fridge before serving. Cover with a damp cloth to prevent drying. Fresh cheeses like a burrata, should be served cool so take out of the fridge 10 min before serving.
Pro tip: Place baking paper down on your board to prevent permanent staining and make sure to cut in to your cheeses before serving so that your guests won't feel embarrassed to be the first to dig in!
These days we are fortunate enough to have an array of tasty, high quality options at our local supermarkets, delis and butchers. Long gone are the days of dry Cabanossi and slimy pressed hams.
Aim to balance a mix of flavours and textures to be paired with your cheeses and condiments. Savoury, spicy, dry and soft.
Soppressata has a nice, smoky, piquant flavour and a vibrant red colour that will look very pretty on your board. A good quality Prosciutto is always a winner, thinly sliced and almost melts in your mouth. Other dry-cured options that are often well liked by most are Coppa, Bresaola and Serrano. Add a tasty Mortadella for something slightly different, or why not through in a nice terrine or some pâté?
Serve your meats at room temperature to ensure no flavour is lacking.
FRUIT AND CONDIMENTS
What to serve with your meats and cheeses? Pairing flavours can be quite confusing, but as a rule most cheeses go well with sweet things like fresh or dried fruits, pastes and preserves and most savoury meat flavours are accentuated by more acidic, tangy flavours like pickles, olives, melons and other similar flavours. In saying that, the possibilities are endless so don't hold back. Nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, sultanas, fresh vegetables, quince paste and mustard are only a few ideas.
BREAD AND CRACKERS
Last but not least, the platform, the vessel to transport it all into your gob, your noble breads and crackers. This is another area where you shouldn't be afraid to experiment a little. Stray beyond the Jatz and Water Crackers and dare to try something different. Why not try a crusty sourdough, some crispy flat bread or some rye with nuts? Key is to keep it fairly neutral so that it doesn't over-power any other flavours.
SHOP THE LOOK