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Charcuterie Board
Charcuterie Board

Our story starts in 15th- century France when Charcuterie was the french word for a pork butcher shop. The pork products sold were salted and smoked to preserve the meat. Thus the original use of the term was a plate of only meats that were salted or dry-cured such as salami. But today the term is used for a large spectrum of food items that can go on a decorative board that is typically served at a party or restaurant.

How to Start Building a Charcuterie Board.

When buying items for a board it is important to think of your 3 main factors: variety, taste and texture. This isn’t a simple food plate, you should think about the sensory experience that the food will be providing.

Variety, taste and texture come from adding many different types of food such as sweet, salty, crunchy, fatty, savory, carb rich, pickled and brined.

A simple way to build a board is to find your “anchors” the item or items that you will have that take up the most room on the board. Typically, the anchor of a board will be your cheeses.

When picking cheese, you will have three types to choose from: spreadable, soft and hard. In those options there are more and less potent flavors. Think of the variety that you can include. Your board size will help when deciding how many options to include.

Classically the cheeses that you will see on a board are: Manchego, Gouda, Brie, Cheddar and Goat Cheese. All of these cheeses have drastically different profiles, keeping your board interesting.

Manchego originates from the La Mancha region of Spain. It is a firm sheep's milk cheese with a tangy, nutty, grassy flavors. Manchego pairs well with sweet or savory crackers, thinly sliced serrano ham, olives, almonds, walnuts and honey. Pair a fruity red Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir with this cheese.

Gouda is a semi-hard cow’s milk cheese that originates in the Netherlands. This cheese has a nutty, buttery taste with caramel notes, it’s a perfect mild cheese for your party. The pairings for Gouda are quality bread, fresh grapes, sliced apples (granny smith can add a good tang), pears and dried apricots. The wines that will pair nicely with gouda are Pinot Grigio or a Riesling and possible a deep flavored Merlot.

Brie is a lovely, creamy cheese that is popular in France. The flavor is rich and buttery. Brie can be baked for cheese-aholic heaven or served at room temperature. Spread on bread, dip crackers or sliced red apples. Pour honey or fig jam for a real sweet and creamy treat. The sky’s the limit when it comes to brie.

Cheddar originates from a community in Somerset, England, named Cheddar Village. The profile of this cheese is hard with a nutty sharp taste. This is a well known cheese and would be a favorable addition if you have guests that are a little less adventurous. White cheddar is excellent when paired with apple slices (Red or Fuji), pears and strawberries. The orange version is great on crackers (whole wheat or sesame), or slices of meat (salami or pepperoni).

Goat cheese is definitely a hit or miss for some people, so you might consider purchasing a small quantity. Goat cheese has a mild pungent tangy and sweet profile. It typically comes mixed with herbs and/or fruit. This cheese is versatile and pairs well with any of the items you will have your board. Use this cheese as an option to try all of your pairing you have on the board.

Now that you have your anchors chosen, add the meats of your choice, goodies (breads, crackers, fruit, olives, etc) and decorations, then assemble to your heart's content. Charcuterie boards started out with just meat and evolved to include cheeses but truly you can make it your own. In our current culture you can place any food decoratively on a surface and it can be considered a charcuterie board. Treat your board like a centerpiece at your next gathering. Show off your tasty creation and ENJOY!

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Bank of England Mortgage is a division of Bank of England. NMLS# 418481. Bank of England Mortgage is an Equal Housing Lender. Member FDIC. For informational purposes only. Results may vary.

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