Charcuterie boards are a prime example of indulgence. When a board is set in front of you laden with bites of varying textures and flavors, it’s hard to pick where to start! Do I want a bite of that soft cheese with the fig preserves or the spicy elk sausage? Would it be too much to combine all three? It’s a choose your own adventure situation.
When I want to sit back and trust the chef to make the selections, I opt for Gather or venture to Spur in Teton Village. But when I want to compose my own, Local or Bin22 are the places I can count on. A Wisconsin girl at heart, Bin22 has my favorite cheese: the Drunken Goat, but Local boasts an equally crave-able pheasant sausage.
What if you could create your own at home? Now that’s an adventure I’ve yet to dip my toes into. Fortunately, Angela Moschetta, of Sweets & Cheese in Park City, sat down with the Dishing team to give the lay of the land when it comes to composing your own charcuterie boards:
- Cheese knives
- Small bowls
- Wood serving board, marble slab or decorative platter *Tip: a board with a lip will keep those nuts and grapes from going astray
1. Know your audience: Know how many people you’re serving, and whether the board is acting as an appetizer or main event. Consider food allergies and picky eaters.
2. Start with the cheese: Use the experts. If you’re set on a few cheeses you really like, start there, but then consult the folks at the grocer. “Stick to a region, like France or northern Europe or America,” Moschetta says. Then mix it up with hard and soft cheeses, and throw in one cheese that is more pungent. *Tip: For a small platter, three cheeses is plenty. For larger platters, opt for four to six.
3. Add the meat: Mix up the textures and flavors. Maybe a soft trout pate with a firm, curerd salami. Try to balance smoky, spicy sausage with buttery, soft prosciutto. Meats come in a variety of shapes too, so consider that. That’s where your board really starts to resemble art- thinly sliced sausage folded into triangles, others rolled into cylinders and a loose, pillowy pile of paper-thin prosciutto. Think local, regional flavors and let them shine.
4. Choose carbs: From a crusty baguette to water crackers, the options here may seem just as endless. So include both because Moschetta says, “They add texture with less flavor, so they aren’t going to compete with your meat or cheese.” Once those basics are covered, add something a little different, like a cracker with seeds.
5. Pick your pickles: Introduce a savory and acidic element to the tray with briny pickles, cornichons, mustards and olives. Get creative and follow your personal preferences when it comes to choosing your pickled items. These items complement your meat selection while adding pops of color.
6. Finish with sweets: Round it out with sweet flavors from fruits, honey and jam. “Preserves and jams add some color and sweetness,” Moschetta notes. Raspberries and blackberries are classic cheese companions, but you can add crunch and texture with nuts, like salted pistachios and smoky almonds.