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Elements of the perfect charcuterie board

Charcuterie board

Grab your ingredients from Camberwell to create a delicious night in.

Charcuterie is a French word for any cooked, dried or cured meat. All cultures preserve meat, yet the French are notable for their methods of curing meats. A charcuterie board is a collection of meats and cheeses that are laid out for that perfect appetiser. Ideal for when you are dining in, there are no hard and fast rules concerning the layout, and you can mix it up according to your guests’ tastes.

The board needs to be of sufficient size to accommodate the food, so make sure you have that covered. When building a charcuterie board, presentation is everything, so spend some time thinking about your arrangement.

Nuts and dried fruits

These are great palate cleansers in between cheese and meat samplings. They also add interesting textures to the board. Choose from:

  • Dried apricots
  • Dried prunes
  • Dried dates
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Cashews
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds

Find quality dried fruit and organic nuts at The Source Bulk Foods and the Camberwell Fresh Food Market.

Meats

The main attraction of any charcuterie board, you should include a variety of cured meats. Some common choices include:

  • Ham
  • Peppered salami
  • Pork and garlic sausage
  • Prosciutto
  • Capicola
  • Pancetta

Find sliced and cured meats at the Camberwell Fresh Food Market.

Fresh fruit

Fresh fruit is an essential part of any charcuterie board – it adds colour and the sweetness counteracts the saltiness from the meats and cheeses. Go for:

  • Sliced apple
  • Grapes
  • Sliced pear
  • Strawberries

Find fresh fruit at Evergrin Organics, the Camberwell Fresh Food Market and Coltivare.

Jams and preserves

Jams and preserves add the sweetness needed to balance the salty and savoury flavours on the board. Cranberry or apricot jam go well with cheeses, while spiced chutneys perfectly complement smoked meats.

Find jams and preserves at Tasmanian Grocer.

Bread and crackers

No charcuterie board would be complete without a selection of bread and crackers, with sliced baguette a popular choice. It is also nice to have something crunchy like rye crisps, plain crackers or breadsticks.

Find bread at Provence Artisan Bakers and crackers at Coles and Woolworths.

Cheeses

Ideally, you should have a combination of hard and soft cheeses, with mild to strong flavours. Choose from this list of favourites:

  • Fresh cheese – burrata
  • Soft cheese – camembert and brie
  • Semi-soft cheese – herbed gouda
  • Firm cheese – cheddar
  • Hard cheese – parmigiano reggiano
  • Veined cheese – gorgonzola

Find quality local and imported cheese at Junction Deli in the Camberwell Fresh Food Market.

Pickles and olives

Essential for that savoury taste, there are a variety of pickles that deserve a place on your board. Choose from plain, marinated or stuffed olives for variety. Opt for:

  • Gherkins
  • Olives
  • Marinated artichokes
  • Pickled onions
  • Pickled green beans

Find pickles and olives at Nick & Sue’s Gourmet Deli and Coltivare.

Presentation

We are all drawn to beautiful things, so make your charcuterie board appealing to the eye. With the right blend of colours, you can create an eye-catching display of succulent food. Be adventurous and try different layouts. The meats and cheeses should be the central focus, with the fruits and pickles positioned around them. Mix it up with the perfect condiments and your guests will really enjoy this sweet and savoury appetiser.

Find stylish serving platters and wooden boards at Minimax, Wheel & Barrow, Bed Bath N’ Table and Provincial Home Living.

July 18, 2016