The Ultimate Charcuterie Board: 10 Types of Meat & Cheese You Must Add!
If you're looking for the perfect party appetizer, look no further than the charcuterie board. This popular dish is a great way to show off your culinary skills and impress your guests. But what meats should you include on your charcuterie board? We've put together a list of 10 must-try types of meat for your next board. From classic ham to bacon-wrapped chicken, there's something for everyone!
What are Charcuterie Boards?
Charcuterie boards are a selection of cured meats, cheeses, and other accompaniments, typically served as an appetizer or snack. The meats can range from prosciutto to salami to chorizo, while the cheeses can include varieties such as brie and goat cheese. Accompaniments often include olives, pickles, mustard, jam, nuts, and bread or crackers.
Charcuterie boards can be customized to suit individual tastes and dietary restrictions. Vegetarian options such as marinated artichokes or roasted peppers can be substituted for meat, while gluten-free crackers can be used for those with gluten sensitivities.
Five Different Types of Meats for Charcuterie Board
- Prosciutto: This salty, smooth meat is created by curing a pig's whole hind leg. Prosciutto is whole-muscle salumi that is served in paper-thin slices. Serve with fresh mozzarella or burrata, as well as a firm cheese like Parmesan. Or simply wrapped over fresh fruit slices like a melon.
- Rillettes: Rillettes are created from slow-cooked meat (such as pig or duck) shredded and combined with fat released during the cooking process and served cold, similar to pâté. It's just a shredded and cold confit. Rillettes smeared over toasted bread with cornichons for an acidity contrast and fresh herbs garnished.
- Mortadella: Unlike many other sausages, Mortadella is made from cooked, cured pig emulsified into a purée and blended with cubes of fat, peppercorns, pistachios, and other spices. On a charcuterie board or focaccia bread, it's presented sliced incredibly thin and folded into quarters.
- Spanish Chorizo: This seasoned pig hard salami differs from soft Mexican pork chorizo. The paprika gives it a vivid red hue, and it can be served thick or thinly sliced, combined with strong Spanish cheeses like Manchego or soft goat cheese.
- Jamón ibérico: The careful care of the animals and their food on farms made this premium ham expensive because not as much can be produced. Look for hand-sliced jambon - professional carvers slice it so that the fat is uniformly spread throughout the whole piece of Jamón ibérico ham.
Five Different Types of Cheese for the Charcuterie Board
- Triple Cream Brie Cheese: Serve with sliced baguette and simple crackers to complement the mild creamy flavor of triple cream brie. It also goes well with fruits like sliced apples, grapes, and berries. A delicious red wine like Pinot Noir or a dry white Sauvignon Blanc is the ideal accompaniment to your gathering, as are stout lager, fruity pilsner, or small-batch bourbon.
- Cheddar Cheese: Its flavor ranges from sweet and creamy to harsh and biting. The stronger the flavor, in general, the longer the cheddar has matured, and it works wonderfully well with sliced apples and pears, as well as fresh strawberries. You can go nuts with the sliced salami and pepperoni here. With a powerful Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon, pair an excellent sharp cheddar.
- Goat Cheese: It's a soft, spreadable cheese with no rind that's commonly log-shaped. It goes nicely with half-fresh figs, vibrant berries, sliced pears, salami, sliced bread with olives, crackers with fig or dried cranberries, whole walnuts, bell peppers, honey, and tomato jam. Pair a sharp goat cheese with a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, or Malbec.
- Gouda Cheese: This Dutch cheese is delicious with fresh grapes, sliced apples and pears, and dried Turkish apricots. Serve a young, light gouda cheese with a Pinot Grigio or Riesling, and an aged gouda with a richly flavored Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Chardonnay. With some excellent quality gouda, a dark rum drink or single malt scotch is never a bad drink to have handy.
- Manchego Cheese: Serve with sweet or savory Spanish crackers, thinly sliced serrano ham, olives, Marcona almonds, walnuts, and sweet spreads such as honey, quince jam, and marmalade. The Spanish sherry complements the manchego cheese well. It goes well with a juicy red Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir.
Overall, there are many delicious options for creating a charcuterie board. Experiment with different types of meats, aged cheeses, and accompaniments to find the perfect combination for your taste buds. And don't forget to pair it with some tasty drinks! Happy snacking!