This article was published on November 20th, 2014
This ain’t no cheese and cracker party. Those days are long over!
One of the hottest trends in entertaining is a charcuterie platter. Charcuterie is a selection of meats and cheeses served on a platter, and are ideal for social settings like cocktail parties or intimate gatherings because it offers a wide-variety of options for guests. Deep, rich, red wines best accompany charcuterie platters.
Originally called a peasants buffet, charcuterie platters are best when there is a wide selection and variety of options for guests to choose from. Typically, charcuterie is served on food-safe wooden boards, slate, or other large serving dishes, with accouterments either on the side or served separately in small dishes. Take your entertaining to an authentic, rustic and creative level by using butcher paper as a tablecloth.
There are eight key elements to a charcuterie platter: air-dried meats, sausage, pâté, cheeses, bread, fruit, condiments/spreads, and accompaniments. It’s best to prepare two to three ounces of meat per person. Meat should be served sliced or individually portioned. Cheese should be slices or chunked and served at room temperature. Food can be prepared earlier in the day and refrigerated, but should not be left out for more than two hours or else it will spoil.
When setting up for the evening, it’s important to include forks, knives and spoons for guests to serve from the platters. Each guest should have his or her own plate, fork, knife and napkin.
To really amaze your guests, and to make the most impressive feast, here are the top items you should incorporate into your fabulous charcuterie platter. Most of these items are available through your local grocery store.
- Chorizo sausage
- Pâté de champagne
- Aged cheddar
- Sliced baguette, breadsticks, flatbread and wafer crackers
- Stone-ground Dijon mustard
- Dried apricots
- Dried cranberries
- Blueberry preserves
- Mediterranean olives
- Cornichon pickles