4 tips to master the anatomy of the modern charcuterie board

With the current guidelines in the U.K. allowing six people to gather in private gardens, it’s finally time to reconcile with loved ones. Sharing delicious food is the age-old way of celebrating and preparing something special could be exactly what’s needed to bring everyone together.

According to the Pinterest Predictions for 2021 charcuterie boards are set to be a huge trend for what is sure to be a summer of family gatherings. These low maintenance sharing platters are getting an upgrade to include anything from breakfast to supper and catering to all dietary requirements.

The concept is also undergoing a total refresh in appearance as well as contents and Denby have put together the 4 elements you need to know to master the art of the modern charcuterie board.

The Theme

Charcuterie should have a diverse range of textures and flavours. A traditional board is usually made up of something sliced, like cured meats, something to slice such as bread or cheese, something spreadable, for example chutney and hummus and accents which are commonly olives and crudites. By keeping this formula in mind, you can devise hundreds of unique platter ideas.

Pinterest have suggested that there is a board for every mealtime. Try giving your brunch plans a low maintenance twist, with a toast and avocado board or a fresh fruit sharing platter. For celebratory events, why not try a themed board? Mexican is a popular choice, adding tortilla chips, a selection of dips and spiced cheeses. Keep in mind your board should have a variety of flavour and textures, that ideally complement each other.

The amount of food on each board depends on the purpose, if it’s a pre-meal starter around two bite size pieces of each component should be enough, however for the main event as many as five pieces is recommended. Don’t be afraid to mix and match sweet and savoury on the same board, traditionally this is encouraged. The board should be packed with flavour.

Accompaniments & Pairings

Wine is a key part of a traditional charcuterie board and the perfect pairing depends entirely on the elements of your board. Red wine is usually recommended as the acidity helps to cut through salty flavours like cured meats and spiced crackers. A fruity red is also the perfect addition to a vegetarian charcuterie board, specifically Pinot Noir as its mellow tannins are the perfect companion to a creamy cheese. However, upgrading this summer means experimenting with new flavour pairings. Choosing a cocktail to go alongside your board is unconventional but refreshing. A simple Aperol Spritz helps to enhance savoury flavours and cleanse the palate. Your drinks don’t need to be alcoholic though, creating a breakfast board lends itself to a delicious fruit smoothie to start the day.

Dietary requirements & Logistics

With so many people choosing to incorporate or cut out certain food groups, it’s important to take this into account when creating your sharing board. Opting for several smaller boards could be a feasible option. This ensures that meat and vegetarian options are not only separated during preparation but in presentation too. Using more than one board is particularly important in the case of allergies, make sure you check with your guests before the event about both the nature and severity of their allergy. With dangerous allergies like nuts, it may be best to store these in extra bowls or tubs away from the rest of the food to prevent any issues.

Traditionally a charcuterie board is square, to allow for the different elements to lie in all four corners of the board, this works for both vegetarian and original boards. However, if crudites are a major part of your offering, or the components are supposed to be eaten at the same time, a round serving tray could be a much more convenient alternative.

Presentation & Styling

Fresh ideas call for a fresh take on presentation, and there are unique styling options for all meal types. Honey may be a key element to your breakfast board, try using the jar as a centre piece, with sweet waffles and crepes surrounding it. To add an extra element of quirk, use a traditional honey dipper for serving. If a wooden board is too traditional for you, an extra-large, deep baking tin offers the same purpose, and can be filled with piping hot food such as a jacket potatoes and nachos for a hearty outdoor meal. If the gathering is a more luxurious event, think about colour scheme – a slate board and arranging the food in order of colour and size creates a sophisticated, photo worthy look. Charcuterie isn’t just for adults either, it can be a simple but effective children’s party snack. Use cookie cutters to theme your food, such as star shaped sandwiches or decorate the board using edible confetti and glitter. There is plenty of inspiration on Pinterest for you to choose from.

“Hosting a garden gathering is going to be at the forefront of our summer now that the rules are changing, and it might not be the most convenient option to prepare a sit-down meal for your guests. Charcuterie boards are an ingenious way to make up for lost time without the fuss. Having been around since the 15th Century, they’re due an upgrade and we love the idea of a different board for almost every meal – even a breakfast date.

Sharing food with loved ones has been a rarity for so long and the informality of a platter such as this allows time to catch up properly without the interruption of a mass clean up. It also gives you the option to prepare a light snack for a flying visit or a more substantial meal if you’re making a day of it. Pack the board with as much taste and texture as you can, being as adventurous or as traditional as you want, there are no rules.”

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