THE ART OF CHARCUTERIE: Sweet Dreams are Made of Cheese

Charcuterie (pronounced “shahr-ku-tuh-ree”) is a French word referring to the art of preparing and assembling cured meats and other meat products. However, with its growing popularity, many people use the term ‘charcuterie’ to describe a sharing or snacking board. Nowadays, anything is included, from an assortment of meats to different accompaniments, such as toast and crackers, fruit, cheese, pickles, and sauces. Charcuterie boards work especially well with crowds – the foods are finger-style yet filling and easy to snack on. A well laid out board can easily accommodate a food intolerance or preference, with meat on the one side and vegan products on the other. Guests cutting carbs can do so without any fuss; gluten-free diets work equally well. And they look spectacular!

The word ‘charcuterie’ originated in France, meaning ‘pork butcher shop’. The style of cooking, which involves cured meats, includes pork products such as; ham, sausage, bacon, and confit. The person that prepares the meat is called a Charcutier. While the original French translation refers to pork, modern charcuterie boards include many other types of food, such as duck, goose, chicken, cheese, even vegan cheeses, and meats.

Readers of British origin may wonder how a charcuterie board differs from a Ploughman’s Platter or Ploughman’s Lunch. This is a traditional British dish that features bread, cheese, and pickles. On occasion, they may include ham. Unlike A Ploughman’s Platter or Lunch, a charcuterie board’s traditional mandate is to feature meat with a strong leaning towards pork.

The art of the charcuterie board is in the detail of its elements, and it’s always best to mix flavours and textures. For instance, chewy salami pairs well with a rich and smooth pâté, while spicy chorizo complements sweet fruits. Also, be sure to add some colour – fruit and vegetables do this effectively, while also adding some height to the board.

To make the board multi-dimensional, breadsticks or vegetable sticks standing in a jar can be very attractive or a taller hunk of cheese can add visual appeal.

Due to their trendiness and popularity, charcuterie boards are available in many restaurants and stores. We have many at our fingertips. While some offer the ingredients to prepare our own, others have fully prepared boards ready to order.

La Jolie Cheese Shop in Aurora, “One of Ruralist’s 12 Great Ontario Cheese Shoppes” bring you selections that are sought by connoiseurs and lovers of fine cheeses alike, and those that represent the four corners of our world. For the cheese portion of your charcuterie board, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better selection or higher quality. In their pursuit of the finest, they also strive to harmonize with the seasons. One visit and you’ll be inspired to explore the world of cheese!

Grande Cheese in Richmond Hill will help you take your charcuterie board skills to the next level teaching you how to put together your own like a pro using the finest imported meats and homemade cheeses to match every season. They’ll walk you through all the steps of building an impressive board to leave your guests absolutely speechless – because they’ll be too busy digging into your delicious, homemade charcuterie board!

Nature’s Emporium in Newmarket love to share what they know about the value of the natural and the organic, including nitrate-free deli meats, traditionally raised without the use of growth-hormones or antibiotics. They offer top award winning natural and organic cheeses from fine local producers like Thornloe Cheeses, Cows Creamery and Alexis De Portneuf, to world renowned producers like Sartori (BellaVitano) and Beemster. All of their cheeses are sourced from animals raised ethically, free of growth hormones and antibiotics. If an organic and natural charcuterie board is what you’re after, this is the place.

Creating your own charcuterie board is simple and can add a great impact to your regular entertainment dishes. These days there are no rules, so be bold and give your board your signature style.

Whether for date-night, an accompaniment to a party, or even for a work-place meeting – charcuterie boards are flexible, beautiful, and certainly a fun and tasty addition to any meal.

La Jolie Cheese Shop, Aurora

Grande Cheese, Richmond Hill

Nature’s Emporium, Newmarket

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