The word “charcuterie” is French and refers to the dressed meats and meat dishes sold in a butcher shop. Today, this can mean any combination of meats, cheeses, crackers, and even fruits and vegetables. There are a few key factors, to create the ideal board for the summer.
The Vessel. A plate or platter will do just fine, but a sealed wooden board is even better. Specialty shops across NC carry handmade boards that are ideal for wedding and holiday gifts. Handwash these boards to increase their lifespan.
The Cheeses. Here, variety is important. 3 - 4 cheeses is usually the sweet spot (unless you’re feeding a crowd). Start with one aged cheese (like cheddar, gouda or gruyere), one soft cheese (like brie or camembert), one firm cheese (like manchego or parmesan), and if you have room for a 4th, look for a crumbly cheese (like blue or gorgonzola) to add texture to your board. We love locally sourced cheeses from Ashe County Cheese in West Jefferson, NC.
The Meats. We are partial to the NC-made San Giuseppe traditional or hot salami - pre-sliced thin to make it easier for guests to snack on. Or step it up a notch with their peppercorn-crusted variety. You can choose one, two, or more different types of meats - depending on the size of your board. If you’re working with a smaller board, don’t complicate things!
The Crackers. No charcuterie board is complete without Piedmont Pennies - the perfect all in one cracker and cheese snack - baked with love right here in North Carolina. Serve them in a decorative bowl to add height to your board or scatter them in the corners so they’re easily accessible to everyone. Serving both the Spicy Chipotle and the traditional? Use two different colored bowls, or create flags with paper and toothpicks to indicate the varieties (these flags are adorable stuck into the cheeses, too!). These will go quickly, so bring a backup bag to replenish your board as needed.
The Fruit/Veggies. For a little “pop of color” add olives, grapes in small clumps, thinly sliced apples, sugar snap peas, baby carrots or sliced celery. Add these last, and if your board is too crowded - serve them on the side.
Feeding a crowd? You can add spreads like homemade hummus or spicy red pepper jelly, and even something sweet like chocolate covered raisins or almonds. If you’re bringing your board to a gathering (especially one outside) make sure it’s relatively easy to move from your house to the party.
Depending on the size of the group, you can include cocktail napkins and/or app plates, a couple of spoons to serve the Pennies, and toothpicks for grazing. Don’t forget the cheese knives for the soft cheeses!
Share your creation! Take a picture and tag us @piedmontpennies so we can feature your gorgeous board on our social media.