The art of preparing and assembling an assortment of cured meats - alongside assorted cheeses, specialty food items, fruit, nuts and more - is often referred to as charcuterie - a French word pronounced shahr-ku-tuh-ree by most, although the correct French pronunciation is shar-coo-tree. The word charcuterie translates to “pork-butcher shop” and in France, the person who prepares the meat is called a Charcutier.
There are several different types and styles of charcuterie, and while the original French translation refers to pork, we - individuals and restaurant establishments - have become incredibly creative with a variety of different meats and accompaniments. The most common charcuterie meats are capicola, salami and prosciutto but any cured meat will do.
When it comes to serving charcuterie, presentation is everything. Natural wood boards are a popular option because it gives the charcuterie board a trendy and rustic look. If you want to create an upscale aesthetic, slate serving ware is an excellent option. An ideal charcuterie board has a good balance of flavors and textures and has items that contrast and complement each other - not only in taste but also in appeal. There’s nothing more appetizing than a well-prepared charcuterie board.
While charcuterie has been around for hundreds of years, more and more restaurants have added charcuterie to their menus and people are creating charcuterie at home. The artisanal qualities, the simplicity, the vibrant colors and the number of items you can put onto a board lend to the appeal and fun dining experience.