Sharing a cheese and charcuterie board with guests is easily one of life’s finest pleasures. Charcuterie – from the French for “cooked meat” – encompasses all sorts of preserved meats, including salami, prosciutto, pate, and confits. Creating a charcuterie assortment is virtually impossible to get wrong.
When creating a board, have fun, experiment, and let whimsy be your guide! Start by selecting 3-5 cheeses of different textures and milks. Try one soft, one firm, one wild card, and one blue. Next, choose charcuterie items, like dry cured salami and a chunk of pâté. Third, choose accompaniments – something sweet (dried or fresh fruits), something nutty (plain or candied), something pickled or briny, a chutney, jam or honey, even sliced fresh cucumber or radishes. Top off with a crusty baguette and some wine, and you have a satisfying meal where every bite becomes an exploration of new flavor combinations. For best taste, let your cheeses and meats come to room temperature before serving.
Sara Adduci is a self-proclaimed cheese and charcuterie nerd. After falling for a two-year aged gouda in 2004, Sara started working in a cheese shop to support her addiction. She loves to share her passion by teaching pairing classes, curating cheese cases, and creating bountiful boards.
Sara recently took the helm of the cheese counter at Belmont Butchery in Carytown. This nose-to-tail butcher shop, opened in 2006 by Tanya Cauthen, boasts a fine selection of cut-to-order meats, house-made specialties, artisanal cheeses, wines, and a knowledgeable staff to help you find exactly what you need.
Caromont Farm Caciotta
This tender, fresh goat’s milk cheese is washed with nebbiolo wine vinegar as it ages for 2 months in Esmont, Virginia. Bright and twangy, with grassy, citrusy notes.
Quince & Apple Pear Mostarda
Made by a family-owned company in Wisconsin using pears, apples, and real mustard oil for a perfect balance of sweet heat. Especially good with stronger cheeses and all charcuterie.
This raw cow’s milk blue from Cascadia Creamery is aged in natural lava tubes in Washington state. Mild, rich and crumbly, with an earthy minerality.
This French, country style, pork and liver pâté, made in house at Belmont Butchery, is hearty, meaty and oh-so-satisfying.
Soft and gooey, this flavorful ash-ripened cow’s milk cheese hails from Boxcarr Handmade Cheese in Cedar Grove, N.C. The rind adds texture and flavor to complement the rich center.
Sparkenhoe Red Leicester
Annato, a natural colorant, gives this classic English cheese its shocking orange tint. Complex and savory, with a mellow sharpness, it is the only raw, cow’s milk Red Leicester made in the UK.
Made in Virginia at The Whole Ox, this garlic forward, dry-cured salame is inspired by those made in the south of France.