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How to Build a Charcuterie Board

Created April 24, 2017
What is charcuterie? How do you even pronounce it? Wonder no more! Get ready to become an expert while you explore charcuterie recipes inspired by world cuisine.


You’ve probably seen them on trendy restaurant menus and party appetizer tables everywhere. Charcuterie boards: the perfect mix of cured meats, rich cheeses and tangy pickles in bite-sized portions. If you’re new to the wonders of the charcuterie board, we’re here to give you all the details on this fabulous food trend. We’ll cover the basics of a charcuterie board (including how to pronounce it) so you can order with confidence the next time you’re at a restaurant or build one of your own at home. We’ll even give you some tips on how to create charcuterie boards inspired by cuisines from around the world. Let’s get started!

What is Charcuterie? And How Do You Pronounce It?

First things first, how do you pronounce charcuterie? Simple: Shahr-Koo-Tuh-Ree. It just rolls right off the tongue. Now that you’ve mastered the pronunciation, let’s dive into the meat (pun intended) of it all.

Just what is charcuterie? French in origin, charcuterie is a style of cooking that is used to preserve meats through methods like salt curing, brining and fermenting. The results are delicious meat products like bacon, ham, sausage, terrines, pates, galantine and roulade, just to name a few. Even though we now have refrigerators to preserve our meats, charcuterie is still a popular method because of the flavor it imparts on meat. Today, most charcuterie boards feature a mix of these cured meats, along with spreads, cheeses and pickles.

What to Include in a Charcuterie Board

Variety is the key to a good charcuterie board, so mix and match textures and flavors. Place slices of hard salami alongside delicate, paper-thin prosciutto. Include smooth pâtés and snappy sausages, as well as soft and hard cheeses. And don’t be afraid of bolder cheeses, like blue cheese. (The stinkier, the better.)

Most importantly, don’t forget the vegetables. There are a lot of rich, fatty flavors so include acidic, tangy, bites of pickled vegetables, olives and mustards to cut through the richness. Add dried fruit and nuts for more flavor and texture contrast. And finally, round out the board with slices of crusty bread and/or crackers.

4 Charcuterie Board Ideas Inspired by World Cuisines

Now that we’ve got the basics down, where do we go from here? Go global! Find inspiration from around the world, focusing on specific cuisines for your next charcuterie board adventure.

British Charcuterie Board


When you think charcuterie, you may not think of our neighbors across the pond. But trust us, there’s plenty of amazing items to include on a British charcuterie board. Great Britain is proving to be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to cured meats and other artisanal foods thanks in part to their high standards of meat production. While the styles of meats you can include (salami, pancetta and bresola) are similar to other charcuterie boards, the key is to find ingredients sourced from Great Britain. Include slices of blood pudding, and British cheeses like a double Gloucester or Stilton. Add some pickled onions, apple slices and a dab of Branston Original for variety. Then wash it all down with British pub ale.

Spanish Charcuterie Board


Spain is famous for tapas, so a Spanish-inspired charcuterie board filled with salty, savory bites makes perfect sense. For a Spanish twist, include jamón (Spanish ham) and chorizo. Add some olives, and quince paste, along with Manchego cheese and Marcona almonds. Pair with a dry red Spanish wine for the ultimate gourmet experience.

Italian Charcuterie Board


When it comes to meat, Italy doesn’t mess around. To build a beautiful Italian charcuterie board, look to their wide array of cured meats, called salumi. Ranging in fattiness, thickness and flavor, you’ll want to try all the heavy hitters like mortadella, prosciutto, capicola, lardo, salami and spreadable ‘nduja. Include olives, marinated artichoke hearts, pepperoncini, cubed pecorino cheese, a soft ricotta and roasted red peppers. And to drink, aair a light, sparkling Italian wine like Prosecco to balance the heaviness of the meat.

German Charcuterie Board


A German charcuterie board wouldn’t be German without a lot of hearty ingredients. German ham, liverwurst (liver sausage) and Mettwurst (a strongly flavored pork sausage) are a must. Add in contrasting flavors like tangy sauerkraut, pickled beets and spicy mustard, and finish with slices of dark rye bread. And of course, don’t forget plenty of German beer! 

Now that you’ve got the basics on charcuterie boards, get creative. Peruse your local deli for your favorite meats, slice up the finest cheeses you can find, pick out plenty of pickles, and build your own charcuterie board for a perfect party plate or gourmet snack!

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