How to Make a Creative Charcuterie Platter for Any Occasion
Making a DYI creative charcuterie platter is easier than it seems, not to mention the cost is a fraction of ready-made ones. All you need is a bit of imagination and research into the beneficiary’s tastes.
Select various flavours, textures and colours for your platter or board that will satisfy even the fussiest eaters.
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The beauty of a creative charcuterie platter is that it looks impressive and appetizing, so it should sort out fussiness. You also have the choice to include all groups of foods you desire, according to your lifestyle or specific diets.
Besides, it can make the centrepiece on any festive dinner table, be it Christmas or New Year’s, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, International Children’s Day, birthday and any other important day, not to mention a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner for two or a house party.
Anything goes, even a fancy weekday dinner when you don’t know what to cook and storm the fridge for open packs (still in date!) of cheese and meats.
Although humans have eaten cured meats for tens of thousands of years, the art of charcuterie is more related to Renaissance France. In modern times, charcuterie became increasingly popular worldwide because of its pleasant visual presentation and the fact that it permits using a large variety of ingredients at once.
What Type of Dish is Best For a Creative Charcuterie Platter?
A large round or oval porcelain platter or a bamboo board will do. A fancy board with accessories will make a better impression, of course, but a platter stored for ages somewhere in the cupboard it’s just fine for the job, too.
The porcelain platter I typically use is oval and 40 cm/16″ long. That counts as a “large” board that, when filled with goodies, sells for about £150, yet you can make it with under £10, and none will be the wiser!
A large platter easily feeds four people. Of course, you will need a few of them for parties, depending on how many guests you expect.
Ingredients for a Basic Board
Any charcuterie platter or board should contain a few essential ingredients you can work with to create a culinary masterpiece:
- cheese – include an assortment of flavours (salty, sweet, spicy, savoury) and textures (creamy, chewy, brittle, dense)
- meats – cured, cooked, smoked, paper-thin slices (prosciutto, ham) or thick slices (salamis)
- raw vegetables – include several colours and textures
- fruits and nuts – fresh/dried fruits; any nuts (check for nut allergy!)
- dips and spreads – jam, humous etc
- treats/sweets (optional) – depending on the occasion
What you choose to include on your charcuterie platter is as important as the presentation.
Firstly, I recommend using organic products from a source you trust or homemade (jam, humous, sausages).
For packed foods, check the expiring date. If the packs were already opened, make sure they still are in the recommended time frame for safe consumption.
How to Assemble Creatively the Charcuterie Platter
Use a clean, dry platter or board. Make sure you have enough room on the worktop for all the ingredients.
Start with washing, peeling and chopping the vegetables. Prepare the other ingredients that are okay at room temperature for longer (olives, nuts, fruits).
Always use labelled chopping boards when cutting foods to avoid cross-contamination.
Use the right slicer for the vegetables, according to the style you choose to cut them. For a skilled cook, a professional knife can sort it. For more design options and speed, I recommend using a multi-blade cutter.
Combine and position the basic ingredients to make them easily accessible to everybody at the table.
Given the plethora of tastes and textures, perhaps it is good to use flavour-free bread/crackers. I used fennel Taralli for this platter because I wanted to finish an open bag before it became soggy (moisture affects food quality, especially in a humid climate.) The combination of flavours was interesting, enhanced by the warm, sweet aroma of fennel seeds.
When you finish placing the vegetables and crackers on the platter, bring the cheese out of the fridge, slice or cut it into cubes and put it among the rest of the ingredients.
Continue with the meats. Use a meat labelled chopping board to slice or cut them as preferred and place them on the platter in an eye-pleasing manner.
Sprinkle dried fruits and chopped nuts over the platter. Optionally, add sweet treats that can make a dessert for this meal.
Serve immediately, paired with a wine of choice or cover the platter with cling film and keep it in the fridge if your guests haven’t arrived yet.
Use kitchen tongs or toothpicks (children, especially, would find it fun!) to fill your plate and enjoy!
Your creative charcuterie board looks epic and guaranteed will impress anyone partaking! Pair it with a glass of wine and bon appetite!
Creative Charcuterie Platter
- Labelled chopping boards
- Chef knife
- Large porcelain platter
- Serving plates
- 1 carrot organic, large
- 1 cucumber organic, large (or two small)
- 1 tomato organic, large
- 1½ bell pepper organic, optional
- 1 handful Nocellara olives or any other type
- 1 handful savoury Taralli or bread sticks, crackers, bread
- 150 g smoked bacon (kaiser ham) or any other ham
- 150 g spicy chorizo or any other sausage/salami
- 50 g cow cheese
- 50 g dense goat cheese
- 50 g sheep cheese
- 50 g soft cheese
- 2 tbsp apricot or strawberry jam organic
- 1 tbsp medium-hot mustard for meats optional
- 1 handful dried cranberries or any other dried/fresh fruit
- 1 handful chopped walnuts or any other nut
- Wash, peel and slice the vegetables. Use labelled boards for each ingredient group to avoid cross-contamination. For creativity, use a slicer with various blades.
- Combine and position the basic ingredients to make them easily accessible to everybody at the table.
- Bring the cheeses out of the fridge, cut/slice and add them creatively among the other ingredients.
- Slice the meats using a meat-labelled chopping board.
- For an eye-pleasing effect, either roll the slices or use a glass to create a flower-like salami (place overlapping slices on the rim, push the middle into the glass, then turn it upside-down and remove the piece gently to keep the shape)
- Sprinkle dried or fresh fruits and chopped nuts over the platter.
Cover photo credits Tye Doring, Unsplash.