For as long as I can remember, this delightful presentation of food to nibble from has been a staple at dinner parties, potlucks, and midnight wedding lunches. A place to gather, chat, and give your tastebuds new memories to ooh and aah over. But, what exactly is a charcuterie board?
From the French, meaning “food on a wooden plank”. Sure, that’s a fine definition, but it’s more than that. Truthfully, charcuterie is defined as “cooked, cured or processed meats, served with cheese, fruit, vegetables, breads or dips”. Or, it may refer to the type of shop that sells such foods. I have loved charcuterie for so long that I now think of it in a tiny, special category along with football.
Charcuterie Boards & Futbol (Ok, Soccer)
Aside from family, I have two loves in life: Charcuterie boards and football. By the way, I also think of football to be what most Canadians and Americans (almost exclusively) call soccer. Charcuterie boards, like football, have been underappreciated in North America.
And that’s exactly why their popularity is exploding right now. We finally realized that the entire rest of the world was right: football and charcuterie boards are awesome.
Togetherness. Your best friends, most precious family, shared laughter and warmest of days. Eating meals, pouring drinks, playing games and appreciating the most simple pleasures of life. This is what football and charcuterie hold in common.
Each brings together people to a common love, reverence and appreciation of basic human needs. We need it all the time, but little of the time do we put in the effort. Charcuterie boards make it knowingly announced (and subtly simple).
Americans and Canadians love watching a single star turn a game. NBA, NHL, NFL and CFL, we like to see a star shine so bright that it carries the weight of an entire championship. Like football, charcuterie boards are a shared stage we are not used to and have trouble understanding. Charcuterie boards often have six or more items on them that are equally compelling: is it the prosciutto? The Boursin cheese? The Hanes Hummus or the lemon-stuffed Greek olives? It’s a shared stage with staggering talent at every turn. It’s Shakespearean. Sorry to sound overly dramatic, but charcuterie boards are a fashion stage for food, like football is for athletic talent and chess is for brilliant minds. But there is especially good news right around the corner.
Anyone can make a charcuterie board worthy of a magazine cover. And you get to put whatever you want on it – just don’t bring anything but your A-Game. BBQ? Brisket, pulled pork? Yup. Your homemade guacamole that tu abuela taught you? Si! Cold-cut meats, savoury pickled brines, cheeses, exotic fruits – the combinations are endless. The charcuterie world is your oyster, and hey, you could add oysters to your board too! It’s nearly as fresh an untouched canvas as the brilliant green mid-June pitch of a World Cup match.
How do you Make a Charcuterie Board?
1.Let’s start with the serving plater.
The serving platter can be almost anything – the ostentatious gift you received for your wedding, Grandma’s old silver platter, a Winner’s find from six years ago. But, the traditional and expected backdrop seems to be a wooden plank. This can take many different forms, including a simple sand-and-stain piece of your favourite board from the garage (be sure to use a food friendly sealant!), to custom made pieces with epoxy rivers running through them.
2.What food do I put on a charcuterie board?
Get creative, but keep a theme. Typically, you add the following items:
There are cold meats such as prosciutto, salami, ham sausage (or bierwerst if you want to get fancy), brisket, or cooled BBQ.
Cheese can be…geeze…anything you like. Some of our favourites include Boursin, gouda, fresh parmesan, fresh mozzarella, keep the cheese dream alive.
Pickles & Dips
Pickled carrots, cucumbers, dill or beets can be added. If you don’t have those, try banana peppers with the right crackers. And, of course, Hanes Hummus. If it doesn’t have Hanes Hummus it’s basically hot dog slices on a stick (covered in ants and dirt). So we have compared charcuterie boards to soccer, Shakespeare and chess. Each of these things provides us the opportunity to transport, travel, dream, and perform action on the greatest stages that have ever existed for people. That’s why charcuterie boards are cool – the trend is not the charcuterie board itself, but the interaction between people that it creates. Make one today (it’s so easy) and discover a way to unite your friends that they (happily) did not see coming.
Can you Buy Pre-Made Charcuterie Boards?
Charcuterie boards and boxes are becoming ever increasingly popular in Canadian culture for very good reason. It’s a chance to show your guests that you have a discernible taste in foods and share them with your friends along with your favourite beverages. If you’re in Saskatoon check our our amazing friends from The Prairie Grazer who make custom charcuterie boxes for your office get together, picnic in the park, or that special date. And, they have great taste because they think our hummus is exceptional and pairs well with all of their other locally sourced treats.
Just looking around Saskatoon for locally sourced choices, your options to build a stunning charcuterie board that will impress your guests are nearly limitless.
Put your most creative self to work right in your hometown – starting with
Hanes Hummus, of course.