If you don’t live in a big city, where there are thousands of reliable Yelpers and food critics, you begin to learn very quickly that ‘word of mouth’ is everything! Where we live there are critically acclaimed restaurants that make the news, but personal recommendations still rule. That is exactly how we found our new favorite Italian Butcher, and gave me the inspiration to create this beautiful appetizer plate! Join me as I show you How to Build a Savory Winter Charcuterie Board!
What is a Charcuterie Board?
A charcuterie board is simply a collection of smoked or cured meats, fish, or even patés. To that is added an array of cheeses, fruits, pickled vegetables, and mustards. Sweet additions like fine chocolate, jams, preserves, or dried fruits are also a great match up, and help bring a contrast to more fat-heavy ingredients. Served with your favorite rustic crackers or crusty bread, you’ve put together a marvelous (and easy!) sweet & savory appetizer platter. This is truly one of the easiest holiday appetizer ideas!
What meats should be included on a holiday charcuterie board?
This is the golden question, and it lets me talk a little more about a true gem, Corsello Butcheria, located in Easthampton. We were told by a friend (and we have since passed the recommendation on to many many more friends!) that this was a must stop for fine meats. Boy, was this a spot on suggestion (that’s not sponsored – it’s my frank opinion)! Corsello Butcheria is a family owned business run by Vincent Corsello that has already earned a dedicated group of patrons. In an area that touts it’s farm-to-table street cred, Corsello’s goes above and beyond!
With a strong connection to the traditional, whole animal philosophy, and insight borne from markets in Italy, Corsello aims to replicate a truly special meat-buying experience. They only use locally raised animals in their shop, and create amazingly delicious recipes in the traditional Italian style. After my husband came home gleefully laden with savory treats, I just had to create a charcuterie board for the holidays! Their cured meats knocked my socks off, and I chose to use Corsello Butcheria’s smoked beef sausages, prosciutto, heritage bacon, and salumi on my special holiday grazing board.
Which cheese and fruit pairings work best for this Winter charcuterie board?
I chose a gorgeous medium-hard Manchego (Spanish sheep’s milk) cheese, as well as a lovely nutty aged Artigiano (mixed culture) hard cheese. They paired beautifully with the salty meats and selection of fresh & dried fruits. If softer cheeses are more your liking, a medium blue cheese, young cheddar, or soft brie would be a wonderful addition as well. Fruits that work extremely well for a holiday charcuterie platter are those that have a balance between tart and sweet. Blackberries, raspberries, and grapes are wonderful, as are crisp pears, and even fresh clementines! They offset the creaminess of the cheeses, and bring bright fresh flavor to your appetizer plate.
Dried fruits like figs, dates, cherries, and apricots are also a great textural element that serve for that sweet component. They also work as “filler” for the gaps between the larger items on the plate! I’ve also decided to feature some of my leftover cranberry sauce, sweetened with maple syrup, as a tart addition.
Want to create a vegetarian Christmas board? Just ignore the first section and start with the cheese!
Make sure to include vinegary elements on your board as well. Things like pepperoncini peppers bring a bit of sour and spice to cut through all of the savory selections. Whole grain or Dijon mustard, aged balsamic vinegar, and fig jam are traditional accompaniments to all of the meats and cheeses. I like to garnish my holiday charcuterie boards with fresh rosemary for an added aromatic touch!
You could easily stay gluten free and just omit the bread, with a protein heavy appetizer like this, but I like to go all out during the holidays! A sturdy sourdough or French baguette is perfect, as are Italian Croccantini (little flat-extra crispy crackers). For other crunchy bits, I like to turn to raw and roasted nuts like pecans, almonds, or cashews.
How to plate a charcuterie board…
First, find a large platter or cutting board. You want to choose something fairly heavy to hold all of your delicious choices! Decide on one or two spreads – here I used Cranberry Sauce & Dijon mustard – and arrange in two small bowls. Add a small selection of something pickled to the plate as well.
Place the bowls on the platter and then add your cheese choices. Begin to roll or fold your meats and lay them out fairly close to the cheeses. Next, fill in the gaps with berries, fruits, dried fruits and nuts. Get wild! These grazing boards are super flexible and showcase you creativity!
As you begin to fill the plate, simply add more or less proteins or fruits to fill in the holes, and don’t forget to add small touches of something sweet like chocolate! Place a few fresh herbs to brighten up the plate, and you have a fantastic mix & match appetizer for you and your guests!
Need more appetizer inspiration? Visit my whole Appetizer Page!
Savory Winter Charcuterie Board Idea
2-3 cured meats (I used bacon, salumi, prosciutto and smoked beef sausage)
2-3 cheeses (I used a Spanish manchego and an Italian artigano)
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup cranberry sauce
1/4 cup pepperoncini peppers
1/2 cup fresh blackberries
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup dried figs
1/3 cup dried dates
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup raw pecan halves
4-6 dark chocolate squares
fresh rosemary sprigs
crust bread and crackers.
Using a large platter, arrange your bowls of condiments, peppers, and blocks of cheese.
Fold or roll your meats and add to the plate. Fill in the gaps with a mix of dried fruits, fresh berries, nuts, clementines and chocolate. Think big and bountiful!
Garnish with fresh herbs.
How to Build a Savory Winter Charcuterie Board
- 2-3 cured meats I used bacon, salumi, prosciutto and smoked beef sausage
- 2-3 cheeses I used a Spanish manchego and an Italian artigano
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/3 cup cranberry sauce
- 1/4 cup pepperoncini peppers
- 1/2 cup fresh blackberries
- 1/4 cup dried cherries
- 1/3 cup dried figs
- 1/3 cup dried dates
- 1/2 cup dried apricots
- 1/2 cup raw pecan halves
- 4-6 dark chocolate squares
- 1-2 clementines
- fresh rosemary sprigs
- crust bread and crackers.
- Using a large platter, arrange your bowls of condiments, peppers, and blocks of cheese.
- Fold or roll your meats and add to the plate. Fill in the gaps with a mix of dried fruits, fresh berries, nuts, clementines and chocolate. Think big and bountiful!
- Garnish with fresh herbs.
How to Build a Savory Winter Charcuterie Board! by straighttothehipsbaby on Jumprope.