Whether you’re a gourmet or just-okay chef, a charcuterie plate wows with minimal effort. The best part? All it takes is five ingredients.
Charcuterie Plate How-ToMeat
Grab a small selection of cured meats – prosciutto, salami, coppa, etc. We recommend choosing at least three options, but you can always add or subtract depending on serving size.

Cheese
Start with a soft cheese, like Brie. For texture play, add in a harder variety – cheddar or Gouda work great. Looking to step it up? Grab some Testun Occelli al Barolo (it’s covered in wine).

Sweet
To offset the savory flavors, you’ll want to work in something sweet. Think apples or plums, paired with year-round options like fig jam and dried fruit.

Salty
Don’t just rely on meat for saltiness. Grab something pickled or go with a selection of olives. Top off with your favorite nuts, and add some spicy mustard if you’re feeling fancy.

Bread
This is an area you don’t need to overthink. Just slice up a few pieces of ciabatta or lay out crackers and call it a day.

Place the sweet options next to the cheeses, with the salty extras adjacent to the meats. And faster than you can say “Charcuterie,” you’ve got a definite crowd-pleaser.

By Ashley Bell, Staff Writer

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July 22, 2015

 

The perfect cheese plate. Knowing how to assemble it – and match it with wine – is a hosting essential. So before you throw together a hodgepodge of grocery store cheeses for your next dinner party, peep these tips from David Seaton, former cheesemonger at Formaggio Kitchen and now the wine, cheese, and charcuterie director at Spoke Wine Bar, opening in February in Somerville, MA:

Cheese Plate

Choose Your Cheeses

  • Start with a simple, balanced mix of cheeses, such as a mild goat cheese, a buttery Brie, and an earthy, hard cheese like Gruyère.
  • “A ‘tasting portion’ of cheese should be in the realm of 3/4 of an ounce per person,” Seaton says, “but if you do have some left over, there are worse problems!”
  • Buy your cheese the day of or the day before your gathering and leave it out at room temperature (65 – 70 degrees). Serving cheese cold will “mute or mask the flavors,” but if you do have to refrigerate it, “make sure it is wrapped in butcher paper or cheese paper and keep it in the crisper section” to prevent it from drying out.

 
Add Your Extras 

  • Accoutrements should be “a backdrop to the cheese.” Seaton suggests offering a jam or marmalade, roasted mixed nuts, and fresh or dried fruit for texture and flavor. As for the vehicle? Bread and crackers “are both pretty neutral, so you won’t do much harm even choosing a seeded bread.”
  • When it comes to cured meats, the occasion is king: “If you’re having a formal gathering, charcuterie should be on a separate platter. If you have guests coming over to watch the hockey game or Golden Globes, do what you want.”
  • Serve your cheese on a wooden cheese board for a rustic appearance, or make your own cheese plate.

 
Continue reading “Assemble a Party-Ready Cheese Plate” »

January 16, 2013