What is charcuterie?
The word 'charcuterie' is derived from the French term for flesh. We use charcuterie as a term to describe many styles of cured and cooked meats. Originally, the word was used in 15th century France to describe shops that sold pork products, including the pig's internal organs. The practice of salting meats to preserve them dates to ancient Rome. Before the nose to tail movement came into prominence, charcuterie makers were making use of the whole animal. Many types of charcuterie use cuts of the meat that would otherwise be wasted, These include cheeks, offal and bones for jelly.
A charcuterie board is a wonderful way to begin a dinner party or to be used for a casual lunch. In more simple terms, a charcuterie board is a ‘meat and cheese’ board made from cold cuts, cheeses and breads. Add olives, cornichons, pickled onions, dips, honey, figs and other accompaniments for a variety of taste and textures. Whether you’re putting together a board for two, or a huge full-length table one, an important part of assembling a charcuterie board is presentation. There are some artistic ways to roll up salami slices and drape prosciutto to make it look as inviting as possible. Try using little ramekins to hold olives and break up the meats with bunches of fresh grapes or figs sliced in half.
Charcuterie meats list
The most popular meats you will find on a charcuterie board include:
- Ham: try our delicious rare breed ham. Pickled and smoked for 8 hours for depth of flavour.
- Chicken liver pate: we make ours in-house with port and madeira, topped with clarified butter.
- Wagyu Pastrami: wagyu beef brisket that has been pickled then covered in our pastrami spice mix before being smoked for 8 hours.
- Prosciutto: we prefer only the best with San Daniele prosciutto from Friuli Venezia Giulia in Italy.
- Salami: we have a range of different salamis to suit your tastes. Select from red wine and pepper infused Milano; spicy chilli inferno; or garlic and fennel infused finocchiona.
- Terrine: our French-style duck terrine will be a great addition to your board.
- Mortadella: made from pistachios, bacon pieces, pepper and pork.
Charcuterie and cheese board
If you’re looking for more ideas to add to your charcuterie board, read on. The items listed below make for a lovely, well rounded addition to aperitivo hour.
- Zuni pickle - a thinly sliced pickled zucchini flavoured with mustard seeds and tumeric
- Marinated feta from Dreaming Goat Dairy - a tangy crumbly local goat’s cheese flavoured with olive oil, gerbs and garlic.
- Quickes Mature Cheddar - a robust hard cheese from Tasmania.
- L’Artisan Petit Rouge - a strong-flavoured, wash rind organic cheese made in Victoria.
- Ortiz anchovies - we find there is no better anchovy than Ortiz. Rich, savoury and best enjoyed on toasted bread.
- Fallwaser crispbreads - an essential for any charcuterie board.
A French style of charcuterie board is bound to impress and will take you back to the origins of this dish. Feature some French products like our paté, rillete and terrine on your board. Our house made chicken liver paté is a delicious taste of France from made locally in our Fitzroy kitchen. Made with port & madeira and topped with clarified butter, it is mouth wateringly delicious. Our pork rillette is made from pork shoulder, duck fat, garlic, rosemary and a range of other fresh herbs. It goes especially well on a slice of crusty bread with cornichons. We have two different terrines to choose between; duck & pistachio or chicken & tarragon. Our chicken terrine is subtly fragrant with tarragon whilst our duck option is made with duck, pork, white wine, pistachio, Madeira, onions, garlic & herbs.
Charcuterie Plate Ideas
Styling a charcuterie board is a true art that requires some time to curate. While it may seem easy to throw together some meats and cheeses on a board, why not go the extra mile and create something special to impress your guests. The trick to a well presented plate is to vary the colours and textures by using a variety of meat, cheeses and other fresh products. You should aim to incorporate sweet, savoury, salty and spicy foods on the board for a balanced plate. Read on for our charcuterie recipes, or steps to creating the perfect platter.
- The board: start assembling by finding the right board. Use a large wooden cutting board, marble slab or a ceramic platter to assemble the range of charcuterie. If you’ve only got a few guests coming, opt for a smaller board to ensure your offering still looks plentiful.
- Variety: the best platters offer a variety of different cured meats, salami & cheeses. Try a mix like our ham, prosciutto and mortadella as a start paired with cheddar, fetta and soft cheeses.
- Colour:mix up the pinks, reds, whites & yellows with some complementary additions on your board. Try plump green olives, marinated peppers, artichoke hearts and pickles. Make sure you don’t place the same colours next to each other, but mix the colours in between.
- Condiments: a great board offers delicious condiments like quince paste, jams and mustards to pair with your cheese & meat on slices of bread or crackers.
- Sweet: add a sweet element to your board with a mix of fresh and dried fruit. Try fresh grapes & berries or dried apricots.
- Texture: play with different food textures to further mix up your board.
To assemble your board, follow this technique. Begin with bowls by putting relish, preserves, mustards, or dips into small dishes and placing them on the board. Next, comes meat and cheese. Put the larger items like sliced charcuterie and blocks of cheese on the board by spreading them out rather than side by side next to each other. Add a mix of crackers and bread slices around the board. Fill in any gaps on your board with fresh or dried fruit for a pop of colour and texture. A well presented charcuterie board is a joy to see and enjoy.
Discover the very best charcuterie in Melbourne at Meatsmith. We make our own charcuterie products and only stock the highest quality products with all our meats sourced from small family-owned farms and producers with sustainable awareness. Shopping for charcuterie online is easy at Meatsmith. Simply browse our charcuterie selection and add your favourites to the cart. For any accompaniments to your board, take a look at our pantry, condiments and beverage collections. Proceed to the checkout where you can choose from either a store pickup or home delivery. We offer store pickup at our Fitzroy, Brighton and St Kilda butcher shops or home delivery to a wide range of suburbs in Victoria. Enjoy free delivery for orders over $100 if it is not possible to come into our stores. Find out more about our delivery areas here.