By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician
Charcuterie shär-koo͞″tə-rē′ If you haven’t had the pleasure of enjoying a charcuterie, then I think it’s high time you do. Sounds fancy, doesn’t it? I’ve heard it’s the Lunchables of today however Charcuterie trumps Lunchables! They are similar in the fact that they comprise of small nibbles of meat and cheese but that’s where the similarities end. Charcuterie is easy to assemble, colorful, full of textures, flavors and just downright full of fun. They encourage grazing, talking, drinking and plenty of laughs in between. Just what we need after a couple of years of the ‘Vid.
Where did all this trending yumminess come from? The story goes that during the Roman Empire the process of curing meats to extend their “shelf-life” was invented. Did they have shelves back then? It was not until 15th Century France when Guilds of charcutier were created. Webrestaurant.com blog states that Charcutier is French for the cook who prepares the meat. These Guilds were established, and Charcuterie became the art of preparing and assembling salted, dried, and cured meats, and the rest is history.
Charcuteries of today have taken on a life of their own. They can be simple or an elaborate works of art. Trending searches on Google, Pinterest and even Aldi are promoting all sorts of themed charcuterie such as chocolate, pancake and seafood boards beyond the traditional cheese, meat, nuts, fruit, and olives. Aldi even has a Charcuterie Board of Directors! Can you believe this? This team developed a report predicting the hottest charcuterie board trends for 2022. They suggest the top 6 trends in Charcuterie include Wellness, Salad, French Fry, Pickled Platters, Kid-friendly (aka homemade Lunchables) and drumroll please…Melted Cheese!!! This is something Paul can really get behind and the perfect way to celebrate June Dairy Month!
Charcuteries are easy to create on your own and the first place to start is the foundation for your bites to sit on. Traditional bases are wood and bamboo in all shapes, sizes, and finishes. Popular shapes may be round, square with pullouts, rectangular or paddle shaped. Different finishes can be found with a rustic feel and live edge. More eclectic bases include marble, slate, recycled wine bottles to even very elegant agate boards. There are even longer boards up to 3 feet for a titanic-sized showpiece for larger crowds. My favorite go-to is an Ohio cutting board that is perfect for a small traditional Charcuterie. I also have a piece of antique ship lathe that I can use for larger crowds. The sky is the limit to find what meets your personality and style.
Next up…pick a theme. Seriously Aldi and Pinterest have crazy number of cool ideas for themes. The next step is to start arranging. A traditional board up your alley? Sarah Crawford on Aldi Board of Charcuterie encourages you to “follow the 3, 3, 3, 3, rule: 3 cheeses, 3 meats, 3 starches and 3 sweets for a better board.” Aldi’s Roselynn Daniels suggests focusing the color scheme and seasonal colors and flavors into your board. You can even find a pictorial map on Aldis.com to follow or try Webrestaurant.com for a more step-by-step instructional to create the perfect charcuterie.
Charcuterie may seem fancy, but it is just a platter of food and theme of your choosing on artistic steroids. Give a try! No matter the style and theme you choose, your charcuterie will be a huge hit at your next gathering this summer. This June, make dairy and the plethora of cheese flavors center stage of your charcuterie board. Celebrate Ohio’s dairy!
Eat well and Healthy,
Here are some themed Boards from Eatingwell.com/Aldi.com to get you started
Wellness Boards may be themed with health in mind such as Weight Watcher points, Vegan, all veggies/fruit boards. Throw in some nuts to add some variety of texture and flavors
Salad Boards are a salad bar on a board. Greens, salad toppings and don’t forget the cheese and bacon! Tweak it and make some veggie boards. Perfect timing for the summer months when you can pack them with lots of nibbles from seasonal produce with yogurt dips and lower fat cheeses.
Melted Cheese Who doesn’t love melted cheese? Whether you opt for pots of cheese fondue or ramekins of mini grilled cheese sandwiches, this trend is all about cheese in its gooiest form. Just about anything can be dipped in melted cheese: veggies, crackers, fresh bread, fruit, bacon and more. The sky is truly the limit.
Home pickling has gained popularity as a trend in kitchens across the country. It’s easier than ever before to pack a board with an array of pickled veggies or fruits. Whether you try pickling at home or buy a few different options from the store, you really can’t go wrong with this trend!
French fry boards
Who does not love French fries? Built for a crowd, this trend is designed for fry-lovers. Whether you opt for shoestring, waffle, wedges, tater tots, curly, sweet potato or veggie fries, fries will be all over serving boards in 2022. We love the idea of laying out a spread of different fries and dipping sauces (along with some other more balanced options, of course) for your next game day gathering.
Sometimes kids need a little extra inspiration to skyrocket their imaginative minds, and boards with shapes made of fruit, vegetables, cheese, deli meat roll-ups and mini sandwiches will be everywhere. Get some lunch-packing with
Try this Rainbow Bento Box for kids.
Pancake Charcuterie Board
Pancakes: Let’s start with the obvious! You need a great pancake recipe for your pancake board. Try traditional buttermilk pancakes or other tasty cakes like brown sugar-oatmeal pancakes and carrot cake pancakes.
Eggs: Fill out your breakfast board with a heaping helping of scrambled eggs. This is one of the easier ways to serve eggs for a group.
Fruit: To make a complete breakfast, be sure to fill in any gaps in your board with fresh fruit like blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and slices of banana. The fruit can be eaten on its own or used as a pancake topper.
Toppings: Syrups (like classic maple syrup and homemade strawberry syrup), jam and whipped cream can turn flapjacks from plain to indulgent in a flash. We also added bowls of Nutella, chocolate chips, peanut butter, and cubed butter to our board for a decadent selection of pancake toppings.
1-2 16 oz. packages of fresh strawberries
Once your board is filled, serve and enjoy!