Charcuterie and cheese plates are probably the most-often ignored apps when you’re out at a super-hip gin bar or gastropub. But for the at-home hostess, charcuterie plates are not only easy, but can be tres chic and super fucking stylish – you just need to know wtf to put on it. So we’re breaking down your meat and cheese plates so they can be a big giant step above average.
The shape and size of your charcuterie slash cheese platter are just as important as the shit you put on it. If you opt for a tacky, designed or (shudder) CHEVRON OR POLKA DOT patterned plate, gtfo. Simplicity is your best friend here, so opt for solid wood, slate, or solid-colored ceramic dishes big enough to fit all your shit on. Having a loud pattern will only take away from the lovely shades of yellow, red, and green from your actual food.
Everyone fucking loves a cured meat like salami, but that’s so basic. You want high quality, interesting meat. So instead of a basic pepperoni, opt for a smoked chorizo. Go with duck ham instead of regular ham. Grab some prosciutto because just do it. As a general rule, try for something spicy, something sweeter, and something very savory for your meats. Also, grab some foie gras if you’re very fancy.
Obviously a charcuterie board is kind of exclusively for meat, but we’re expanding our culinary prowess, here. For cheeses, you want to be varied as well – so opt for a creamy cheese, a sharp cheese, and a mild cheese. A good combination would be a gruyere or gouda, a brie, and a gorgonzola or blue cheese. Bonus points if you opt for locally made shit.
Balance, balance, and more fucking balance. For your accoutrements, get a few salty items like giardiniera (Italian pickled vegetables) that’ll balance well with your mild cheeses; a few sweet spreads like apple or pumpkin butter or a sweet fig jam which will go great with your creamier cheeses like brie; and a few slivers of fruit like melon or apple that’ll pair nicely with salty cured meats. You also obviously want to have really, really good bread nearby – like the kind that’s fresh baked (not the kind from Pepperidge Farms). Bonus points if you grill it.
Serve up your charcuterie slash cheese plate with GOOD olive oil and decorate with sprigs of rosemary and thyme. You’re like, totally the hostess with the mostest.