Photographer: Gentl & Hyers

Rustic and Refined: Gourmet Charcuterie Platters For the Win

Charcuterie platters originated in France during the 15th century and have since remained a key element of French gastronomic culture. While a traditional charcuterie board refers to a platter made up of cooked meats, today we expect cheeses, nuts, olives, dips, crackers and bread to be part of the spread. The best part about the modern charcuterie platter is that you can mix up the ingredients to suit your taste and occasion, which is exactly what these impressive recipes have done.

How do you make a charcuterie board?

Charcuterie boards and platters are relatively easy to make. Most recipes recommend breaking up your board into categories and going from there. A classic charcuterie board will include sliced cured meats such as prosciutto, jamón Ibérico and pastrami, as well as some harder unsliced meats such as salami or chorizo.

You can then add a selection of cheeses. It’s a good idea to mix up the textures and flavours with sharp hard cheddars, soft creamy bries and rich crumbly blues. Once you have got your meat and cheeses, you can then add a selection of different crackers, bread, fruits, nuts and dips. Add a couple of cheese knives and the platter is ready to serve.

French charcuterie board

If it’s your first time making a charcuterie platter then it’s a good idea to start with the classic. A French charcuterie board is what most people think of when you say charcuterie. To make a French charcuterie board it’s as easy as sticking to French meats, cheeses and bread. Since there’s plenty of each, you won’t have any trouble filling up the board.

For meats, go with the French cured and fermented salami is known as saucisson and the light Jambon de Paris. For cheeses, you can try a mix of soft camembert or brie, a sharp Roquefort and a comté. It’s common for French charcuterie boards to be accompanied by a spreadable pate, terrine or tartine, grapes and of course, a baguette.

Image: A French Style charcuterie board Source: Recipes from a Pantry

Spanish tapas platter

If you’re wanting to put a little extra spice into your charcuterie board then giving it a Spanish twist is the perfect way to do so. As the Spanish are already famous for their finger food known as tapas, it’s as simple as reorganising your favourite tapas dishes onto a grazing board.

Choose the strong Spanish Iberico and serrano hams with Manchego cheese, salty anchovies and plenty of spiced olives. Kylie Mazon-Chambers from Share and Savour recommends adding an Heirloom Pan con Tomate spread to have with your bread and even some Patatas Bravas if you want to impress.

Image: Spanish Tapas board Source: Share + Savor by Kylie Mazon-Chambers

Winter cheese board

Cheeseboards are the ideal accompaniment to chilly winter nights beside the fire. This winter cheese board from Damn Delicious serves up the perfect inspiration for colder weather with a board made up of rich flavours and winter fruits. This recipe arranges a mix of brie, gorgonzola, thinly sliced parmesan, port salut and cheddar with rosemary crackers, breadsticks, persimmons, pomegranates, clementines and baby apples. Add a couple of glasses of mulled wine and you will be set for the night.

Image: this fruity winter cheese board is sure to warm you up Source: Damn Delicious

Mediterranean mezze platter

Taking inspiration from the traditional appetisers served in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, this mezze platter is a great way to feed a crowd. Start with Greek feta and soft goat’s cheese and add some traditional Mediterranean marinated vegetables such as olives, artichokes, capsicum and eggplants.

A good way to add fill out your Mediterranean-inspired platter is to add a few traditional dips such as hummus, baba ganoush and tzatziki, alongside some grilled pita bread. If you don’t want anyone going hungry then you can also add some falafels and dolmas.

Image: A Mediterranean Mezze platter from Dinner at the Zoo Source: Dinner at the Zoo

Dessert charcuterie board

Switch up your charcuterie platters from a before to an after-dinner treat with this delicious sweet twist on the dish. Start by adding some soft goat’s cheese, camembert and a little blue before elevating the platter with sweet fruits such as figs, grapes, cranberries and dates.

Add some rosemary crackers, a fruit preserve, jam and a pot of honey before completing the board with your favourite chocolates. The best thing about this dessert board is that you can practically add any sweet treat that you like. Whether you add Turkish delight, gooey chocolate cookies, or even doughnuts, it’s entirely up to you.

Image: a decadent dessert charcuterie platter from Grandbaby Cakes Source: Grandbaby Cakes

Looking for more recipe inspiration? Make sure that you read about our favourite edible flower, mango and champagne punch recipes to try out.

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