We’ve come a long way since sliced cheddar, garlic sausage and some saltines– a nostalgic classic that lacks some of the refinement and adventure offered by a well-curated butcher’s board. Whether you call it charcuterie, ploughman’s lunch or a plain old deli tray, there is an art to setting out an attractive and appetizing spread. Keep reading for D’Arcy’s quick reference guide to building a better butcher’s board!
When choosing the components of your butcher’s board, consider the flavour profile and serving style of each item. Rather than four different “hard” meats like salami or capicola– choose one and compliment it with a softer option like a terrine or pate. Round out the selection with different textures like a smoked ham or prosciutto, along with something more dense like a grilled kielbasa or chorizo.
When considering variety, do not overlook portion size! Less is more when it comes to richer meats, cheeses and spreads. On the other hand, having too many crackers or bread slices is rarely ever a problem. Two to three ounces or 50 to 100 grams per guest is a good rule of thumb for an appetizer or a smaller crowd– consider doubling it if the charcuterie is the only food provided.
As stated above, a good charcutier always provides different textures on their board. Not just with meats or cheeses– but also by adding nuts, dried fruits, sweet or savoury jellies and jams, fragrant or flavoured oils, crisp greens, olives and all manner of pickled delicacies. Remember the rule of variety and avoid including too many items with the similar textures. Same goes for the bread or crackers: choose a crusty, grainy option and a more plain variety for the best possible selection.
There you have it! Simply pair the info above with a good bottle of wine and some advice from the pros here at D’Arcy’s— you will be well on your way to gourmet stardom, whether you’re serving a small gathering… or a small army! A well planned, prepared and executed butcher’s board is a guaranteed crowd pleaser.