What is Charcuterie?

Posted by Sara Chinnock on

Charcuterie is pronounced char-que-ter-ee.  Cheese and meat plate on a cutting board is an excellent way to assemble a last-minute appetizer that looks impressive but requires little to no cooking. A charcuterie board is perfect if you're looking for the ultimate appetizer for your next event! There's a good reason why it's the go-to for hosts and a favorite of guests.


small grazing table of charcuterie with an assortment of cheese, meat, fruit and crackers

Definition of Charcuterie 

Charcuterie boards, also called charcuterie, have been around for centuries. However, it was in the 1990s that charcuterie boards became so popular in America.

The word "charcuterie" is derived from French and is defined simply as the culinary art of preparing various cured meats. The traditional charcuterie board components include dry-cured meats, salami, and offal (Offal, also called variety meats, pluck, or organ meats, is the organs of a butchered animal.). Side note - thank goodness we no longer put offal on our boards - that sounds awful!  

Today, the definition of charcuterie has evolved to include more types of foods, such as meats, cheeses, dried and fresh fruits and vegetables, toasted nuts, spreads, and more, expressed together on a chic wooden board. 

History of Charcuterie

Charcuterie comes from the French words chair (flesh) and cuit (cooked). The term refers to French stores that sold products made from pork.

Some of the practices the French used stretch as far back as the Roman Empire, where people salted and smoked meats to preserve them. Butchers and cooks use not only the meat's "good" parts but also the 'head to tail' of the animal, so not a single portion is wasted.

It was in 15th century France that more sophisticated curing techniques began to develop. They experimented with different curing solutions, drying times, and cuts of meat, which led to the birth of the art of charcuterie. 

Charcuterie Board Ideas

As we said, charcuterie boards have been modernized, offering various options beyond the traditional spread of cured meats and cheeses. Here are some of our favorite charcuterie board ideas:

  • Classic Charcuterie Board — Boasts classic ingredients such as prosciutto and salami, and popular cheeses, plus assorted fruits and snacks to go with them.

  • Seasonal Board — Match the theme of your board to the current season. Consider springtime foods like green beans, apricots, strawberries, and basil for the summer.

  • Breakfast Board — Mix and match waffles, sausage, bacon, eggs, fruits, and all the sweet toppings!

The best part about charcuterie boards is their versatility. You can customize it to fit any event or gathering. Combine your selection of cheese and charcuterie, and you have an excellent board ready to serve guests!

At Sara's Boxes & Boards, we make your event stress free because we do the work for you. Check out our wide selection of charcuterie boxes and boards, and place your order today! 

breakfast charcuterie

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