The Art of Charcuterie


Happy Monday everyone, I hope you had a great weekend!  Today I want to talk about the fine art of a charcuterie board.  Truth be told if I could I’d eat nothing but cheese and fruit, crackers, crostini, olives and pickled everything for every meal for the rest of my life.  It’s my favorite way to eat- a nibble of this, a nibble of that, A MOUTHFUL OF CHEESE.  Ha!!!  In all seriousness though, there’s something so delightfully indulgent about a massive display and sitting down with friends to enjoy it- and it’s actually not a ton of work to prepare, but will make your guests worship you like a culinary goddess!  Below is my list of must-haves for a charcuterie, I hope this inspires your own decadent soirees!  xx- Sarah  {This post was produced in collaboration with Anthropologie}

1. At least three kinds of cheeses is my minimum for a great spread.  I look for pasture raised, organic cheese at Whole Foods and start there- asking for samples and choosing my favorites based on availability.  Generally speaking I like a hard cheese (like Parmigiano Reggiano or Gouda), a soft cheese (like a Brie or Camembert) and a stinky cheese (like Blue Stilton or Roquefort)

2.  Fresh veggies and fruit- I like to mix up the fruit and veggies I add to my boards based on the season, but some of my favorites are:  stone fruit (peaches, cherries, nectarines, apricots), grapes, pomegranates, figs, apples, berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries).  With colorful variety of in season fruits you can’t go wrong!  Sometimes I’ll include dried fruits as well.  For veggies I love:  carrots, snap peas, bell peppers, radishes, cherry tomatoes, celery (with the leaves) and green beans.

3. 2 kinds of olives- I love  dry cured black  and Castelveltrano olives.  YUM!

4. Pickled somethings-  I am always on the hunt for a pickled something to add to a charcuterie board.  This one features spicy pickled green beans, caper berries, and Peruvian pickled peppers.  The kick that they bring to the table is just so tasty and so needed!  I’ve also been known to have bowls of pepperocini, and Cornichons.   My love for all things pickled is vast.

5. Crackers and bread-  These are my favorite crackers these days. Not only are they delicious but they’re SO pretty!  I also love grilling well-buttered slices from a baguette.

6. Nuts-  Marcona almonds (if you haven’t had them you MUST!), walnuts, pistachios, almonds, and pecans all make great additions to a charcuteries spread.  Bonus if they’re seasoned!  They’re the perfect nibble in between all of the sweet, sour and savory.

7. Fig jam & honey-  A touch of sweet spread onto a crisp or baguette with cheese over the top may be my perfect bite, so I always have a fig jam and a bit of honey on display to accommodate!

8 Hummus or baba ganoush- These two items make me feel as if I’ve eaten a proper meal- they add sustenance to the nibbling!  Here is my favorite hummus recipe and here is my favorite baba ghanoush recipe!

9.  Crostinis aren’t a must but they sure do add a little something something!  I grilled buttered baguette slices and made the following three variations:  sundried tomato and basil, peach with burrata and basil, mint with walnut, feta and a drizzle of honey.  They take minutes to put together and are such a treat!

10.  Garnishes – The pretty little bits that fill up space and add color, texture and finesse to your boards…. I love rosemary sprigs, flowers, and whole pieces of fruit.

My tips for assembly:  I love a board that’s overflowing, and I’m not a person that cares about foods touching, so I tend to pile on the goodness!  Start by pacing your cheeses and adding fruits, crackers, and veggies.  Fill in all the holes with nuts and garnish!  Don’t be too precious about it, have fun with it, and most of all- enjoy every last bite of it!

Styling sources:  marble and cheese board, cheese knives, wine glasses, bread basket, water pitcher  (all of the other wooden cutting boards will be available at Shop A House in the Hills soon!

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Reader Comments

  1. Sarah|

    The picky chef in me must comment! Charcuterie refers to only meat – with a focus on curing, preparing and preserving. The word is derived from the French words for “flesh” and “cooked” (sorry!). Your images are gorgeous as always – just thought you may appreciate this fun fact – as it cannot truly be a “charcuterie” board without any meat. Signed, A Picky Chef

    • Sarah Yates|

      Thank you picky chef!! There are a few slices of pepperoni in there (not that they were highlighted AT ALL) 🙂 I’m not the hugest fan of cured meat…and I am a huge fan of the word charcuterie. So I think I’ll keep it. 🙂 Thanks for the lesson! xx

  2. Lillian|

    ah, but charcuterie only refers to meat! a cured meat board. I think you mean a cheese board, no? calling a cheese board a charcuterie board is like being in japan and seeing ‘scrambled chickens on toast’ instead of ‘scrambled eggs on toast’! i love it! 🙂

  3. Tamara|

    Dear Sarah! As I always think to myself, every single time I visit your blog, your posts are gorgeous! The most beautiful pictures nourished by inspiring, interesting, calming and even funny stories – I love all of your work that I see and thanks for letting all of us take part in this amazing show that you give us here, in this misterious virtual world. I’m glad to see that you already replied to Lilians’ and Sarah’ comments and said you wanted to ‘keep’ the word ‘charcuterie’ 🙂 it’s very cute because here in France we actually really use it for meat, like the ladies wrote. So I think that’s very creative and adventuring of you to use it for this kind of festal beauties! Who knows, maybe that will later become a common term in english for such edible boards? 😉

    Have a very good afternoon! Greetings from a far away place and all the best to you and your family!

  4. carol|

    I agree…love the word charcuterie! Your food shots are delectable, as always.