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Entertain with Epic Charcuterie Boards
By: Cactus Creative Arts
"Learn how to assemble an epic charcuterie board by using these simple steps," explains Jim Varner, owner of Cactus Creative Arts. "Pick out colorful meats and cheeses to display on a distinctive serving tray to create the best presentation for creative entertaining!"
The meats that are typically used for a charcuterie board are cured meats such as salami, pepperoni, cappicola or prosciutto. Any combination of these or other favorites can be used. "I recommend using different types of meat on your board, with one maybe being more mild and one more strongly flavored or even spicy," Varner continues. "Fold the meats when possible to enhance the presentation."
The goal when adding cheese to the plate is to offer a variety of cheese styles and colors. Try finding a combination of aged, firm, soft, crumbly and creamy cheeses, and let cheeses sit for 30 minutes at room temperature to let the flavors shine. "Make sure that one of the cheeses is a familiar one," Varner adds. "You can add a special touch by including small reusable flags that label each cheese type. Fancy flags are available to buy or you can make your own with toothpicks and colored paper." Dried fruits also tend to pair well with meats and cheeses. Examples include dried figs, dates and apricots.
Then, it's time to get creative and make the charcuterie board look pretty. These finishing touches will set the board apart: nuts including Marcona almonds, walnuts, or pistachios. Add green and black olives to complement each other. Using sprigs of fresh herbs placed throughout the board can also add some flavor and color. Examples include rosemary, basil, thyme and sage.
Another creative touch is to break out little jars and ramekins for spreadable cheeses. Adding something moist to the platter, such as a special dip, jams or preserves, will balance out salty and dry meats and cheeses. "Flags are great here as well," Varner says. "Hummus, ground mustard, and honey are also popular attractions on a charcuterie board. Choose one or two that match the occasion or that will most appeal to the crowd being served. Finally, add some artisan bread or crackers to plunge into these tasty spreads."
A well-designed Charcuterie Board is perfect for special occasions—New Year's, football parties, graduation, or any get together.
Cactus Creative Arts is based in Mesa, Arizona. Owner Jim Varner is a woodworker who creates unique Charcuterie Boards from mesquite, walnut and cherry to display when not in use, or to serve treats at any special occasion. View his artistic items at www.CactusCreative.net .