If I were told that I could only have one meal for the rest of my life I would choose a well executed Butcher Board, hands down. On a great board each part of your palette gets exercised and you can come up with different flavor combinations making it a great crowd pleaser for dinner parties, as well! With the holidays coming up, I reached out to the specialists at Mazzaro's Italian Market to find out what the "must have" components were to make a dream board! If you haven't ever checked out their wine and cheese room, it's a must! It will make any foodie swoon.
So here's the keys to building a show stopping board:
Mix Up Textures and Tastes
With your charcuterie you will want to plan on at least 2 ounces of meat per person. It's best to pick opposing textures and tastes. For example, it's nice to choose one spreadable decadent meat like pate, a hard meat like a salami, something salty and tangy like an aged prosciutto or ham, and then if you want to go a little extra, something warm and smokey like a sausage.
For cheeses you want to stick to this same concept and choose opposing textures and tastes. It's nice if you offer cheeses showcasing different regions. A great selection would have something creamy, something funky and something hard. Make sure to pick at least one mild flavor for the cheese newbies.
Something Briney and Crunchy
Olives, artisanal pickles and whole grain mustards pair excellently with bold meats and cheeses. The acid helps to add complexity and it also helps balance out the fats. Nuts also help give you a little crunch in between buttery meat and cheese bites!
Jams and Fruits
After a lot of savory flavors it's nice to have a sweet retreat. Jam, fruit pastes, fresh fruit and chutneys help to cut through the richness of meat and cheese. It also helps to cleanse your palette and balance out salty dry flavors.
Breads + Crackers
When it comes to adding breads, crackers and toasts to your spread, the trick is to keep it simple. You want a neutral vehicle, but not anything over powering. A fresh baguette, crispy flatbreads or Italian bread sticks are good options. I have a lot of sourdough on hand, and if any of it is older than a day or two I like toast it up with simple olive oil to use for the more spreadable meats and cheeses.
Making It Pretty
One of my favorite parts of a butcher board is how pretty they are. Have fun while you're putting it together! I always like to display on wood. Don't be afraid to use jars and bowls on your platter either and lot's of different colors! Also, it's easiest to slice meats and cheeses when they are cold, but allow your board to hang out for a while before you eat it or guests arrive. They taste better room temperature.
On our board we featured:
Goose Mousse Supreme - Goose liver, duck liver, duck fat and chicken fat pate for soft decadence
Proscuitto di Parma - Aged proscuitto for saltiness
Fennel Salami - Hard and fatty
Thomasville Tomme - Local from Georgia. Raw cow's milk cheese that's buttery and rich
Cacio Nocello Foglie Di Noci - An Italian sharp blended milk cheese covered in walnut leaves
Cana de Oveja - A Spanish soft ripened sheep's milk cheese with a bloomy rind
Courtesy of Mazzaro's!
Accouterments found on this board are Cranberry Whiskey Clove Jam, Sriracha Peppered Okra, Chili Fennel Brussels Sprouts and Spicy Brown Stout Beer Mustard. All by The Urban Canning Company and all can be found at Mazzaro's, in our tasting room or online! Also found on this board; Soy Ginger Pickled Eggs and Ginger Persimmons which can only be found in our tasting room, and honey comb from Harris Honey.
Show us your butcher boards! If you've had a chance to use our preserves in a dish or want to share a canning recipe with us use hashtag #theurbancanningco and find us on Instagram @theurbancanningco. To see a list of our markets and events head over to our Market's + Events page or Shop Online! Cheers!