What Is a Charcuterie Board?
A charcuterie board is a gorgeous piece of edible art that you can fill with just about anything. Cheese, cold cuts, strawberries, pretzels, baguette, crackers, pickles, grapes, pistachios, you name it! It’s a highly customizable snack that will undoubtedly be the highlight of your Galentine’s Day.
How to Build Your Own Charcuterie Board
You have most likely already seen and indulged in a variety of charcuterie boards at restaurants and bistros, but there’s nothing quite like the experience of building it from scratch. As you begin to map out your plan to create the perfect charcuterie board, start by visualizing a colour and texture palette that you want to achieve. Think of the board as a blank canvas that is just waiting for your creativity to paint it in premium finger foods. Naturally, it’s always advisable to make the board appear as vibrant as possible. Also, the board needs to look full, so don’t be afraid to stack, fold, and pile as needed. It’s a Galentine’s Day idea that will be a hit no matter your friend’s food preferences. Pro tip: you can never have too much cheese!
1. Start With the Meats
Include a variety of flavours and textures in order to cater to everyone’s specific preferences. Deck out your large cutting board or marble slab with tasty cured meats such as prosciutto, turkey ham, salami, Spanish chorizo, bacon, pancetta, and pastrami. Just let your inner carnivore take the lead with this part of the charcuterie-board-building process. Cocktail pairings: Cured meat with a high fat content pairs best with drier aperitif cocktails such as the Negroni or the Manhattan.
2. Soft, Hard, and Sharp Cheese
A wise man once said that cheese is milk’s leap to immortality, and who are we to argue? This brings us to the next step in your Galentine’s Day charcuterie board: cheese. The trick is to include a selection of hard, soft, and sharp cheeses that vary in colour for added vibrancy and textures. Gouda, for instance, is a palatable semi-hard cheese that is characterized by its caramel-like flavour and aroma. With its subtle notes of sweet nutty creaminess, Gouda cheese is best paired with cured meats, therefore indispensable on your charcuterie board. Some of our other favourites include Brie, aged cheddar, Cambozola, and Gruyère. Cocktail pairings: The best thing about pairing cheese and cocktails is that it’s hard to go wrong – the options are endless! The all-around winner is gin, specifically gin and tonics. The natural herbal, floral notes of the spirit complement more flavourful cheese like smoked cheddar, goat’s milk cheese, and even blue.
3. Complementary Fresh Fruits
Balance out the richness of cured meat and cheese with a serving of zestful fruits. For a deliciously healthy dose of antioxidants, you can never go wrong with fresh strawberries, grapes, raspberries, and blackberries. Top off your fruit group with slices of apples and oranges for a hint of lively citrus piquancy. Cocktail pairings: Cocktails and fresh fruit go hand in hand. Take the easy route and grab a handful of blackberries or strawberries and muddle them into an infused vodka soda, or add them whole to a glass of sparkling wine.
4. Add Nuts or Pickled Vegetables
Nuts are a healthy source of fat, fibre, and protein, which are good for the heart. You may be going all out on Galentine’s Day, but you still want you and your girls to stay fit and healthy. Make your charcuterie board shine with a handful of walnuts, almonds, and pistachios. Pickled vegetables like olives, pickles, red peppers, or carrots are also great additions. Cocktail pairings: Whisky is the best spirit pairing for nuts. Serve your whisky neat, or with a couple cubes of ice and you’re good to go. Sweeter nuts like pecans and pistachios go best with peaty, strong whiskies. Choosing a sweeter whisky goes well with a less sweet nut, like Brazil nuts or walnuts. Roasted nuts, like roasted almonds go best with smoky whisky.
5. Bread and Crackers
Your charcuterie board is looking great already. Just a few more steps, and your Galentine’s Day will be complete. Set out a selection of crackers and bread as the perfect vessels for holding all that delicious meat and cheese like crostinis, sliced baguettes, and flatbread. Keep them plain and simple, so they don’t overpower the rest of the flavours.
6. The Finishing Touch: Dips
Now for the crowning glory of your charcuterie board! Dips are the last puzzle piece to create the full picture of a stunning well-rounded meal. Some popular dip options include garlic jalapeno dip, apricot marmalade, basil pesto, ranch dressing, chutneys, and hummus.
Galentine’s Day Cocktails from Spirit of York
Make Galentine’s Day extra special by pairing your charcuterie boards with exquisite spirits from Spirit of York. Notes of oak, vanilla, and caramel are the best flavours to match with the saltiness of cured meats, the tanginess of cheese, and the vibrance of fruit. Luckily, this trifecta of flavours is found in our whisky. At Spirit of York, our whisky is crafted with 100% rye grain and perfectly aged in oak barrels. Sipping on whisky is an experience that is equal parts smooth and sweet, best served on the rocks and with your best friends on Galentine’s Day. Interested in serving high-quality spirits at your Galentine’s Day gathering? Browse Spirit of York’s collection today!