Charcuterie 101

November 13, 2017

Charcuterie is no longer reserved for fine European bistros or large catered events. Creative home cooks have begun experimenting with different meats and cheeses to make charcuterie rivalling those made by an old-world master. Luckily, Co-op is stocked with everything you could ever possibly need to make a standout charcuterie platter sure to be the centerpiece of the snack table at your next get-together.

Preparing It

Charcuterie ingredients are served at room temperature or in the case of some cheeses, warmed in the oven. Need help? Ask the Co-op deli for suggestions on what to include and how to prepare it. Co-op also sells two grab-and-go varieties of store-made charcuterie and a cheese board made with choice ingredients, for those in a hurry or who prefer convenience.

Mainstays

Classic charcuterie boards feature most or all of these ingredients.

- Dry salami like German, peppered, or cacciatore
- Hot salami like Soppressata, Genoa, or Calabres
-  Prosciutto
-  Mortadella or Pate
- Brie
- Manchego cheese
- Creamy Blue cheese
- Gouda or other smoked cheeses
- Crostini or thinly-sliced baguette

Mix it up

Break with tradition! Pair your meat and cheese with some of these.

- A small bowl of honey
- Compotes, jams, preserves, or other spreads
- Almonds or walnuts
- Pitted black and green olives (from the Co-op olive bar)
- Gherkins or other small pickles
- Finely herbed crackers

Check out the Charcuterie Made Easy section on the back cover of the Co-op Festive Solutions Guide (available in-store) for great deals on many of these ingredients. And for larger gatherings, don’t forget to peruse our catering brochure (available in-store or online) to pre-order from a wide selection of products from our deli to build charcuterie platters for up to 20 guests.

Serving It

Traditionally, charcuterie is served on a board or plank. A large wooden cutting board should work just fine. A large, flat serving plate can also work in a pinch. With your meat, you want variety in size and thickness. Prosciutto and other delicate-tasting meats should be thinly sliced and folded, while salami and bolder or spiced offerings should be cut thicker and cascaded on the board.

As for your cheese, present wedges and a knife for brie and other spreadables, slices for swiss and other delicate cheeses, and cubes for cheddar and those with a stronger flavour. Many locations feature cheese islands with a cheese expert on-hand to custom-cut any size cheese and provide you with samples and guidance. Just let the folks at the Co-op deli know you’re making a charcuterie board, and we’ll help make it look and taste its best.

Don’t Forget

- We’re here to help! We can suggest ingredients, introduce you to new ingredients in-store, and even slice and prepare your ingredients so you don’t have to.

- There’s more to the Co-op olive bar than olives. Try some marinated artichoke, stuffed pepper, or other creations perfect for serving.

- Avoid anything with waste, like olives with pits or anything that requires peeling. You don’t want your guests carrying garbage around.

- Put toothpicks in anything cubed and leave a few nearby, so guests can pick and choose hygienically without touching everything.

-  Lay out plenty of napkins so guests can create a hand-plate and stay clean.

-  Make sure it’s clear where garbage goes, so your guests don’t tuck it away somewhere or leave it laying around.

 

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