A charcuterie board is an appetizer typically served on a wooden board or stone slab, either eaten straight from the board itself or portioned onto flatware. It features a selection of preserved foods, especially cured meats or pâtés, as well as cheeses and crackers or bread.[1]

Charcuterie board
A charcuterie board with various cured meats, cheeses, and fruits
CourseAppetizer
Region or stateEurope
United States
Serving temperatureCold
Main ingredientsCharcuterie, cheeses, breads, fruits, vegetables, nuts, spreads
VariationsNumerous

History

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Europe

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Charcuterie is cured meat, derived from the French chair, 'flesh', and cuit, 'cooked' and was coined in 15th century France.[2][3] The owners of shops specializing in charcuterie (charcutiers) became popular for their detailed preparation of cured meats and helped establish stylized arrangements of food as part of French culinary culture.[3]

However, according to food historian Sarah Wassberg Johnson, charcuterie also has its roots in the simple meals that had been eaten by laborers of the working class throughout Europe since the medieval period, often consisting of meats, cheeses, bread, local produce, and wine or beer. Moreover, these meals evolved and found their way to higher society with the cheese course of formal dinners in 18th and 19th century France, Great Britain, and colonial America. The cheese course remained common at these formal dinners before they were rapidly replaced by the dessert course by the end of the 19th century.[1]

United States

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Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries in the United States, the practice of hosting dinners became increasingly informal as time went on, especially by the 1910s, when formal dinners were largely replaced by cocktail parties where a variety of finger foods served throughout the night was preferred over scheduled meal courses.[1] During World War II, American soldiers were introduced to regional charcuteries and cheeses of France, Italy, Germany, and Greece and helped proliferate an interest in European cuisines when they returned home. However, it wasn't until the 1990s that charcuterie boards had a resurgence in popularity as American grocery stores diversified their offerings and specialty food stores became more common.[1]

While charcuterie boards are common appetizers in restaurants today,[2][3] they continue to find popularity in private gatherings like house and dinner parties due to their ease of preparation.[4] Even so, with the advent of social media in the 2010s, especially image-based apps like Instagram, charcuterie boards also became incredibly complex and expensive,[1] featuring dozens of meats, cheeses, and accompaniments on display for followers and monetization.[3] Chicago-based IRI reported sales of charcuterie types of packaged lunch meats reached $561 million in 2019, up 8.1% from the previous year.[5]

Composition

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A charcuterie board with fruits, pickled vegetables, meats and wine
 
A traditional-styled charcuterie board with meats, carrots, chili peppers, cheese, and jam.

Beyond meats, cheeses, and breads, other components are often included to complement the flavors and textures of these foods.[6] Examples include fresh or dried fruits, olives and olive oil, nuts, vinegars, pickled or fresh vegetables/crudités, fresh herbs, chocolates,[7] edible flowers,[8] and a variety of spreads such as mustards, honey, and fruit preserves.[1][6][9] Charcuterie boards may also be accompanied by different varieties of wines.[1][10]

In addition to the food components, charcuterie boards themselves are typically made of either wood or stone (typically slate or marble) in order to keep foods cool during service. Other equipment present on the board may include cheese knives for guests to serve themselves, spoons and ramekins for portioning and holding spreads, and labels for the various meats and cheeses to help inform guests.[4]

See also

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References

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  1. ^ a b c d e f g Wassberg Johnson, Sarah (2021-12-20). "The History of Cheese and Charcuterie Boards". The Food Historian. Retrieved 2022-03-20.
  2. ^ a b Kitchen and Bar, State and Allen (2022-02-04). "What is Charcuterie?". Retrieved 2022-02-04.
  3. ^ a b c d Biron, Bethany (2020-01-15). "Influencers posting artsy photos of 'adult Lunchables' are blowing up among millennials with small living spaces and a passion for meat and cheese". Business Insider. Retrieved 2022-03-20.
  4. ^ a b Sherman, Elisabeth (2020-01-14). "Everything You Need to Build a Beautiful Cheese Board". Food & Wine Magazine. Retrieved 2022-03-20.
  5. ^ Howard, Hannah (2020-10-01). "Charcuterie: What's Old is New Again". Deli Business. Retrieved 2022-02-04.
  6. ^ a b Clark, Christine (2021-08-26). "What Is a Charcuterie Board?". AllRecipes. Retrieved 2022-03-20.
  7. ^ Pahmeier, Lauren (2022-01-14). "How to Make a Showstopper Chocolate Board". Taste of Home Magazine. Retrieved 2022-03-20.
  8. ^ Mullen, Marissa (2020-03-27). "That Cheese Plate's Guide to Edible Flowers". That Cheese Plate. Retrieved 2022-03-20.
  9. ^ Hoff Kosik, Alli (2021-10-13). "The Charcuterie Board: What Is It and How To Make One". SkillShare. Retrieved 2022-03-20.
  10. ^ Knoll, Todd (2 July 2019). "What is a Charcuterie Board: 10 Tips for an Easy Wine Pairing Appetizer". Wine Country Table. Retrieved 2022-03-20.