5 Tips on Creating the Coolest Charcuterie Boards
local charcuterie experts offer tips on pairing meat and cheese
Charcuterie boards have grown in popularity, bringing two new cheesy businesses to the Chippewa Valley. Clearwater Charcuterie and Northwoods Grazing have been steadily gaining traction on social media for their artful boards and charcuterie-building courses.
Since cheese is a staple of Wisconsin diets – and charcuterie – we would be remiss if this Beer & Cheese section ignored this delicious trend.
Here are a few tips from the experts:
1. Put similar-tasting things together.
When pairing meat and cheese, a good rule of thumb is to put two similar tasting items together: sweet with sweet or savory with savory, notes Molly Dove, owner of Clearwater Charcuterie. If you’re feeling adventurous, try pairing savory and sweet. “I also make sure there is another pair on there that can help expand people’s taste buds, like onion goat cheese and prosciutto,” she said. Make sure there is a crowd-pleaser meat-and-cheese duo present.
2. Go seasonal.
As the seasons change, Northwoods Grazing looks forward to seasonal items for their boards, such as locally grown apples. “We love apples paired with an aged sharp cheddar,” said Nick and Brittany Hughes, owners of Northwoods, “or even with goat cheese and honey.” Along with apples, Clearwater Charcuterie notes produce such as pears, grapes and pomegranates will be a staple for the season, paired with cheddar, havarti and gouda cheeses. Mild, softer cheeses are a must-have in a fall flavor board.
3. Before getting started, consider your design.
When constructing the boards, Dove first decides if she will use straight lines or curves to guide the design. “If I use straight lines, I line all the cheeses and meats in the same direction across the board to make it pop,” she said. “If I use brie or other circle-shaped cheeses/meats, I play around with circles and curves.” But, feel free to pick out your own designs: horizontal, vertical, octagons, hexagons – go any direction that feels right.
4. Don’t be afraid to get creative.
According to the Hughes, don’t be timid! Try something you haven’t seen on Pinterest or online. Think outside the box.
5. Not sure how to start? Take a class.
Northwoods Grazing offers courses on building the perfect charcuterie board and both businesses are available for large event catering as well as smaller, custom boards, which you can find at VolumeOne.org/events.