How to Honor The Tradition of Charcuterie

The popularity of charcuterie boards has skyrocketed in recent years. In fact, I feel like I’ve heard the word “charcuterie” more this year than my whole life. Boards are popping up on restaurant menus, at parties, and on social media feeds. We’re even beginning to see increasingly creative takes on what a charcuterie board is—everything from dessert boards to movie snack boards to all-fruit boards.

As the meaning of the term “charcuterie” has become increasingly broad, I found myself wondering what charcuterie really is and how I can nod to tradition even with a more modern take on the culinary art.

After looking into the history of charcuterie, I came up with three easy ways for my modern-day charcuterie boards to honor tradition. Here they are:

1. Don’t skip the meat.

 Generally, when I think charcuterie, I think of cheese. However, the word “charcuterie” actually refers to cured meats—its origin dates back to 15th century France. In fact, the word has roots in the French words for “flesh” and “cooked.”

That’s right: the word charcuterie is more about the meats and less about the cheese boards we think of today. So, if you’re interested in making your charcuterie board as authentic as possible, look into incorporating a lot of cured meats into your board. Cheese may be the star in your heart, but meat should take the spotlight on the board. Otherwise, you might have more of a cheese board on your hands than a charcuterie board.

2. Plan ahead so that your board is not wasteful.

The charcuterie method of preparing meats was actually created in order to avoid wasting any part of the meat of an animal. Why did they start curing meats like this in the first place? To avoid waste.

So, the next time you’re planning a charcuterie board, be thoughtful about how you will avoid waste. Since you’re likely going to have to overbuy ingredients to fill your board, try to think how you can incorporate leftovers into your recipes in the following days. Maybe plan on eating grilled cheese sandwiches with prosciutto for lunch the day after you serve your board. Use up your jams and honey on toast for a few mornings. And if you’re considering a charcuterie addition whose leftovers you think you’ll end up throwing away, try find an alternative that you will be able to finish even after the board has come and gone.

3. Serve your charcuterie board after dinner.

Even though—as mentioned above—charcuterie does not actually refer to cheese boards, we’re guessing your board will include some cheese, so we think this still applies. Per tradition, the so-called ‘cheese course’ actually followed dinner rather than preceding it.

Charcuterie boards are most often seen as appetizers nowadays, so it could be fun to mix it up and serve yours post-dinner. Just be sure to let your guests know when it’s coming so that they can save some room.


Now when you’re planning your next party, you’ll be all set to offer your guests a charcuterie board that nods to tradition. And (even though we might be a little biased) we think it would look best on one of our beautiful board offerings! Click here to view all of our charcuterie boards.



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