The Captivating Culinary Delights of Saint Germain Catering

How to Build a Charcuterie Plate Like a Catering Company Chef

How to make a Charcuterie Plate

How do you impress guests with a spread that looks like it was made by a professional catering company but is still easy enough for an amateur to pull off? It’s all about the eye-popping bounty of an expertly prepared charcuterie board. This DIY snack-a-palooza gives hungry diners a chance to customize their plates and perk up their palates with a personalized combination of meats, cheeses, nuts, jellies, fruit and more. Serve yours along with aperitifs as guests trickle in, or make it the main attraction at a cocktail party, Easter afternoon brunch or Oscar night celebration.

Step 1: The Foundation

They say we eat with our eyes first, and it’s true. Presentation really matters, especially when you’re laying out a bevy of high-quality ingredients buffet-style. Professional chefs spend a lot of money on beautiful, pricey serviceware, but charcuterie often looks best on something simple, natural and inviting. Our top choice? A wooden or stone platter — even a cutting board works in a pinch.

Step 2: The Meat

Charcuterie literally translates as “cooked flesh,” a reference to the smoky, preserved meats that take center stage. Mix and match flavors and styles, including some of the following options, allowing about 4-6 slices per person (depending on size):

  • Prosciutto
  • Capicola
  • Bresaola
  • Salami
  • Mortadella
  • Sopressata
  • Jamon Iberico
  • Chorizo
  • Paté

Step 3: The Cheese

Visiting the cheese section of a gourmet grocery store is like walking into an explosion of dairy deliciousness. There are cheeses made from goat, cow or sheep’s milk, cheese infused with fruit and herbs, stinky cheeses and milk cheeses, those that are fresh and soft and some that are aged and hard. What’s a hungry host to do? Choose three or four of the following, aiming for one aged, one young, one “specialty” (smoked, spicy or herbed, for example) and one super-creamy option, with a total of 1-2 ounces per person:

  • Havarti
  • Triple-cream brie
  • Blue cheese
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Grass-fed cheddar
  • Gouda
  • Parmesan or asiago
  • Comté
  • Gruyere
  • Jarlsberg
  • Taleggio
  • Chèvre

Step 4: The Sweet

Salty and sweet go together like Bert and Ernie. Complement your salty protein selections with fresh or dried fruit (pears, figs and dried cherries are three of our favorites), jams, jellies, candied nuts and honeycomb or raw wildflower honey.

Step 5: The Bread

Some people like to stack their meat and cheese on bread while other people eat it with a crunchy accompaniment, but either way, a charcuterie plate needs some carbs. A simple, crusty baguette works, as would crackers, crostini or breadsticks/grissini, and we’ve seen pretzels and bagel crisps make a few appearances as well.

Step 6: The Rest

Garnish your masterpiece with elements that are both useful and pretty to look at. A sprinkling of salted pistachios, a pile of currants or in-season berries, a dollop of whole-grain mustard, plenty of homemade pickles and a scattering of marinated olives provide lots of crunchy, punchy characteristics to help cut through the fatty meat and cheese and create balance.

A few wild cards:

  • Deviled eggs
  • Ranch dip
  • Pesto
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Roasted garlic
  • Grilled and chilled prosciutto-wrapped asparagus
  • Hot pickled peppers
  • Preserved lemons
  • Edible flowers

Step 7: Throw Up Your Hands and Call Your Local Catering Company

Does it all seem like way too much work? Keep it simple and choose just one or two things from each category or concentrate on more important matters — like mixing up a pitcher of your signature margaritas — and let Saint Germain Catering company do all the work. Our appetizer spreads and display platters are second to none, and we take care of everything from prep to cleanup, so all you have to do is pile your favorite picks onto your plate and enjoy.

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