Charcuterie Board 101

by Zing Kitchen

Image of a charcuterie board with various meats, cheeses, nuts, pickles and condiments

Charcuterie boards can be whatever you make of them, so this is more of a rundown than a recipe from Kiran, our head chef at Zing. Enjoy!

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I’m going to be “cheffy” here and break it down to principles, rather than specific instructions. Follow these simple steps and you can make a bistro style charcuterie board at home, every time!  

The elements of a charcuterie board:

The basics of a charcuterie and cheese board are simple. They’re typically garnished with mustard, honey, chutney/preserve, nuts, crostini or crackers, and cornichons. If you have these, great, if not, or if you just want a more exciting, new twist, you can sub each one of these out by following flavour principles:

  • Mustard adds heat to the board, you can easily sub that out for a chilli sauce, our recommendation would be Hakka-ish Chili Crisp.
  • Honey is there to add a sweetness to the board, and a preserve or chutney is added to introduce some acid to cut the richness of the cheese. Why not kill two birds with one stone (sorry, vegans) and swap them for Mogambo Spiced Garlic Spread.
  • Nuts are added for texture, but you don’t need any specific nuts, just add what you have: even those old wasabi peas in the back of your pantry will do. If you don’t have anything, though, you still have crackers/crostini to add crunch.
  • Have some crackers? Great. Don’t have any, but you have a couple stale bread rolls or bagels lying around? Even better! Slice them thin, add some olive oil and salt and toast them, for a much more flavourful addition.
  • Don’t have any cornichons? Don’t worry about it, literally anything pickled will do. We used pickled cauliflower greens that we had in the fridge, just work with what you have. 
Notes on presentation:
  • For presentation, a common principle that professional kitchens use is the rule of odd numbers. Odd numbers look better than even numbers, so try and use 1, 3, 5 items etc. Have 3 meats and 3 cheeses? 6 toppings, 3 of one, and 2 of another will look nicer, because, science!
  • For your meats and cheeses, think contrasting flavours/textures. We used Genoa Salami, Prosciutto, and Honey Roasted Ham. For cheeses, we went for a smooth, mild Gouda, and a sharp Cheddar.