Throughout this past year, we have seen many of our favorite, locally loved events and gatherings pivot to online. As charcuterie boards continue to grow in popularity, one thing that is a challenge for many people is knowing how to make their boards really stand out when on camera. For your next virtual event, I have mapped out some best practices to help you create a delicious, crowd-stopping charcuterie board.
Finding the Right Flavor
Before we begin with selecting what you would like to include on your board, we have to stop and think about the most important aspect: flavor. We have probably all heard about the five flavors of taste: sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami or savory. When pairing your charcuterie and accompaniments, remember to pair for a balance of these different flavors.
With a salty cured meat such as prosciutto, you’ll want to find something to balance it out like an apple chutney or a bite of fresh melon. When pairing with something that is more fatty such as pork rillette, you’ll want to find something acidic like pickled mustard seeds.
These same concepts can also be applied to your cheeses. For instance, when pairing for a salty, umami-packed wedge of parmigiano reggiano cheese, a black currant chutney would balance out that intensity. Even though you’re in a virtual setting, it still needs to make sense and taste great!
Building Your Board to Stand Out
Now that you have found the right flavor balance, it is time to get creative! Laying everything out flat is fine when you are alone, but when showing off to friends, family or other virtual guests, presentation is key. A really easy way of building the most eye-catching plate for virtual events is to plate in odd numbers, making sure to build height, color and textural difference. You can do this by following these steps:
- Start with your three accompaniments or condiments and form them into triangles.
- Using the negative space, begin to fill it with your cured meat slices. If it’s a foldable slice, fold or wrap it like a bunched up ribbon ,and continue doing that to all of your foldable slices.
- Create height by using the ramekins or wedges of cheese as a way to prop up your folded slices of meat or any non-foldable slices.
- Remember to be creative with your presentation. Don’t forget to add color and unique shapes like laying your more sturdy slices of meat in a half-moon shape similar to a deck of cards.
After your condiments and meats are placed, then you can begin to fill in the leftover space with cheeses, cornichons and olives, crackers, grapes or fresh melon, as well as offering plenty of crackers to pair with your meats and cheeses. After these steps, you will have yourself an eye-catching, delicious charcuterie board.
If you're looking for a virtual event to try out your new skills, Diamond Chef On-Demand on April 22 has integrated several ways for guests to enjoy delicious cuisine at home without sacrificing creativity and aesthetic.
Just remember: When building charcuterie boards for virtual events, being creative and making things stand out is imperative to keeping things fun!
Chef Adrienne Rogers is a culinary instructor at the Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management Institute at UA Pulaski Technical College.