Charcuterie is a word worth learning to say (shar-kew-ter-ee) and a super fun way to bring friends and family together.
Charcuterie is the French word for cured meats but can be used as a description of the collection of cooked meats, or the place that sells them.
[Curious about charcuterie? Here's a quick link to a Dallas Texas shop that does boards. ]
In America, we've expanded the charcuterie to include anything from breads, fruits, sweets, dips and more. We've taken the idea and expanded it to whatever theme the event is based around. At my house, we've been known to create personalized mini charcuterie plates, instead of boards, for dinner instead of a traditional meal. Or you can create a Breakfast Board for a group. So fun.
While the traditional charcuterie board is about meats, cheeses, perhaps preserves or pickles (here's a link to 32 different charcuterie board ideas), how you set up your board is up to you.
When I'm setting up a "dry" board - one where I'm not worried about wet ingredients like pickle juice or berries juice stains, I love to start with a backdrop.
Pick an incredible board that is any shape - seriously, round, square, rectangular - it doesn't matter. Drape a tea towel across part of the board, either in the center or asymetrical to one side. Begin to place color splashes of whole fruits or vegetables and then build your breads, cheeses, preserves in small ceramic Tazitas or glass bowls. Drop nuts or dried fruits in open spaces or fill with cookies.
Getting creative sometimes starts with the first step. Like a blank canvas for an artist, the first color mark breaks the doubt of doing anything wrong and moves it immediately into possibility in motion. Manifestation in action.
So for those who are not sure and want to elevate a fun display, start with any kind of board (or platter or plate, it doesn't matter, use what you have!). Then get a pattern of fun going and fill all around it. You'll love the result.
And for those who have an extra board and want to create a take-home gift, create a gift board. Here's an example of using artist-designed linen tea towels as gifts.
Adding fresh fruits or brightly colored vegetables around your gifts brings life, vibrancy, and joy to your gift board.
And they can use them at the event as their napkins as well. (Ok, I know a few of you are thinking ahead about taking home a dirty napkin. I know, I know, I thought about that too. I'd probably keep it safe as a gift until I got home, too). But hey, for the rest of you, live it large all the way.
Get creative with your displays. It's your gathering, nurture yourself and loved ones your way. Be playful, be curly in your approach. You'll be glad you did.
To order Cher the Fire Tea Towels, click here.