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How To Make An Epic Traditional Charcuterie Board

Food & Recipes, Blog

Since cured meats like salami and prosciutto are generally the cornerstone of most classics, the question of what is traditional charcuterie board when it comes to charcuterie platters is frequently asked around here.

There is a lot of variety, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

There’s a reason why classics are classics – and why they’ve been so popular for so long across Europe. I enjoy fusion and new ideas, but I believe that the hundreds, if not thousands, of years of tradition surrounding cured meats must be respected at times.

I’ve put together some tables below based on what I’ve seen and been fortunate enough to experience, so you can see some of the classic charcuterie components that have stood the test of time.

I recently returned to Italy for three months, and contrasting the regions gave me some insight into how they do things in Italy.

What a Traditional Charcuterie Board Includes:

  • French – French Dry Cured Meats, Offal Charcuterie, Salami
  • Italian – Dry Cured Meat, Cheese, Preserved Vegetables, Grapes
  • Modern – Open to any variations and interpretation, still cured meat and best cheese often present

Types of Traditional Charcuterie Board

French Traditional Charcuterie Board

Local guilds regulated tradesmen in the food production industry in each city in 15th-century France…..members of this guild produced a traditional range of cooked, salted, and dried meats, which varied, sometimes significantly, from region to region… … Pâtés, rillettes, sausages, bacon, trotters, and head cheese were among the items prepared by the charcutier (brawn).

These methods of preservation ensured that the meats would last longer on the shelf. The lower-status peasantry adopted charcuterie as a symbol.

So, in the purest sense of the French word charcuterie, it’s all about getting the most out of a pig or animal’s many different aspects. This is the new but old idea of using an animal (especially a pig) from head to tail, which is actually a very old approach. The common people wanted to get the most out of the animal that had been killed or harvested.

Most Western cultures appear to be a little apprehensive about using offal, organs, or intestines. (Funnily enough, most people are unaware that the ‘casings’ in dry-cured salami are often intestines – thus a form of offal.)

Italian Traditional Charcuterie Board

In the Italian interpretation, charcuterie meat, also known as salumi, salami, and dry cured meat, encompasses all of this.

Picante salami, cacciatore, braesola, prosciutto, and pancetta are just a few examples.

However, antipasto platters or boards are what Italian classic charcuterie boards have evolved into. Salumi classics like the above, delicious Italian cheese (hard, fresh, or aged – it varies) and then preserved vegetables like courgette are what I’ve seen over and over in Italy.

Many traditional Tuscan and Umbrian charcuterie board styles placed a strong emphasis on cured meats and cheeses. Of course, it differs from region to region, but it always seemed to return to classic Italian antipasti (plural). Antipasto (singular) and Antipasta (a muddled term that has no meaning). – Trust me, I wrote an entire post about it.

Antipasto (antipasti) means “before the meal” and refers to a plate of deliciousness that is served before the main Italian dishes are served in abundance.

Because Italy has so many different dry-cured meats, the differences between regions are mind-boggling. But I had classics like lonza (pork loin), prosciutto (pork leg), and pancetta on a regular basis (pork belly). Every traditional Italian charcuterie board I’ve had in a small town throughout Italy has emphasized dry-cured whole muscle salami and cheeses.

When I think about it, there’s a reason why so much Italian cuisine is considered classic and traditional. They’re still doing the same things they’ve always done, with little variation throughout much of their history; I’m putting this in the context of more rural areas throughout Italy.


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