Charcuterie in the Time of COVID

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Ah, the beauty and simplicity of a charcuterie board! More and more people have been recognizing how easy and elegant entertaining can be when using this display of goodies. All it takes is some meats, cheeses, and other sundries spread out on a large and preferably wood platter. Instantly you look like a sophisticated host, especially when you start throwing out the word “charcuterie.” It is a genius method of serving others with grace, style and efficiency.

According to Merriam-Webster, the word charcuterie comes from Middle French chaircutier or “pork butcher” and chair cuite as in “cooked meat.” Like the Italian boards of salumi, meaning cured meat products, a charcuterie board can now consist of more than cured meats. Cheeses, nuts, honey, as well as other spreads, peppers, dried fruits, crackers, and anything else you think might make a delicious nibble, can be included on a glorious charcuterie board.

We had some dear friends over recently for an alfresco dinner and made a charcuterie board for an appetizer. As we were creating it, I asked Dinner Table Doctor if it was still OK to serve a communal platter. A few people have commented on Facebook that, since the pandemic started, the days of charcuterie boards are over, just like the days of buffets or someone blowing all over a birthday cake are long past.

DTD said he was unconcerned about the safety of our appetizer. Since we have been vaccinated and knew our guests were too, he was not worried in the least. We provided toothpicks and little serving spoons and spreaders, so guests could make their own plates. Six people sampling a charcuterie board is not like a buffet where many diners are lingering over each selection, and no one is going to blow all over the board. Plus, as we learn more about coronavirus, it’s clear that the way it spreads is by breathing in the particles of air an infected person breathes out into their surroundings, so just sitting at the table with people is the risk. Anytime we gather with others, we put ourselves at risk of colds, flu, and other infectious diseases. Each person must weigh the personal risks with the chosen activity. As far as COVID-19 goes, the fact that we were all vaccinated made a world of difference.

Dinner Table Doctor and I make charcuterie boards frequently for guests as well as just for ourselves. Sometimes, when we don’t feel like cooking dinner, we make a small charcuterie board just for the two of us and open a bottle of wine and watch a good movie while we nibble away. I call it snicky snack night. It makes a regular evening seem special.

Many different types of wine go well with a charcuterie board, depending on your chosen nibbles. A carbonated Lambrusco is one of our favorite pairings with the fatty, cured meats. Lambrusco used to have a bit of a bad wrap, but has rapidly gained in popularity these last few years. The bold flavors and high acidity make it a perfect match with fatty meats. Plus it’s typically inexpensive, which makes it an economical choice when having a crowd. A variety of cheeses ensures white wines or red wines can accompany your board, so every guest will have a way to indulge personal preferences.

You can use any tray or arrangement of dishes to serve your tasty tidbits, but a large wooden board, even a cutting board, makes for a rustic, yet impressive display sure to please and delight your guests.

If you don’t have a wooden serving board, you can find one easily and at various price points.

An attractive and functional, yet inexpensive option you can purchase on Amazon using this link.

Here’s a mid-priced option you can find on Amazon using this link. It’s beautiful, but a little small for my taste.

A much more expensive option, also on Amazon with this link, is a real show stopper. It’s gorgeous, large, functional, impressive, and will last for years to come. It makes a great gift, especially when paired with some meats, cheeses and a nice bottle of wine.

Some of our recent charcuterie creations:

The Lambrusco we enjoyed with our friends

It’s also a good idea to have various utensils to make it easy for guests to serve themselves. You can just use what you have, but there are some really cute options out there if you want to elevate the board with some unique pieces. Just click on the text links to purchase.

So even though COVID-19 is still around, you can create that charcuterie board and invite your vaccinated friends over! Obviously, everyone’s situation is different, so if you’re not comfortable gathering with others, have your own snicky snack night with zero guests. It will still be glorious! Pop open some Lambrusco or maybe a nice prosecco to enjoy a lovely, magical evening.

Let me know how it goes and subscribe to my blog if you haven’t already. Also find me on Facebook and Instagram!

  1. Thanks Terri!
    This is definitely the trend right now and I will have to try it! Thanks for the ideas.
    (FYI – I read this on my phone and did not see the links to click on.? Could be used error but thought I would tell you.)
    Love to you all and happy snacking!

    Like

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