Since its origins in fifteenth century France, charcuterie—which typically refers to "a delicatessen specializing in dressed meats and meat dishes” and “the products sold in such a shop”—has been featured alongside fruit, cheese, and other delicacies to create the famed charcuterie board.
While the term "charcuterie board" used to conjure up images of high–class functions and European sophistication, thanks to social media, people's perceptions of these flavorful platters have dramatically changed.
A quick search of #charcuterieboard on Instagram yields over half a million search results. So what's the reason that this French delicacy, which has been around for centuries, is seeing a surge in popularity today?
As Ken Albala, a history professor with a focus on food at the University of the Pacific, explains, one reason behind charcuterie boards' newfound favor may come from their aesthetically pleasing look and the increase in “foodie culture."
These boards are impressive, low–stakes crowd–pleasers that eradicate the pressure of preparing and presenting guests with a home–cooked meal. During stressful times, these “adult lunchables” provide a visually appealing upscale dining option for half the work.
Furthermore, they are great for special occasions and holidays—or for just fostering connection in general. Whether it's in person or over Zoom, getting together with friends and family for a charcuterie board night can provide a much–needed source of comfort.
For so–called charcuterie influencers and those making their very first attempts alike, charcuterie boards allow their creators to embrace their inner artist. Charcuterie board creativity has spring–boarded beyond ordinary combinations of meats and cheeses. In case you were searching for some inspiration to kickstart your next board, here are a few of the possible combinations that other people have dreamt up.
Breakfast boards—there's no shortage of beloved breakfast foods to feature on this class of charcuterie board. Pass the french toast, pancakes, and bagels, please!
Meanwhile, fast food lovers are among those flexing their charcuterie board skills on social media. Get creative with a french fry board (because everyone loves french fries), and include your favorite dipping sauces.
Candy boards are perfect for those with a sweet tooth. And with Halloween coming up, I think this might just count as the adult version of trick–or–treating. Top your board with all of your favorite candies, along with seasonal ones like candy corn to complete the look. Be sure to add whatever other Halloween treats you like, whether it be festive cookies, ghost cupcakes, or orange Oreos!
And on the opposite side of the spectrum, for more health–conscious charcuterie board lovers, there's always the option of making a fruit or salad version.
Obviously, we love this trend. It’s an easy crowd–pleaser and the perfect way to impress your friends without the pressure of preparing an elaborate meal. You can get as creative as you want, letting your artistry shine through.
As people across the country are beginning to have small group gatherings, charcuterie boards are the perfect mood–lifter. Stock up on your favorite finger foods, and get to plating.