Photography by Leigh Skaggs
A well-done display of meats and cheeses never fails to look appealing and lure a crowd of sophisticated nibblers at the wedding cocktail hour. But we aren’t talking about a platter of cubed cheddar, some basic pepperoni and a bunch of grapes. Today’s boards should be much more thought out and elegant. They elevate your party with carefully selected charcuterie (French for preserved meats)—think Soppressata, pâté and terrines—a mixture of hard and soft cheeses, and all the accompaniments.
“We have found that our couples are looking for an elevated level of cuisine and an enhanced guest experience,” says Amy Stevens, business development manager for Chef By Design Catering Co. in Virginia Beach. “A charcuterie display is a perfect example of how to add a modern twist on the standard—and often over-done—fruit and cheese station.”
Here are a few tips for creating a charcuterie table any guest would be happy to “meat.”
—Don’t forget to add sweet and salty touches. Cut the richness of meats and cheeses with soft breads, nuts, dried fruit, jams or grainy mustard. These additions please the palate and also offer visual interest.
—Go beyond the board and create a full table of delicious choices. This strategy will look impressive, allow you to provide options everyone can appreciate no matter their personal tastes and spur conversation as everyone gathers around to do some sampling.
—Provide hand-lettered signs or ask your caterer to make them. Not only will they look great, but it’s also a classy way to offer guests a guide to more unfamiliar meats and cheeses—and to up the chances they will try them.