Happy Valentine’s Day! Elevate the classic Valentine’s Day gifts of roses, chocolates and fine dining into one delicious all encompassing gift! Charcuterie boards can add a fun and pleasurable touch to a romantic dinner date, a girl’s wine night in or any special foodie in your life!
Serendipity 101: Charcuterie
Although Charcuterie boards have become quite the rage recently, this culinary board is not a “new” trend. In fact, charcuterie dates back about 6,000 years, and were commonly used due to the necessity of meat and cheese preservation. When culinary arts rose in popularity as a craft in sophistication and artistry during the Roman Empire Era, the charcuterie board evolved as well. But it was not until France during the Middle Ages, that the Charcuterie board became a staple in fine dining.
Fun fact: the word charcuterie derives from the French phrase “chair cuit”, which translates to “cooked flesh”. The French are often credited to elevating the craft of butchery, especially of pork, to a culinary science and art. The concept of commonly known as “nose-to-tail” is the practice utilizing all components of an animal so nothing is wasted. This idea has inspired many of the delicious crafted charcuterie meats that we see on charcuterie boards today!
Pro Tips from the Serendipity Kitchen
Serendipity Catering’s Garde Manger, Ben gives us his top tips to creating the best charcuterie board this Valentine’s Day:
- It’s all about the meats! You will want to have a variety of meats on your charcuterie board to really create a diverse spread. Chef Ben’s picks for really spicing up the evening is with a traditional Italian dry-Cured Capicola or Spanish Chorizo. For those bacon lovers, (because who doesn’t love bacon?), try Pancetta. Extra Pro Tip: Add an extra flirty foodie touch with pepperoni roses. Still struggling to choose the best meats? Check out these “Essential Meats to Know”.
- It’s ok to get cheesy sometimes… Find a good balance of hard and soft cheeses to add textures on to your charcuterie board. Take a tip from Chef Ben by rolling soft cheeses, such as Haystack Mountain Goat Cheese, in spices and garnishes. One of his Valentine’s Day picks for garnished goat cheese rolls is lavender—it adds a touch of florals for the special occasion. Get fancy with your cheese selection—try local picks such as Rocking W Cheese‘s Habanero Jack, Haystack Mountain Cheese‘s Applewood Smoked Chèvre and Moon Hill Dairy’s Coffee Rubbed Dry Jack.
- Spread the love with unique spreads and dips. You can go the fruity route with jams or a nice fig spread or go for a more savory bite with chutney or red pepper hummus. If you’re feeling extra fancy, Chef Ben’s favorite spread to add on a charcuterie board is an elegant truffle pâté. And remember to have a variety of crackers and baguette slices because they are the bow and arrow to cheese and spreads!
- Tie your charcuterie board all together with a harmonious mix of fresh fruits, nuts, candies, dried fruits and chocolates. Stick to a color scheme like we did on our Valentine’s Day themed board or think of favorites that guests will enjoy. Chocolate may be the key to the heart…at least that’s what Chef Ben says! Add an extra wooing factor with Mint Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries.
- Think sweet + salty + wine! Pairing wine with charcuterie board is a common practice because of the rich and crafted flavors of cheeses and meats make a great combination with a nice wine. Chef Ben’s wine pairing for a romantic evening is a bottle of Rosé Cava…or go for something Colorado local like Infinite Monkey Theorem’s Rosé!
“For the most part be the artist, be the architect and have fun!”
-Serendipity Catering Garde Manger | Chef Ben