French things make me happy. Like my husband. Or the Eiffel Tower (that's an easy one). And obviously Champagne. Or a really good meat and cheese board, otherwise known as Charcuterie. And while I know that here in the States, it's been given the pronunciation shar-cootery (hmmm) I will tell you that it's actually pronounced shar-coo-tree and the former makes me giggle a little bit every time I order it. Nevertheless, making a delicious and well balanced Meat and Cheese Platter is not only super simple, but quite fun to share with guests as well.
Start with the cheeses. Decide what kinds you like and try to pick ones that will compliment each other well and don't have the same flavor profile. Maybe you like a soft goat's cheese or a more hard cow's milk cheese. Go to your local Whole Foods, Bristol Farms, or if you are so lucky, local cheese shop and try some samples. They will be more than willing to help you find just the right cheeses for you.
Next, the meat. I like having equal numbers of meat and cheese, meaning, if I choose 2 cheeses, I want 2 meats to go with them. I usually pick one salami that I know most people will enjoy, like prosciutto or genoa, and one that I know most people wouldn't usually pick for themselves, like a truffle salami.
Finally, choose your accompaniments. You need something to eat the cheese on, so a good baguette or crispy crackers are a must. Fruit chutneys are delicious, as are whole grain mustards. I love to add a few walnuts or pecans for crunchy texture and some tart apple slices. And I never make a cheese board without honey or honeycomb. It's the perfect amount of sweetness to balance out all those savory salty flavors . The more you experiment with the flavors you like, the more combinations you will find exist out there. Don't be safe when it comes to Charcuterie. Like me, you just might discover that you love it even more than you already thought you did.
*St. André Triple Crème Brie
*Purple Haze Goat Cheese (A Lavender Pepper Blend)
*Barely Buzzed (Espresso and Lavender rubbed white cheddar)
*Any High quality Parmigiano Reggiano
Some of my favorite salamis are:
*Creminelli Tartufo Salami (flavored with black truffles)
*Any high quality genoa salami
*Fra'Mani Salametto (garlic flavored)
And to make it a real party, add any of the wines that I picked for National Wine Day.