We missed it by a couple days, but National Cheese Day was June 4th. You know how much we love cheese, so today we’re daydreaming about our perfect charcuterie board. Obviously we’re putting it together with our favorite local ingredients! The first step in building a charcuterie board is to pick your theme…will you be doing a classic meat and cheese board? How about a brunch board? We’ve even seen some uh-mazing dessert/candy boards (although these probably don’t count as charcuterie??) Once you’ve decided that, it’s time to move onto the ingredients…
Obviously necessary. The number of cheeses you should put on a charcuterie can vary – depending on the number of people you’re feeding, how much those people like cheese, and how many other items you’re putting on your board. We like to use at least two, and we love mixing different textures. Like, a smooth, creamy cheese with a harder cheese.
If you’re not well-versed in cheeses, or you’re looking to try something new but want some advice, we recommend stopping somewhere like Chantal’s (and get everything you need to make these crostini while you’re at it!) or Penn Mac in the Strip. And don’t forget about Goat Rodeo!
Don’t be afraid to get prepackaged cheese, either. We love shopping the cheese section in every store we go in, especially the specialty markets around the city. Branch out with Mexican cheeses or something like feta…perfect with olives!
Vegan or having vegan friends over? You can still include “cheese” on your charcuterie board! Places like Onion Maiden have some amazing vegan cheeses that we can’t get enough of.
If you’re including meat on your charcuterie board, it can be hard to narrow down what to buy! We like to pick one major element first – the meat or the cheese – and then match the flavors of the other based on that. Wander the Strip for cured meat inspiration – from Penn Mac to Parma Sausage to Salty Pork Bits. And again, don’t forget to look at the prepackaged cured meats in your favorite specialty stores. You can find some really interesting things that you might not have otherwise tried!
AKA the stuff you can fill in around the meat and cheese so you don’t overdo it 😉 Things like:
- bread or crackers
- jams and spreads
- honey and honeycomb
- pickles or pickled veggies
- fruits – fresh or dried, or a combination
- other sweets, like chocolates
We love wandering farmers markets to get inspiration for our charcuterie boards. You can often find everything you need for one, especially at a large market like the one Saturday mornings in Bloomfield. It’s the perfect way to support the local community while treating yourself!
If you’re not into building your own charcuterie board, there are some local shops and restaurants that will put them together for you, like Chantal’s, Mediterra, and even the Allegheny Wine Mixer care packages.
And don’t forget to consider what you’ll be drinking while you enjoy your charcuterie! Wine is an obvious choice (and here are some of our favorite local wineries), but beer and cocktails are just as appropriate.This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.