As we look to spend time entertaining in our gardens, Brian Stormont found out what makes the best charcuterie sharing platters.
With the current coronavirus restrictions now allowing six people to gather in private gardens, it’s finally time to reconcile with loved ones.
Sharing delicious food is the age-old way of celebrating and preparing something special could be exactly what’s needed to bring everyone together.
According to Pinterest Predictions for 2021 charcuterie boards are set to be a huge trend for what is sure to be a summer of family gatherings.
These low maintenance sharing platters are getting an upgrade to include anything from breakfast to supper and catering to all dietary requirements.
The concept is also undergoing a total refresh in appearance as well as contents and Denby have put together the four elements you need to know to master the art of the modern charcuterie board.
They believe that themes, accompaniments and pairings, dietary requirements and logistics, and presentation and styling are vital when it comes to a charcuterie box.
We asked Georgia Birnie, who runs Crieff-based Champagne and Charcuterie, what she believes makes the perfect platter.
Quality is key
Georgia says appearance and quality are key when preparing her boxes.
She said: “Our aim is to provide a unique experience both delicious and aesthetically pleasing.
“Our charcuterie grazing boxes are simply perfect for those special occasions to remove the hassle of preparing a meal and treat yourself to something different.”
A charcuterie grazing platter is the ideal spread for a delightful weekend brunch, a picnic trip, an afternoon graze with a glass of wine, or a dinner party treat.
“We offer a variety of charcuterie platters, ranging from brunch boxes, to our stronger cheese platters and even seasonal specials too.”
Georgia believes that the very best contents sourced from top suppliers will create the perfect platter.
She continued: “We have excellent suppliers who source our charcuterie cured meats from France and deliver them to us fresh.
“Meats such as saucisson rosette, Milano salami, fennel salami and Parma ham work perfectly to be paired with a variety of cheeses, such as French camembert, brie, cheddar and Wensleydale with cranberry or mango chunks through it which complements the tastes and flavours of the cured meats.
“We also have a stronger cheese platter, where we include cheeses such as a Castello pineapple cheese, and a blue stilton cheese.”
Pairings are vitally important when preparing a box, says Georgia, who started her business after graduating last September.
“The next essential part to a charcuterie board or platter, is to have the right fruit and condiments to pair with the cheese and meat.
“We find that fruit-wise blackberries, red and green grapes, strawberries, figs and dried apricots work perfectly to enhance tastes of the platter, and on the side a selection of olives.
“We use queen olives in a chilli and herb brine. For condiments, a chutney of choice is essential, as well as a hummus either beetroot or regular. We also like to add a garlic aioli dip and for one of our platters we have a Brussels and caramelised onion pate.
“Another key part of your charcuterie board and platter is the oatcakes, for our platters we include Scottish seeded oatcakes, and Carr’s water biscuits, which are good quality and delicious oatcakes.
“We also use cheese twists, breadsticks or crostini as well. The final tying together of a platter is done with a selection of pretzels, nuts and rosemary sprigs to complement the platter and complete it.”
It is of course widely recognised that people eat with their eyes, so Georgia says it is imperative that the presentation is spot on.
“We take great pride in our presentation and how we create our platters, it is our way of expressing our creativity, and enhancing the gift of giving a platter box of ours to a loved one or friends especially on an occasion such as a birthday or anniversary,” she said.
“Our platters are extremely positively received by our customers and those who have been gifted them by others.
“In the last year of lockdown our charcuterie boxes have been in great demand for uplifting treats, and small family get-togethers over Zoom and Facetime calls. We look forward to catering for garden get-togethers and reuniting families throughout the summer of 2021.”