A French Charcuterie Platter is an easy and delicious appetizer that is ideal for all sorts of occasions. Assemble for casual picnics and gatherings, or create as a centerpiece at cocktail parties and special events. These simple tips will help you create the perfect charcuterie board!
Folks, I am beyond excited to share my tips on how to create a French Charcuterie Platter.
Before I ever went to France I knew French food, of course. I’d eaten poule au pot (we have something pretty similar back home – I guess all countries do), coq au vin, and of course plenty of croissants and other patisserie
But it wasn’t till I went there (it was on a four day trip to Nimes, a place I’d picked randomly and I am glad that I did) and discovered all the wonderful markets and shops that I realized the fact that good food is right at the very heart of French life.
I remember wandering around, dumfounded at all the different foods and amazing variety of drinks on offer. The idea that you would have a stall with scores of different types of cheese, all of which were local, was mind boggling. Plus the amazing range of saucisson sec. And that you would be able to buy not just normal button mushrooms but ceps and chanterelles too.
Let’s not forget that all of the fruit like apricot, figs, grapes and mini strawberries are really sweet, perfectly ripe and have been allowed to ripen on the plant.
Plus the bread. Bread that is so warm and fresh out of the oven that the entire market almost smells like a bakery.
And how to choose? How to decide what to get for a picnic? Pick 3 cheeses. 2 types of saucisson sec. Some terrine. A jar of cornichons. Whatever fruit looks nicest. A baguette or two. And a bottle of good local wine. Voila! My very own picnic French charcuterie.
So based on my experience, I am happy to show you……
How To Assemble a French Charcuterie Platter
Start with Cured Meats.
Have at least 2 or 3 different types of cured meats. Try and make sure the meats have different textures. Think the drier saucisson sec (dry cured sausage) mixed in with soft hams. Plan for about 2-3 ounces of meat per person.
Add More Meat.
Include a pâté and some rillettes (only the best things ever). Often overlooked, you can make a meal with just pâté and bread. Trust me, I have done so on more than one occasion.
Include a Variety of Cheese.
Add in 3 different cheeses with different textures. I suggest a hard cheese, a soft cheese (hello Brie) and then a strong blue cheese. This way, there is something for everyone. Some people advise that you stick to cheeses from the same region, but that’s up to you. If you are shopping in a French market, inevitably the cheeses will almost all be local.
Acidity and Texture.
To neutralize any strong flavors and balance the richness of the meats and cheese, be sure to include some pickled vegetables. And the crunchier the better. Cornichons (small pickled gherkins) are particularly good with rillettes. Do yourself a favor and try the combination please.
And The Bread.
Make sure to provide fresh crusty bread, artisan crackers and extras like breadsticks. Not only does this provide necessary texture and flavor, but acts as the vehicles for the rest of the ingredients.
Have Something Sweet.
Some fig jam, relish, chutney or sweet pickles always goes well. Especially with strong cheeses – a bit of sweetness really brings out the flavor.
France has possibly the best wines in the world, and a huge variety. So go on, make the most of it, and splash out and get a good bottle….or two.
How Do You Style A French Charcuterie Board?
As the saying goes, we eat with our eyes as well as our palate. I truly believe that food tastes better if it looks good. Do put in a bit of effort to make it look nice. Here are a couple of my key tips to arranging the perfect charcuterie board:
- Place the taller objects in the middle of the board so they are not blocking the other items.
- Position rest of the food artfully falling away from the center. I like to group items by category (breads, meats, cheeses, spreads) so it is easy to build your
- Experiment! Try something new whenever you put together a charcuterie board. So if you have never tried a particular cheese – try it. You have nothing to loose, the platter is big enough to forgive any mistakes, and who knows – you might just love it. I certainly did when I made my first platter in France, guessing everything and going by pure luck.
Thank you for reading my how to make a French charcuterie platter post. And please come visit again as I continue dreaming up recipes, traditional African recipes, African fusion recipes, Sierra Leone recipes, travel plans and much more for you.
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How To Create A French Charcuterie Platter
- 6 oz Saucisson sec dry-cured sausages
- 6 oz Soft ham
- 7 oz Pâté
- 7 oz Rillettes
- 4 oz Gruyere or other hard cheese
- 4 oz Brie cheese
- 4 oz Blue cheese
- 12 oz Cornichons
- 12 oz Olives
- 1 lb Grapes
- 1 French Bread Loaf
- 12 oz Crackers
- 6 oz Breadsticks
- 8 oz Fig Jam
- 8 oz Chutney
- 4 oz Stone ground mustard
- Place taller items, such as jars of jam, chutney, cornichons and breadsticks in the center of the platter.
- Artfully arrange the meats, cheeses, crackers, bread, grapes and mustard around the jars, grouping like items together.
- Serve with utensils, small plates, napkins and a good bottle of wine.
- Bon Appetit!