What is a Charcuterie Antipasto Board? Is it called Charcuterie or Antipasto or both!?! A Charcuterie or Antipasto board is typically served as an appetizer before the main meal and is a selection of cured meats, cheeses (usually cut into chunks or slices), fruits, nuts, berries, spreads, dips, crackers or toasted bread slices, all displayed nicely on a wooden board.
The word Antipasto is often used in Italian restaurants over Charcuterie (which is French) but it is the same dish served as an appetizer before the main meal. Most of the time you will find this dish in a more upscale restaurant. If you can’t pronounce Charcuterie (which is French for Delicatessen and pronounced shahr-cute-uh-ree) then just stick to calling it Antipasto. They are both correct.
A Charcuterie or Antipasto board (or tray) is made up of smoke, dry-cured and cooked meats sliced thin; cheese, olives, spreads, and often local or organic honey, honeycomb, spicy mustard and fig jam. It can also include anchovies, artichoke hearts, pickled meats, and vegetables in oil or vinegar. These items are usually displayed nicely on a wooden board or tray.
Most restaurants that offer the Charcuterie will have a pre-set board you can order if you don’t know what you like. The chef will select some standards and maybe some of his favorites. You can usually customize what you get and the menu will show a list of items to choose from. Since not all Antipasto selections will appeal to everyone it may be good to know what you like so you don’t get something you have to pay for but won’t eat.
The Charcuterie board depicted below includes pickled onions and carrots, goat and brie cheeses, hard bread (usually made in-house and then grilled), nuts and berries, 2 types of cured meats (most likely Sopressata and hard Salami, and a mustard spread. This is a small board compared to many you see offered in restaurants.
If you are making a Charcuterie Antipasto board to serve at a party, let us suggest some of our favorite things to include. You can also use these suggestion when ordering a board from a restaurant.
Cheese Suggestions: Goat, Brie, Havarti, Gouda, Mozzarella, Provolone, Blue Cheese, Aged Cheddar, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Gruyère
Meat Suggestions: Sopressata, Hard Salami, Proscuitto, pepperoni, Smoked Sausage, Capicola
Fruits and Spreads Suggestions: fig spread, dried apricots, dried figs, assorted fresh berries, grapes, Pâté
Miscellaneous Accoutrements: black and green olives, artichoke hearts, cherry peppers, local organic honey and honeycomb, French Baguette sliced and toasted, crackers, roasted almonds, tiny dill pickles, lightly toasted homemade bread slices rubbed with oil and sprinkles with herbs and spices.