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Charcuterie: A Simple How-To Guide with Chef Jenn

A popular trend in food platters this year is a French food tray called the charcuterie, a wide range of cured meats, from hard, thin-sliced cuts to soft spreads. It's very versatile, allowing creators to mix and match flavors and textures, or use products from the same region with the same theme.

At this year’s Cottage and Lakefront living show, some exhibitors are exploring charcuterie on the lakeshore and how to build the perfect board. Chef Jenn stopped by walking us step-by-step on how to make an Italian themed charcuterie.

First: Select a theme

  • Your theme could be by ingredient (meat only, meat and cheese, the whole spread, allergen-friendly.)
  • It could be by region (Italian vs German.)

Second: Mix and Match Flavors/textures within your theme

  • Think of a flavor profile that involves sweet, salty, sour, bitter.
  • Consider texture. Do you have a variety of soft elements but also crunchy?

Third: Consider the layout

  • How many people are you serving?
  • What type of vessel will accommodate that serving size?
  • Don’t be afraid to sketch out your ideas on paper.

Forth: Put your plan in action.

  • Portion by planning on 2-3 ounces of meat and 2-3 ounces of cheese per person.
  • Try slicing your meat and cheese in a variety of different shapes to create an attractive board.
  • Look for small bowls/containers to put jams/spreads in.

Watch Chef Jenn do this demonstration at the Cottage and Lakefront Living Show at DeVos Place. She will be making a charcuterie platter on Saturday, March 23 at 4 p.m. on the Cottage Living Stage.

For more recipes by Chef Jenn, visit her website and Instagram.

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