Switch up the canapés and cheese in favour of serving a charcuterie board for party nibbling. We asked ‘Salami’ Steve Williams of charcuterie experts Good Game in Devon for his tips on preparing the perfect platter
Steve knows everything there is to know about how to use charcuterie to feed and delight a crowd at a festive get-together. He says: ‘It allows you to showcase some amazing products and put on an impressive spread without breaking the bank. Meat is expensive and good meat is very expensive, but you don’t need a lot of it and you can definitely make a little go a long way. Allow four to five slices of quality charcuterie per person.’
He suggests creating a platter using a Good Game mixed charcuterie pack which contains coppa (an Italian-style ham from the shoulder of a pig), pancetta (a dry-cured cut from the belly of the pig) and culatello (a ham made from the leg of the pig). To that he adds olives, bread, cheese, pickles, chutney, salad leaves and pâté/rillettes.
To create a charcuterie platter Steve suggests:
Let the meat rest
Meat that’s vacuum packed and straight from the fridge needs to be opened and left in the pack for 10 minutes to rest and warm a little. Charcuterie is not a chilled product and should be served at room temperature in order to taste its best. You’ll also find the meat comes away from the packaging much more easily.
Consider the presentation
Spread out the various edibles on a big platter (a large wooden board looks impressive). Don’t lie the meat flat on the board: curl it or present it in waves to make it look interesting. Alternatively, consider putting different elements into little pots or plates on the platter which not only looks good but also keeps it tidy when everyone piles in.
Bulk out the charcuterie
Add lots of delicious ingredients such as pâté, bread and leaves to bulk out the charcuterie and add visual interest. Everything can be prepared well in advance and simply collated at the last minute (adding pâté and salad from the fridge, plus fresh bread) before serving at room temperature.