The Four Elements You Need For the Best Italian Charcuterie Board
Even though charcuterie is a French word, Italian products make the best charcuterie boards.
In Italy there is a long tradition of putting salumi (Italian cured meat), cheese, and condiments together to create delizioso boards. The attention to detail of Italian artisan foodmakers combined with the incredible raw ingredients found in Italy makes for unforgettable combinations.
Even if you can’t be sitting on a terrace in the rolling hills of Tuscany with a Spritz and a selection of local meats and cheeses, you can still recreate that uniquely Italian feeling by making your own Italian Charcuterie Board, also known as an antipasto platter, at home. It only takes a few special elements.
Salumi - Italian Cured Meat
The star of every antipasto platter is the salumi, or cured meats.
Salumi is a blanket term that includes all cured meat made in Italy. The category of salumi includes salami as well as whole muscle meats such as prosciutto, coppa, and pancetta.
Salumi is often, but not always, made from pork. The curing and drying process leaves the final products super concentrated in flavor. We find them irresistible!
When choosing salumi for an antipasto platter, we recommend getting one to two salamis and at least one whole muscle. Chef Nicola loves to pair prosciutto with salame tartufo and salame piacentino.
Salame Tartufo is made from pork and truffles. It is produced by a family owned business, and has an incredible, decadent flavor.
Salame Piacentino is a sausage made from pork seasoned with garlic, salt, and pepper. This salame has a DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta or Protected Designation of Origin) which guarantees a very high standard by ensuring the salame comes from a specific region and is made exclusively from meat from that region. In the case of salame piacentino, our producer sources Italian pigs raised in the regions of Emilia Romagna and Lombardia.
Formaggi - Italian Cheese
The perfect complement to the wonderful flavor of Italian meats is cheese made in the same country.
There are many different types of cheese that can go on an antipasto platter. They come in a variety of textures and can be made from cow, sheep, goat, or buffalo milk. Each milk gives the cheese a distinct flavor, as does the region where the cheese was made.
For the best antipasto platter, choose cheeses with a mixture of different textures and milks. A great ratio is one soft cheese to one semi soft cheese to one hard cheese.
Chef Nicola recommends Malgaiola, Drunken Goat, and Parmigiano Reggiano.
Malgaiola is a soft cheese made from a combination of cow’s and sheep’s milk. It is rich and creamy.
Drunken Goat is a semi soft cheese made from goat’s milk. The cheese is soaked in wine before being aged for 60 days which gives it a deep purple rind and a mild, lightly fruity flavor.
Parmigiano Reggiano is a classic hard cheese made from cow’s milk that has been aged for 24 months. Our Parmigiano Reggiano also has a DOP, which guarantees that it was made with milk from 100% raw cow's milk from the regions of Reggio-Emilia, Modena and Parma. When using it on a board, be sure to break it into small pieces so that the strong flavor doesn’t overwhelm your tongue.
Marmellate e Miele - Italian Jam and Honey
Salumi and formaggi are delicious as is, but adding marmellate (jams) and miele (honey) will really take your antipasto platter to the next level.
The sweet and tangy condiments cut through the richness of the meat and cheese, which will have you and your guests coming back and back again for more! Italian jams are made carefully using fruits at peak freshness and no artificial ingredients.
Serve prosciutto with pear mostarda. The mostarda is sweet and spicy thanks to mustard extract, which makes it the perfect complement to the rich pork flavor of real Italian prosciutto.
Pair Malgaiola and other soft cheeses with Lambrusco Wine Jelly. The cherry, blackberry, and violet flavors of the jelly and the creamy texture of the cheese are a match made in heaven.
Salame piacentino is excellent with cherry honey. The earthy honey picks up the sweet notes in Italian pork for a perfectly balanced bite.
Taralli e Pane - Italian Crackers
Of course, an antipasto platter is not complete without something crunchy.
Crackers are the final element on the perfect board. They provide a palate cleanser between different bites, and a vehicle on which to enjoy the meats, cheeses, jams, and honeys.
Taralli are small ring shaped crackers from Puglia, the region located in the heel of the boot shape of Italy. They are made with olive oil and white wine which gives them a pleasantly crumbly texture. Chef Nicola loves Taralli so much that we carry eight different varieties!
Pane di Musica are thin, flatbread crackers made from semolina, the same flour that’s in our pasta! They are a delicate cracker that pairs well with any combination of salumi, formaggi, and marmellate.
When you start with incredible, straight-from-Italy ingredients, it’s impossible not to have an amazing antipasto platter or Italian Charcuterie Board. All that’s missing is your loved ones and a glass of your favorite beverage.
Order meats, cheeses, and more from Nicola’s Marketplace today to be prepared for your next board.