Heart & Soul sat down with Rasheida Bennet of passionsfruitopia.com to learn more about charcuterie.
When making charcuterie boards, how important is it to know the change of seasons?
Knowing the change in seasons is VERY IMPORTANT when creating charcuterie boards, same for fruit displays. It affects your inventory, product cost, and your presentation. When I create my boards, the majority of the items can be found year round. I am referring to dried, cured meats, cheeses, and olives.
For me, it’s the fruit that I incorporate. During the winter months, January through April, this is the time to find more acidic fruits like tangelos, oranges, grapefruits, and, believe it or not, pineapples. The summer, May through August, Prime Fruit season, is the best time for ripe fruit. During those months, if you can name it, you can find; mangoes, strawberries, watermelon, kiwi, etc. Knowing when the ripe season is over is also very important. This is the time to switch up your inventory. I incorporate fruit in my boards because it adds a sweet element and it is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Not to mention, it is very healthy for you.
Vegetables are just as important! They go in and out of season as well.
During the winter months, January through April, this is the time for broccoli, brussel sprouts, and asparagus. During the summer months, May through August, this is the time for spring peas, zucchini, summer squash, and tomatoes. These vegetables add texture and color to the boards.
Why is charcuterie the “IN THING“ now?
The history, this cured meat origin, is fascinating and has morphed into something quite extraordinary in this modern era. Some could say it’s popular because it hasn’t got a lot of marketing or exposure until more recent times. BUT as it continues to develop, the possibilities of what people will create on these boards will be limitless. More modern boards incorporate spreads and dips as great examples of the expansion of classic charcuterie – beetroot, capsicum, tomato, hummus or pesto.
Honestly, these displays are appealing to the eye. The vibrant color contrast of the edible components excite and awaken the pallet. The placement and color of the fruit or charcuterie is essential to the visual experience, not to mention it tastes good as well. I know I am not the only person who gets excited about food and presentation. Humans tend to eat with our eyes. Who cares how good it may taste? If it doesn’t look appealing, we will not put it in our mouths. Presentation is EVERYTHING!
Also, charcuterie is easy to create with friends or alone to treat yourself! The simplicity and variety of foods is an easy crowd pleaser. There is no stove or cooking involved. Who wants to turn on the stove in the summer or just a warm day of entertaining? Not me. Charcuterie is perfect and relatively soothing for these times.
For me, the best part is the easy cleanup. I use butcher block paper. I just throw that away when I’m done. For my customers, I recommend they purchase ziploc bags for the leftover fruit. That leftover fruit can be frozen or blended up in a smoothie. The charcuterie can also be easily bagged. This clean up process is easy and quick. At the end of an event, that is always a positive.
Boards of charcuterie have truly become a piece of my heart. It is edible art. But don’t just take it from me, next event, do something a little different and try a fruit tray or charcuterie…