Experts say you eat with your eyes first. While charcuterie platters are full of salty meats, rich cheeses, and bright flavors—presentation is still everything. When planning and plating the perfect charcuterie platter, focus on three key elements: how the food looks, where and how it’s placed on the dish, and the platter itself. Consider these tips for the perfect presentation:
Choose brighter colors. Choosing colorful ingredients and sides will brighten up your charcuterie platter. Vibrant options such as corn relish, hummus, peppers, and mustard will add color and flavor to what can become a monochrome sea of dark meats, breads and vegetables.
Perfect plating. There are several basic elements to plating: keep it simple, balance your dish, consider portion size and highlight the key ingredient(s). Especially when designing a platter, balance and simplicity are very important. Make sure you have enough acidic flavors and fresh ingredients to balance the fatty meats, rich cheeses, and thick breads. As far as portion size, that will be dependent upon how many people you are serving, but it is important to think about the size of the food. Consider shaving your charcuterie into thinner slices: this will make the fare seem lighter, as well as allow you to roll and fold the meat for a beautiful presentation. Also, the focus of the platter should be the charcuterie, so put the meat in the middle to highlight it.
The perfect platter. While a traditional charcuterie platters usually consists of an everyday serving dish or a chopping board, consider elevating your presentation by using a piece of wood or slate, or going for unique shape or material such as a sleek, granite server or a rustic, wooden block with fitted indentions for utensils. Your friends and family will appreciate your flair for visual elegance.
The piece de resistance—wine! Presentation rule #1: Everything looks better with a glass of wine next to it. Plus, the right wine will effortlessly enhance the dining experience. Because traditional charcuterie fare is rich and fatty, a full-bodied Merlot will complement your dish with classic style, while something a little more fun like a crisp, bubbly Proseco will add a lighter, fruitier flair that will cut through the fat. No matter which way you go, serving wine with your platter will earn you major style points.