If I’m at a dinner or an event and theres a charcuterie board, you’ll know where to find me! Taylor and I love having friends and family over at our place, that means, I’m always in charge of putting together the menu and preparing the food! I love that charcuterie boards are super simple to create and the perfect way to start any dinner party! There are so many ways to build your own board, there’s really no rules.
I always use to feel like charcuterie boards were expensive because I felt like I needed to have so many different elements on the board. Cheese can get very expensive and theres just so many different meats to choose from. I wanted to challenge myself to creating the perfect all Canadian cheese and charcuterie board for under $10 per person. Let the challenge begin!
I headed to the St. Lawrence Market bright and early, it tends to get busy mid-day and especially on the weekends. I usually have one butcher, one deli and one produce vendor I frequent. I love chatting and building relationships with the people that handle the food, they’re the ones that know best! I stopped by Scheffler’s Deli and mentioned I was creating an all-Canadian charcuterie board. There are so many different varieties of cured meats from salami to hams to sausages, it can get a little overwhelming. Talk to them, ask for a sample, they are there to help! I also love supporting local farms and business so ask for something local! They kindly helped me pick:
- Artisan Niagara Pingue Prosciutto. It’s a dry cured ham, a fatter cut of meat that literally melts in your mouth. $6.78
- Hot Hungarian Salami. A hot/spicy, air-dried sausage. $3.00
- Capiccollo. Italian-style cold cut. $2.88
- Barilo Beef Salami. Locally raised beef salami. $2.56
I wanted to go with 4-5 different cured meats. I mostly chose pork products but because each one is prepared and cured differently than the other, it helps give variety in terms of texture and flavour.
I headed over to Olympic Food & Cheese and talked to the cheesemonger, told him I was looking for a firm and a soft cheese for my all-Canadian charcuterie board. There are hundreds and hundreds of different cheese from different animals to the aging process to the texture, ahhh where do I even start!?! The best thing about visiting a cheese boutique is sampling all the different cheeses, that way you know exactly what you’re getting and when buying, you can ask for as much or as little and you’d like. I knew I wanted a firmer cheese and a softer, spreadable one. I also wanted a sharper cheese and a mild cheese. I chose:
- Five Brothers from Woodstock, Ontario. It’s an award winning cow’s milk cheese, aged for 18 months which gives it a rich flavour. And its a little nutty in flavour. Delish. $7.19
- Bouq Emissaire from St-Hubert, Quebec. It’s an un-pasteurized goats milk cheese with an ash rind. I originally wanted to pick up Grey Owl, which has a sharp and lemony taste but decided to try something different but similar. Bouq Emmisaire is light and mild in flavour. Perfect for spreading on a crostini with a sweeter jam like fig or apricot. $7.04
Bread & Crackers
Let’s not forget the carbs! You’ll definitely need some sort of bread or crackers to accompany the cheese. Fresh, homemade crostini are super simple and affordable. I purchased 2 mini loaves from a local bakery. Sliced them into 1/2 inch thick rounds, placed them on a wire rack on a baking sheet, brushed with olive oil on both sides and sprinkled with sea salt. Bake in a 450°F oven for 5-6 minutes until lightly golden brown. You can also pick up bread sticks or crackers as well.
- 2 mini loaves $1.58
While the cheese and meats are the star of the board, you always want to add some fresh elements to the board. Grapes are always my go-to, they’re sweet and juicy – a great contrast to the saltiness of the cheese and meats. You could also do apples, figs and peaches! Yum.
- Two handfuls of green and red grapes $2.33
Jams & Spreads
I have about 15 different jars of jams in my fridge. You don’t have to run out and grab a new one if you don’t have to! Not pictured but I always have Kitten and the Bear’s Strawberry, Raspberry & Cream jam (my fave) or apricot jam (Taylor’s favourite) in my fridge so save your money and choose one you already have! Sweeter jams are also a great compliment to to almost any cheese.
I also like to add a savoury spread on the charcuterie board whether it be grainy mustard, dijon or a tapenade. Mustard and ham go hand in hand!
Pickles, Olives, Onions
I love pickles, I don’t understand people who don’t like them. They’re salty, briny, crunchy – ahh so good. I love adding different kinds of textures and flavour to the board. Pickled vegetables are a great way to cut the richness of the cured meats and cheeses. Just think of this board as a deconstructed sandwich. What do you like in your sandwich?!
And last but not least: Nuts & Dried Fruits
This is 100% optional and can totally up your budget but it’s also a nice touch and you don’t need to go overboard. I like to add almonds, walnuts, dried apricots or figs to the board to add even more layers of flavours and textures. Head to a bulk food store and only pick up what you need. A little goes a long way.
- Nuts and dried fruit $ 4.62
TOTAL = $37.62
SERVES 4 PEOPLE = $9.40 per person
Happy hosting! Do you like hosting dinner parties? How do you build your charcuterie board? Let me know!