Travel and Charcuterie on Instagram and Tiktok pair incredibly well. Like wine and cheese... in France, Spain, Italy, and Napa.
Charcuterie encompasses cheeseboards, grazing tables, and drool-worthy picnic spreads, all of which are super popular on social media.
Charcuterie is also the perfect travel food:
- It features fresh and local choices
- It's snacky - perfect for people on the go and those with jet lag
- It travels well in a container
- It looks great in travel photos
- It's multi-national - most countries have a version of charcuterie. If you're like me, your lifetime goal is to investigate and try them all.
Even if you are not particularly hungry right now, you will be after reading this post and browsing the feeds and hashtags gathered here. If you are looking for inspiration for your own snacking and dining, this is a perfect place to start.
You can't make everyone happy. You're not cheese.
How Do You Pronounce Charcuterie?
Let's start with the basics. If you want to EAT Charcuterie you have to be able to ask for it. It is pronounced like this: SHAR- KOO- -TREE. Easy peasy. Now let's look at all the ways to get our snacking on.
The Best Cheeses for Gram-Worthy #Charcuterie Platters
The types of cheese chosen for Charcuterie platters are really a matter of personal taste. But there are a few rules of thumb that will serve you well when you are in the grocery store making a decision. In general you want to seek variety, not repetition. Look for cheeses that will stand out as individuals on your platter. This may be because they look and are presented very differently, or because they are different in taste and texture.
- Texture (hard vs soft cheeses)
- Flavor profile (strong, mild, spicy, sweet)
- Presentation plans (cubed, sliced, spreadable, block)
An example selection might include:
- Aged Gouda in small cubes
- Brie Cheese in a wedge
- Blue Cheese in large crumbles or a spreadable form
Again, there is no perfect or singular choice when it comes to cheese. But visual variety is as important as flavor, especially if you are sharing your charcuterie on instagram.
My personal preference is for odd numbers. 3-5 types of cheese are more than enough for most casual get togethers. 8 types of cheese would be very lavish on a large grazing table.
The Best Meats for Instagrammable Charcuterie Platters
Similar to cheese preferences, there are no "perfect" combos for meats on a charcuterie plate. There are, of course, many opinions about what is the best meat for charcuterie. Similar to cheese choices, you want your meat choices to each feel special and considered. Here are some general considerations when choosing meats for charcuterie.
- Flavor profile (mild vs spicy & any regional spices)
- Texture (pate vs cubed meats, thick or thin slices)
- Presentation (precut cubes or slices, slice your own, spreadable)
- Looks ("the camera eats first" - but even without a camera memorializing your repast, it should look good!)
Popular meat choices for charcuterie include prosciutto, salami, pepperoni, sopressata, Jamon Iberico and many many more. Pates made from meat or duck are also popular choices, and very flavorful. Look for simple, naturally cured meats without chemical additives and preservatives.
Alternative Charcuterie Plates
There's no rule that charcuterie platters and grazing tables MUST be limited to meat and cheese spreads. The concept of artfully arranged snacking stations is easily (and gorgeously) applied to many other eating opportunities. Browsing the hashtags and feeds below will yield a whole universe of ideas and inspiration. But just to get you started, let's take a quick look at some popular non meat/cheese charcuterie options.
Vegan Charcuterie Ideas
It's possible to put together savory charcuterie plates for vegan grazers using meat and cheese substitutes, as well as an abundance of sliced veggies, cubed tofu, pickles,olives and nuts.
One of my favorite vegan cheeses is Chao cheese.
Consider the following when choosing items for a vegan charcuterie plate:
- Color (this plate can be a rainbow or you can choose to stick with a green there)
- Flavor - as with meat/cheese plates you will want to mix sweet/spicy/mild flavors
- Texture - Aim for a mix of textures that range from liquid dips/spreads to soft and creamy to crunchy and chewy, for the most satisfying spread
- Presentation - consider how you will serve items on your plate - cut into bite sized chunks, spears for dipping, in a cruet for dunking or spreading, or sprinkled as an accent.
Veggies to consider for your vegan charcuterie plate or platter include: bay carrots, carrot coins or sticks, zucchini spears, cucumber discs or spears, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, jicama sticks, whole or sliced mushrooms, radish discs, baby corn and colorful pepper strips or baby peppers. The more colorful the better! Boldly colorful Charcuterie on Instagram always gets more views.
Breakfast Charcuterie Ideas
Breakfast is a meal made for grazing! Have you seen some of the amazing breakfast Charcuterie ideas on Tiktok and Instagram? What better way to brunch than to put out a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. Breakfast charcuterie ideas fall into different main groups, many of which can be mixed and matched together. Some of my favorites include:
- The bagel breakfast charcuterie platter - sliced cucumber, tomato, onion, one or more cream cheeses, whitefish or tuna salad, smoked salmon, capers, "everything but the bagel" spices for sprinkling
- The french toast/pancake/waffle extravaganza with fresh fruit and compote toppings, whipped cream, syrups and sprinkles.
- The breakfast cereal charcuterie that artfully blends different kinds of cereals and toppings. This can be done healthily with muesli, granola, yogurt, dried fruit etc or colorfully with sugary cereals and sliced bananas and berries.
- The bacon and sausage board featuring your fave breakfast meats as an a.m. charcuterie splurge
- An elaborate and beautifully cut fruit charcuterie board is always a welcome sight
Funtastic Colorful Candy Charcuterie
Perhaps the most colorful charcuterie plates of all are composed from candy. Everyone loves candy charcuterie. Even if you don't eat it, it is delightful to look at. Perhaps it is the kid in a candy store effect. Even though I don't have all that much of a sweet tooth, I cannot look at a candy charcuterie spread without grinning.
I love exploring candy charcuterie ideas on Instagram in particular. There's great Candy Charcuterie Reels tutorials to learn from if you are not creative. But it's hard to go wrong with a platter full of candy.
Candy charcuterie really lends itself to artistic expression. It can simply be a mixe of favorites, but it also can be a themed presentation such as:
- Halloween - using "creepy" candies
- Specific colors - using candies from a specific color palette OR creating an intentional rainbow
- Retro - highlighting vintage style candy
- Foodie fakes - candy that looks like food
Much like any type of charcuterie, candy charcuterie platters are best when you mix it up with the size, shape and flavor profiles of the items.
Creative Ways to Decorate Charcuterie Boards
Garnishes a very important part of charcuterie. They can be simple and classic - a few sprigs of fresh herbs on a meat and cheese platter. Or they can be utterly over the top, filling any gaps between your main charcuterie plate items.
Filler items might include pretzels, bread cubes or slices, berries, nuts, veggies, crackers, breadsticks, and dried fruit.
It's also always a good idea to include a few tiny dishes or bowls to "contain" small and/or liquid items that might otherwise get lost in the mix or seep into adjacent items and affect their flavor. Use small bowls with or without a small fork or spoon for serving, for items like:
- Honey/honey combs
- Fruit Paste or jam
- Olive oil
- Hot sauce
- Dips or dressing
- Spices for sprinkling
- Spreadable soft cheeses and pates
- "Special" roasted or flavored nuts
- Diced onions or chopped herbs
If there's one thing you need to remember about charcuterie, it's no double dipping!
Part of me wondered whether charcuterie was a fad doomed to be done away with when the pandemic hit. But the fact of the matter is that we still love our charcuterie plates just as much, and as things open up we are still happy to share with friends and family. Provided they have good manners.
I am not the final authority on charcuterie etiquette but here's my pointers for polite charcuterie eating.
- Hard dry items like crackers and bread are fine to grab with your hands. Try not to handle any items you are not planning to eat.
- The wetter and softer the item is, the more important it is that you use a serving utensil (duh - that one is pretty obvious!)
- Plan for pointy items to serve cubed food, and adequate slicing and serving pieces for everything else.
- Serving utensils should not be swapped between places. I don't want olive juice in my honey or blue cheese in my jam.
- If you touch it, it's yours. Do not put it back on the platter. Also if you want a piece of cheese from a block, slice of the amount you want, no more no less. If you perform surgery and leave it mangled, you might experience your personal stock falling.
- If you accidentally "steal" a serving piece, let someone know so it can be replaced. Do NOT serve yourself with the utensils you are using to eat your own food with.
- Once the food is on your plate, you can decide if you are eating with utensils or your hands. Read the room.
- Don't be greedy. If everyone hasn't had firsts and there is a limited amount of an item left, ask before you take seconds.
- Wash your hands. Before, during if you need to, and after. Charcuterie can get messy.
Still feeling a little squeamish about sharing? Try Jarcuterie.
Jarcuterie - Charcuterie for One Please
Jarcuterie is a Pandemic era fad that uses jars, cocktail glasses, and small decorative plates and serving pieces to create adorable mini charcuterie platters for one. No sharing. This way you won't have to worry about getting the cooties from double dippers.
Scrumptious Charcuterie Instagram Accounts to Follow
Tiktok Charcuterie Goodness and Greatness
Facebook Charcuterie Groups and Pages
- Charcuterie Boards and More
- Show me Your Charcuterie
- High We Like Charcuterie
- We are the Charcuterie and Cheeseboard Artists
- Grazing Tables and Cheeseboards
- Platters and Board Food
- Charcuterie Philippines
- Show Me Your Cheese and Charcuterie Board
Twitter Charcuterie Accounts to Graze On and Follow