So you’ve got the basics of making a charcuterie board down, and you’re ready to expand your snacking horizons. Why not try a regional twist with a Mediterranean charcuterie board? Sometimes called mezze boards, these appetizer platters can pull inspiration from countries all throughout this sunny region by the sea.
Read on for ideas from Spain, Italy, Greece, and beyond to include on your next charcuterie board.
French Charcuterie Boards
Before we get into some creative Mediterranean takes on charcuterie, let’s explore the origins of this culinary delight—France! If you’re wondering what is on a traditional charcuterie board, start with the French classics, such as:
1. French Cured Meats & Pâté
While you’ll often see cured meats from neighboring Italy or Spain on a French charcuterie platter, the French have their own specialties, such as:
- Saucisson sec: A dry-cured and fermented sausage, served in slices.
- Pâté, terrine, and mousse: A mixture of fat, meat, and seasonings that’s ground or pureed to create a lighter texture, then served as a spread. A pâté made with foie gras is a true French delicacy.
- Jambon de Bayonne: A cured ham similar to prosciutto, served in thin slices.
2. French Cheeses
French cheeses make up some of the most common charcuterie board ingredients, so you’re likely already including some on your boards. A good French charcuterie board will include a variety of different types of cheeses, including:
- Something buttery like brie or camembert
- Something funky like bleu cheese
- Something nutty like gruyere
- Something creamy like chevre
Don’t forget plenty of fresh baguette slices to serve with your cheeses!
3. Spreadable Flavor Enhancers
Jams, honeys, mustards, and more are welcome additions to any charcuterie board. Spreading any one of these on cheese or meat can bring out new flavors and create an entirely different culinary experience. Include several small bowls on your platter with different options, plus little spoons for serving.
The French love some acidity on their charcuterie boards, and nowhere does that show up more than cornichons. These tiny pickled cucumbers are not only an adorable addition to your platter, but their tart and briny flavor adds the perfect balance to rich bites of cheese and meat.
5. A Pastry Treat
In a country known for its strong pastry game, there’s no reason this can’t extend to a charcuterie board. Consider including cheesy gougeres or a baked brie covered in puff pastry if you’re sticking with the savory route, or even whipping up cream puffs or eclairs if you’re building a dessert charcuterie board.
Italian Charcuterie Boards
While charcuterie is most famous with the French, Italians are also fans of giant spreads of food to accompany wine. What is a charcuterie board called in Italy? A salumi board if you’re sticking to the traditional meat and cheese, or an antipasto platter if you’re getting a little more creative with your snack options. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Italian Salume
There are plenty of cured meats special to Italy that you can include on a regional charcuterie board, including:
- Salami: Cured sausages that have a variety of herbs and spices as flavoring.
- Nduja: A spicy salami with a texture similar to pate, which can be spread on bread.
- Speck: Like an extra smoky prosciutto.
- Bresaola: A cured beef, which can provide nice variety with all the pork above.
2. Italian Cheeses
The best Italian cheeses tend to be either hard and nutty (like hunks of parmigiano reggiano or pecorino) or soft and creamy (like mozzarella, burrata, or fresh ricotta). Include a mixture of both for a balanced platter.
3. Marinated Vegetables
Sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, roasted red peppers, grilled artichoke hearts, marinated gigante beans or mushrooms, or really anything from the olive bar at your favorite grocery store would be strong additions to an Italian charcuterie platter.
This fresh antipasto spread adds a great contrasting element to any charcuterie board. Classically made with chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil, and vinegar, there are also tons of creative variations depending on the season and your mood.
Looking for the perfect carb for your Italian charcuterie board? Focaccia is the answer! This classic leavened flatbread is cooked with plenty of olive oil, leading to a perfectly pillowy interior surrounded by a cruncy, golden-brown exterior.
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Spanish Charcuterie Boards
Head further south, and you’re in the land of snacking for dinner. Fill out the perfect Spanish charcuterie board with the country’s classic tapas, such as:
1. Spanish Cured Meats
Spain is most famous for its jamon Iberico or Serrano, so make sure to include some delicate slices of this cured pork on your platter. Don’t forget the chorizo if you want a little something spicy!
2. Spanish Cheeses
Spain has just as much variety in the cheese department as France or Italy, so it’s worth going to your local cheese counter and exploring what they have to find your favorites. Manchego, however, is one you definitely shouldn’t miss—it’s Spain’s most famous cheese and is mild enough to pair well with almost anything.
3. Olives Galore
As the top producer of olive oil in the world, the Spanish never skimp on their olives. Include a variety on your platter—even some marinated or roasted ones. And, of course, make sure to have some high-quality olive oil for dipping.
Unlike any other Mediterranean region, a Spanish charcuterie board is likely to include some sort of seafood, whether it’s a classic tapas like gambas al ajillo (shrimp in garlic oil) and crispy fried calamari, or even tinned fish in oil to spoon over crusty bread.
5. Spanish Tapas
Of course, no Spanish snacking board is complete without some tapas. Gooey, fried croquettes, blistered padron peppers, or even little slices of tortilla de patata would all be welcome finger foods for your board.
Greek Charcuterie Boards
Ready for the most colorful charcuterie boards of all? It’s time to go Greek! Often called a mezze platter in the region, these tasty trays may include:
1. Greek Meats
The Greek aren’t as big on cured meats, and this would be an easy vegetarian (or even vegan!) charcuterie board option. However, if you do want some meat, go with some grilled shawarma or kebabs.
2. Greek Cheeses
The name of the game with Greek cheeses is salty and briny. Don’t skimp on the feta (you could even marinate or bake it), or try grilled halloumi.
3. Hummus and Other Dips
Dips are the star of the show on a Greek mezze platter. Include any variety of hummus you choose, tzatziki (yogurt and cucumber dip), roasted eggplant dip (called melitzanosalata or baba ganoush), and any other dip your heart desires. Don’t forget plenty of pita bread or pita chips!
4. Fresh Veggies
More than any other region, you’ll find Greek mezze platters piled high with fresh veggies ready for the dipping. Think: slices of sweet peppers, crunchy cucumbers and radishes, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced rainbow carrots, or anything else that would add brightness to the platter and pair well with your dips.
Other Mediterranean Charcuterie Board Ideas
1. Stuffed Dates
Dates stuffed with creamy cheese and wrapped with bacon or prosciutto provide the perfect balance of sweet and salty, but there are plenty of other varieties of this Mediterranean snack to suit your taste!
This classic dish across the Mediterranean region consists of any combination of rice, meat, herbs, and veggies rolled up in leaves from the grape vine and then steamed to create the perfect, comforting finger food.
Sort of like a Lebanese meatloaf, kibbeh can be formed into little bite-sized balls and fried up for your mezze platter.
4. Falafel Balls
Feeding vegetarians? Take the same approach with falafel, turning chickpeas and herbs into delicious fried bites.
Get Creative With Your Mezze Board
The best part about charcuterie is: There really are no rules! Pick your favorite snacks and combine flavors from different regions to create your ideal Mediterranean charcuterie board. Just don’t forget a nice glass of regional wine to wash it all down.
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