John Castellucci shares his tips for building a charcuterie board
Nothing sets the tone for a summer meal like a well-made charcuterie board. With meats, cheeses and accents of jams and pickled veggies, it’s a fun DIY appetizer. Plus, there’s no cooking involved! Even if you’re just enjoying a casual evening with the family, charcuterie boards are the perfect way to start a meal.
For tips on how to put together a decadent spread, we chatted with John Castellucci, executive chef of The Iberian Pig in Buckhead. Source meats and cheeses. Castellucci likes to go to Savi Provisions with locations in Buckhead and Brookhaven. “Savi keeps a small but well-curated selection. They are constantly rotating purveyors and typically offer a lot of locally-farmed products,” he says. Try to get one to two ounces of meat per person.
Vary it up.
When it comes to selecting crowd pleasers, Castellucci suggests choosing a whole muscle cut such as prosciutto or jamón Ibérico. “They’re the most expensive but tend to be the stars of the show,” he says. He also likes sausages from locally owned Spotted Trotter. For cheese, he recommends having a variety of flavor intensity by picking selections with different ages. He enjoys a soft rind such as La Tur from Italy and a hard cheese such as a 1-year aged Manchego.
Display the meats and cheeses by placing them in groups. Roll your meats if you can for a prettier aesthetic. One thing Castellucci advises against is overcrowding. “Give the meats, cheeses and accoutrements room to breathe. Let the art speak for itself and encourage more creative combinations!”
Accessorize to maximize flavor.
Castellucci likes to hit all the flavor notes—sweet, salty, savory and spicy— by accenting the board with nuts, honey, preserves and pickled veggies. Grainy mustard is especially good for any meat. Don’t stress about it. “Honestly, the combination of meats, cheese and accoutrements is all a matter of preference,” he adds. “Try as many combinations as possible until you find what is perfect for you.”
The Iberian Pig
3150 Roswell Road
Freelance writer covering food, travel, and interior design.