A charcuterie board is a go-to for any type of entertaining, but finding vegan alternatives isn't always easy. Traditionally, a charcuterie board is a meat and cheese platter that includes a variety of items that can be paired for mouth-watering combinations. They usually include various ingredients that complement the meats and cheeses for a fun DIY appetizer experience for your guests. With Zengarry fauxmages and some common meat alternatives, it's pretty effortless to put together a meat- and dairy-free version of this classic indulgence!
When building a charcuterie board, dishware plays a huge role in stepping up your presentation game. We prefer natural materials like slate or marble slabs or large wooden platters or boards. Some of our must-haves are a long wooden board, a cheese board, cheese knives, a few serving trays and a selection of mini bowls/dishes (short, wide-mouthed mason jars work well here). The rustic yet modern look of these serving elements will bring out the vibrant colors of each food item in this impressive spread, and serving dishes in natural materials and neutral colours let the food take centre stage!
Yves and Tofurky each have a selection of vegan deli slices, including faux turkey, ham and bologna. The slices are available at most grocery stores and we use them frequently. Another of our faves is Fontaine Santé's vegepaté. Most specialty grocery stores will have one or both flavours.
There are a number of meatless sausage alternatives readily available today including Gusta, Field Roast and Yves. Cut them into rounds and sauté them on each side just before serving. Coconut bacon, tempeh bacon or vegan jerky can all be great additions if you can get your hands on some at your local health food store. For a homemade alternative serve thinly sliced marinated portobello mushrooms.
Using a variety of cheeses with different textures and flavours results in a more balanced charcuterie board. Some milder cheeses and well as some with fuller, sharper flavour provides variety for pairing with the different elements of your offerings. We suggest using two or three of your favourite Zengarry fauxmages. We used the Aged Cumin, the Sundried Tomato & Basil, the Garlic & Fine Herbs and Ale Aged for our boards.
Bread and Crackers:
We always like to include some sliced baguette or foccacia along with a selection of crackers. It's nice to have at least one or two gluten free options like Mary's crackers or rice crackers. You want to avoid crackers or bread with too much flavour, but Enerjive's Ranch-style crackers work well with cheese and on their own.
Grainy flavoured mustards are a great for charcuterie plates because their acidity cuts through the richness of cheese and sweetness of dried fruits. We are partial to a horseradish dijon, but have run across many smokey and savoury mustards that would be great here. We also particularly like to include a spicy jelly like Garlic Pantry Garlic Scape and Jalapeño, Niagara Peach and Jalapeño or Spicy Red Pepper jelly. You could even go with your favourite chutney or a corn salsa.
Anything pickled or briny adds a bit of tang to your charcuterie board. There are so many amazing options here: gherkin pickles, pickled beans, cocktail onions, olives, artichokes, sundried tomatoes and capers.
Add in some seasonal fruit and veggies. Concord grapes, pears, apples, sliced tomatoes or cherry tomatoes are some of the traditional favourites. Look for produce that looks fresh and colourful since this is where most of the colour on your charcuterie board will come from.
Nuts and dried fruits help to cleanse the palette between meat and cheese samplings. Try adding dried apricots, figs or dried prunes. We usually include pistachios and pecans, but pine nuts, walnuts or almonds are just as great.
Try adding a few fresh herb sprigs or pine boughs for a decorative element.
Putting all of these elements together, you will end up with a board that has a variety of pairing options so that each and every bite is a little different from the last.
Last step, but certainly not least:
Serve with a variety of white and red wines and perhaps some locally made craft beer.