A Charcuterie Platter With The Easiest Bread Ever

This time of year can be very overwhelming. Our to-do lists are bursting at the seams and there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. It’s definitely the time when you need a few good entertaining options at the ready.

Look no further than the charcuterie platter for an appetizer that has something for everyone. One of the greatest things about this appetizer is its simplicity. It really is just a matter of arranging a selection of prepared items on a platter or cutting board–making sure to include a mix of textures, flavours and colours.

Charcuterie is the French word for cured, smoked and preserved meat products, such as pate and sausage, as well as the butcher shop that sells them.

It is also standard fare to add a few other items to your charcuterie platter, including spiced nuts, cheeses, pickles, mustard and bread or crackers. Cornichons and gherkins are a popular way to add a bit of acidity to the platter. I usually have a second platter or plate with the cheeses, but it really is a matter of personal preference.

Here’s a list of things that you can include on your platter:

  • Mix of several meats — cooked and cured (I usually use three such as salami, bresaola and pastrami)
  • Gherkins/cornichons
  • Mustard — a good dijon and/or whole grain mustard
  • Chutney or jam, such as onion or fig (I love to use camelized onion chutney)
  • Cheeses – For example, 2 soft cheese and 2 hard cheeses, including mix of flavours and textures. I always include either brie or camembert, since they are a crowd favourite.
  • Nuts – I like to use my paprika-smoked almonds
  • Fruits – grapes and dried apricots are popular choices
  • Bread/crackers – I like to have at least one type of bread and one type of cracker, but sometimes I include a couple of each. I usually have either a bread or a cracker with raisins. There so many great arisanal crackers to choose from these days.
  • A good red wine — I think this is an ESSENTIAL ingredient to a good charcuterie platter!

If you want to elevate things a little bit, you can try your hand at making your own bread. I’ve started to make the Irish Soda bread below, which just happens to be the easiest bread in the world. You mix it up in less than five minutes, and it cooks in about 20 minutes. This is the first and only bread I’ve ever made and it amazes me how simple this is every time I make it.

No-Knead Raisin Soda Bread

Recipe from Cookery School at Eckington Manor

  • 1-1/2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place flour, salt and baking soda in a mixing bowl and stir together. Fold in buttermilk and raisins.
  3. Turn dough out onto a well-floured work surface and roll around to lose stickiness; form into a ball. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper and then add dough. Score a deep X on the top to allow steam to escape and bake for 17-20 minutes.

NOTES:

  • For a buttermilk substitute, you can add 1 tsp of vinegar to 1 cup of milk. It is recommended that you let this sit for 15 minutes to allow the milk to sour.
  • Here is the original recipe for the Raisin Soda Bread. However, I did make this without the raisins as the recipe suggests once, but I found it too sticky and added an extra 1/4 cup of flour to the mixture. In both cases, I did not add the cinnamon. I really prefer the version with raisins though.
  • The charcuterie platter is very kid friendly. One of my girls needs to be watched because she will eat ALL of the salami . . . and they are both very BIG fans of the paprika-spiced nuts.

Cookbook Giveaway

I’m pleased to report that Barb Bamber of Just a Smidgen is the winner of my cookbook giveaway. My eldest ponytail drew the winning entry. I’ve just heard from Barb and she’s selected Ina Garten’s new cookbook Foolproof. Congratulations Barb! A special thanks to everyone who left a message or signed up for email updates.

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76 Comments on “A Charcuterie Platter With The Easiest Bread Ever”

  1. A_Boleyn says:

    Other than the pickles/gherkins, I’m all over that platter. I had something very similar Saturday after a trip to the bakery and city market. :) What kind of fruit/nut/seed bread is that on the mid-left of the platter?

    As to the soda bread … I’ve made something similar in the past but now that I’m cooking for one I find it’s easier to buy my bread (usually in bun form) as fresh bread is the best while even day old bread … not so great.

    The picture is under the LJ cut.

    http://a-boleyn.livejournal.com/117733.html

    • Thanks Maria. The crackers on the left-hand side are Raisins & Black Currant Artisan Crisps from Lowblaws (part of their black label collection). You can find them in the deli section by the pre-packaged cold cuts etc. I can certainly understand that you find it better to buy your bread for one person. I’m off to check out your link now. Thanks!

  2. Looks wonderful! Bookmarking the bread.

  3. I love how elegant yet simple this idea is!
    I have never tried making soda bread although I have always wanted to!
    bookmarking your recipe to try soon

  4. I love making bread and adore charcuterie platters – this looks like heaven! The bread is on my list! :) V

    • Aren’t charcuterie platters just the best? So simple but so good. Sounds like you have lots of bread making experience. I’ll have to check out your site for some tips, since this is the extent of my experience making bread.

  5. Eva Taylor says:

    This is really one if our all time fav’s; we live to order it at restaurants too. If you have this on Christmas Eve, your ponytails are not the only ones who will need watching!
    I haven’t made Irish Soda Bread in years! Very nice photos, BTW.

  6. Great post – it reminds me of so many wonderful times sampling local delicacies in both France and Italy! Ah the blight of itchy feet!! That bread looks great too.

    • Yes, the blight of itchy feet. You know my feet were itchy for years, but I’m afraid I don’t get around much anymore. I’ve had many wonderful meals in Italy and France too…glad that this post brought back some good memories for you.

  7. What a stylish and totally French platter my friend – I’m inspired ;)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  8. Saskia (1=2) says:

    I have one word to say. YUM.
    Beautiful photos Barb. That platter is so up my alley – grainy crackers, cornichons and 3 types of meat. Heaven! My boys are salami lovers too. They love coming to the deli with me as the lady always passes them a few slices.
    PS. We love soda bread too. Yours looks fab.

    • Thanks Saskia! I can see why your boys enjoy going to the deli with you…I’d like to join you too! Isn’t soda bread remarkably easy? I can’t get over how simple it is to make! This was the perfect post since it was such a hectic weekend. Some times it gets difficult to keep everything going, don’t you find?

      • Saskia (1=2) says:

        Absolutely! Hectic weekend coming up for us too, starting tomorrow with a kinder mum’s Christmas lunch (which I’m very much looking forward to wagging work for); followed by 2 Christmas functions on Saturday. All fun stuff, so I’m not complaining, but simple meals are most definitely on our agenda for the next few days…

  9. Ali says:

    Oooh, one of my favourite things! I love, love, love a charcuterie platter….with cheese as well! And, they really are so easy to put together! Lovely photos :)

  10. Yes! Will make this bread – to go with our fav cheeses too. Thanks Barb

  11. Sarah says:

    Oh boy does this ever look wonderful. Is 9:30 in the morning too early for this? I’m officially starving.

    Gotta say congrats to Smidge, a fellow Ina fan!

    • Actually that wasn’t too early at all! (I love cheese in the morning…although I don’t usually go for the meat that early.) I was pleased that Smidge won the prize too, as I’m a huge fan of her blog. Ina’s the best, isn’t she?

      • Sarah says:

        She is. I adore her. We just made the Pasta Alla Vecchia Bartolla from Foolproof for dinner, and it is amazing…like everything she does :) What a great book for a giveaway!

  12. erika says:

    YUM! I’ve been meaning to make soda bread for ages, and what a simple recipe! I pretty much have no excuse NOT to make it now :) Also, my boyfriend is on a total cheese obsession kick right now, so a charcuterie plate would be right up his alley. Thanks for the great tips!

  13. I love charcuterie – such a great way to eat! Cozy food :-)
    The bread looks fabulous too!!

  14. What an impressive spread! I can’t wait to try this bread—easy peasy, lemon squeezy =)

  15. Norma Chang says:

    Great presentation and combination. Bread is rustic and elegant at the same time, on my to make list..

  16. You’re right. Soda bread is so simple to make. Yours looks delicious.

  17. petit4chocolatier says:

    I am loving the platter and your soda bread!! I shy away from baking bread. I leave it to the masters like you!!!

  18. rebecca says:

    love the name of your blog and I must try this soda bread :-)

  19. I love the bread, Then again I love all bread! Thanks for this post, I’m currently collecting ideas for my nan’s Christmas get together,i promised I’d help this year, so I’m popping this on the list if you don’t mind!

  20. Sissi says:

    Ne knead bread??? Wow! This sounds like a miraculous recipe. I will certainly try it one day (when I have guests, because from what I see this bread might end up finished by myself alone; it looks extremely tempting!). The whole platter looks beautiful and appetising. I often make it on a weekend night when I don’t feel like cooking. It’s a great dinner even alone. I totally agree: good wine is essential!

    • I have to say that I did eat quite a bit of this loaf myself Sissi! Isn’t it great to have this as a meal with a great glass of wine? I couldn’t agree more! It is perfect when you are on your own because it is nice to have a break from cooking once in a while.

  21. Tandy says:

    We usually do a charcuterie platter for Christmas lunch and I’m always looking for inspiration! Thanks for sharing :)

  22. I adore charcuterie platter and even more so now that we have a local cured meat purveyor. What a lovely idea to serve Irish soda bread with it…seems so perfect together and I would never have thought of that! Hope you’re feeling better, Barb!

  23. good lord. i need to stop reading your blog mid-day. I start drooling, head to my kitchen and end up eating something that doesn’t look half as good as what you post on here. 0_o *mental note….drink gallon of water before catching up on blogs*

  24. I find this to be the best lunch for a crowd and everyone gets just what they want to eat. I love the photos!

  25. Love it! So glad you posted this fantastic breakdown because I’ve always been a bit daunted by fancy looking charcuterie plates. I don’t know what to include or how to plate things. Freaks. Me. Out. I think I may be ready to do my own charcuterie plate. Maybe.

  26. Nicole says:

    I love your photos!

  27. Who needs dinner? Just park this beautiful charcuterie tray in front of me! Seriously, just an amazing sight. And loving your soda bread, too~

    • Thank you very much. I agree — who needs dinner. I’m an appetizer kind of person. For some reason I think that I can eat endless amounts of appies, in place of a meal … like it’s calorie-free or something just because it’s an appie.

  28. Kristy says:

    You’ve sold me on the no-knead! This is a bread that I can get behind. And I love charcuterie. It never crossed my mind to make it at home, but we order it all the time in restaurants. Great idea and perfect timing for the holiday season too Barb! The caramelized onion chutney sounds heavenly too.

    • Thanks Kristy. Hopefully you are digging out from your avalance? I have to say that this platter and bread are both great options for the holidays when you are time-stretched. So easy, but really tasty. Hope you make it at home one of these days.

  29. A picnic party! How fun! I tried to make soda bread a long time ago and something did not go as planned as I ended up using it as a door stop. However, I know your recipe will be perfect, as they always are, so I can end up with a delightful bread for this amazing spread. Have a great weekend with the ponytails. Take care, bAM

    • Thanks Bam. Giggling over the image of the door stop — but finding that hard to believe! This recipe is really straight-forward and super quick! Looking forward to the weekend … it’ll be a great chance to get caught up on that crazy to do list. Hope you and all your men/boys have a good one too!

  30. Beth says:

    Soda bread is delicious (and easy), isn’t it? I grew up baking traditional bread, but it’s surprising how many easy recipes there are now.

    • It sure is Beth — as a novice bread maker I was pleasantly surprized! That’s so nice that you grew up making traditional bread — it’s a great skill to have. I’ll keep an eye out for tips on your blog since I still have a lot to learn!

  31. Simple, delicious and beautiful…perfect for an cozy party!

  32. Sophie33 says:

    Simple, yet very well flavoured platter of fine foods! That home-made bread looks amazing & so appetizing too! A must make! :) Yummmm!

  33. Charles says:

    Bread looks (and sounds) great Barb – super easy for an added bonus! I do love my cold meats and charcuterie, although I have to admit that I’ve gone off certain common meats of late. I prefer very simple ones now – smoked beef, reindeer, turkey – my wife’s father has a smoker and puts on a fantastic spread of smoked meats around this time of year! I’ve never tried bresaola but I’ve heard so much about it. Really want to try it but haven’t found it here yet.

  34. trangquynh says:

    you have such a nice blog over here, already followed your blog ^^

  35. Over here from Just a Smidgen… lovely platter. I just moved back to the states from Hamburg Germany and one custom I’ll bring home is abendbrot – basically a light meal in the evening that strongly resembles the charcuterie platter.
    I’m anxious to give this soda bread a try. cheers…wendy

    • Thanks so much for dropping by Wendy! I’m a big fan of Smidge’s blog. I will have to check out the abendbrot, as I haven’t heard about it. Good luck with settling back into the states, as I’m sure it is a big adjustment. What a wonderful experience you must have had in Germany. I’ll be sure to pop by your blog tomorrow, as I’m a little behind on my commenting and posting this week! The holidays are such a busy time.

  36. Beautiful, simple, tasty and quick! So much to love and it’s a great idea I’d wish I’d remember more often too! :)

  37. Amazing bread! I am making a loaf now. Mines Strawberry and Vanilla Bean though :)

  38. [...] Late afternoon we popped over to Barb‘s for some Christmas cheer and they had a gorgeous Charcuterie spread that was so moreish, we couldn’t stop eating. And then of course, we weren’t [...]

  39. […] Charcuterie Platter by Profiteroles & Ponytails […]

  40. A charcuterie platter is classic French food at its best – merci, too, for visiting/following my blog and Bonne Annee!


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