Putting together an eye-catching board with positive mental health practices: “Cheese plates can be an important form of artistic self-care, like flower arranging or meditative coloring books — but you can eat the results!”

Today’s fascination with charcuterie boards has less to do with the specifics of what’s on the plate, and more with the visual appeal of the whole.

Pretzel and cheese pairings? With a pungent blue, sharp cheddar and a stinky taleggio, this creation is perfect for fans of all things savory.

1 – CHEESE: Sharp Cheddar, Taleggio, Blue
2 – MEAT: Salami River
3 – PRODUCE: Any green Olives, Cornichons, Radishes, Marinated Artichokes
4 – CRUNCH: Soft Pretzels, Hard Pretzels, Pistachios, Mixed Nuts
5 – DIP: Honey Mustard, Grainy Mustard, Dijon Mustard
6 – GARNISH: Rosemary and Dried Flowers

 “Valentine’s” Plate, savory edition! Use heart shape box.

1 - CHEESE: Brie Style Goat Cheese, Manchego
2 - MEAT: Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus, Salami
3 - PRODUCE: Tomatoes, Roasted Red Peppers
4 - CRUNCH: Beet Crackers, Truffle Marcona Almonds
5 - DIP: N/A
6 - GARNISH: Fresh Thyme


It’s a time-consuming process that involves storing salami in specific temperature- and humidity-controlled conditions for weeks, even months. As anyone who has tasted great salami can probably attest, the end result is easily worth it.

Generally, however, the average salami sausage — consists of meat, quality pork fat, salt, and an assortment of flavorings that include (but are by no means not limited to) things like garlic, fennel, pepper, and even gung-ho stuff like wine and cinnamon. After the ingredients are good and mixed, in the casing it all goes. At this point, if the salami maker deals in cooked Cotto or fresh Fresco, their path veers toward easier cooking methods. Dry-cured salami, the all-time classic, is about to take a much longer, stranger path from raw to ready.

Once the sausage mixture is stuffed in a casing, the delicate process of fermenting a tube of meat filling into proper salami can truly begin. Dry-curing may be an ancient method, but salami-making is actually a pretty scientific process, per the University of Melbourne. The sausage gets its distinct taste from strains of beneficial bacteria, which make the sausage more acidic and help its contents gain dry-aged salami’s famously pleasant, chewy texture. Meanwhile, the salt pulls the excess moisture out of the mixture.

The journey usually starts by chopping the meat, and then grinding it. After that, it’s time for salt and spices. Most types of salami have around three percent salt, but the use of spices and the general composition of the sausage mixture varies heavily, depending on the type in question.

What's The Real Difference Between Pancetta And Prosciutto?

Pancetta and prosciutto are both cured meats, both pork products, both Italian, and both even start with the letter "p."

Pancetta is cured with salt, although spices and other aromatics may also be added in order to provide additional flavoring. Pancetta may be sold in thin slices or diced into little cubes.

The pig leg, or ham, that goes into making prosciutto is rubbed with a salt cure which may or may not contain extra spices. It is then hung to air dry for months or even years, during which time the salt will slowly draw out the moisture and concentrate the flavor. Once the prosciutto is deemed ready, it is shaved into paper-thin slices before being sold.

Pancetta is used to make spaghetti carbonara, lending the classic egg, cheese, and pasta dish its characteristic flavor. Pancetta cubes may also be sautéed, perhaps with onions or garlic, and used to add what Cook’s Illustrated calls “savory depth as well as intensely flavorful, meaty bites” to soups, stews and other pasta dishes.

Prosciutto frequently features on charcuterie boards and antipasto platters. Its delicate saltiness contrasts nicely with fruit, as when it is wrapped around melon or figs to make easy two-ingredient appetizers, and it also plays nicely with vegetables like asparagus. Prosciutto also stands out in salads and sandwiches, and it even makes a fabulous pizza topping without any of the grease that less-refined pork products like pepperoni and sausage can add.