Jarcuterie: A New Take on Charcuterie Boards in Catering

Jarcuterie

As we all know…charcuterie is all the rage.  Artful charcuterie boards populate our Instagram feeds and show up at the top of restaurant menus.  Cured meats, gourmet cheeses, toasted nuts, pickled veggies, and seasonal fruits all coexist as artwork together on a charcuterie board.  It’s a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds. We all love to mingle and drink around a beautiful spread.

Post pandemic, most of us are a little more hesitant to share food, regardless of whether the food is served by a caterer or by a friend in their home.  The answer?  A not-so-new trend that’s here to stay; Jarcuterie.  Jarcuterie is an artfully designed, mini version of the beloved charcuterie board that fits snugly into a container.  But is jarcuterie a passing fancy or is it here to stay?

Go Beyond The Jar

Whether served in paper cones, mason jelly jars, or even in edible containers like waffle cones or mini bread bowls, jarcuterie can be served in basically anything. Although the word “jar” is in the name, the concept can even be adapted to shot glasses, votive holders, paper cups, or mugs.

Jarcuterie in a cone

Image from Pinterest.com

Other Adaptations

We all think of the usual cast of characters from a charcuterie board like meats and cheeses, but the jarcuterie trend is really derived from anything served individually that can be eaten with your fingers.  So, let your imagination run wild with dessert assortments, candy, crudité, and meat and sweet combinations!

You could opt for a Christmas votive stuffed with peppermint sticks, holiday fudge and Christmas cookies.  Maybe you’ve got vegans or vegetarians on your guest list.  Go with firm tofu, veggies and fruits.  Afraid of triggering a nut allergy? Considering substituting nuts for roasted chickpeas or dried wasabi edamame.  Want to have fun with a Mexican fiesta theme?  Stuff your jarcuterie with taquitos, flautas, and colorful peppers!

You don’t have to limit yourself to one type of jarcuterie for your catering event.  Offer guests a mix of sweet and savory by building some of each.  Feeding some vegetarians, and some meat lovers?  Prepare some of each.

How To Build Jarcuterie

While there is no right or wrong way to build jarcuterie, there are a few helpful hints to add flair.  Think of it like flower arranging, you’ll need some smaller items along the bottom then you want to build height.  Things like mixed nuts, or small dried fruits or berries should go into the bottom of the container.  Then start to build height with cured meats and cheeses that are artfully rolled or folded like a ribbon and skewered.  If using skewers, be sure to top each skewer off with an olive, mozzarella pearl or piece of fruit for a finished look.  Layer in some ingredients to make it snug in the middle with some cracker sticks and fresh rosemary.

Play With Color

Think about the fact that we all eat with our eyes first when considering the contents of your jarcuterie.  Color variations help showcase the variety of the contents and also convey abundance.  Berries contribute deep colors like reds and purples, edible flowers can bring in any color under the sun, green olives or fresh rosemary add a pop of fresh green, cheeses can be variations of white and yellow and meats bring the warmth.

Don’t Forget To Dress Up Your Jars

Jarcuterie is certainly festive in its own right, so it doesn’t need much (if any) exterior dressing.  But each container can be adorned with twine, business logos, ribbons, wrapping paper, and more to help convey the theme of the event.  These simple tricks can help dress up your jarcuterie to add even greater visual impact to an already colorful, texture-rich treat.

Let Your New Orleans Caterer’s Imagination Run Wild

At Messina’s Catering & Events, we’ve been preparing and serving artful hors d’oeuvres in New Orleans events since 1961.  We know that single-serve grazing is in high demand, and good things can come in small packages.  Although jarcuterie may be small in size, done well they can be very memorable with the right ingredients and a creative presentation. Want more ideas?  Check out the hashtag #jarcuterie on Instagram!