Experts welcome holiday season with insight on latest charcuterie trends

Consumers encouraged to make this year’s holiday charcuterie board the best one yet.

Posted on Dec 13 ,00:10

Experts welcome holiday season with insight on latest charcuterie trends

While no one holiday gathering is the same, certain traditional elements are consistent with parties this time of year. Lights and decorations adorn roofs, walls and fixtures, surrounded by beloved friends and family in the warmth of an inviting home. And of course, what holiday party is complete without an appetizing spread of delicious food?

Charcuterie has become an integral part of holiday celebrations for people throughout the country, as charcuterie boards - consisting of meat, cheese, acid, crunch and a “wow” factor — are especially popular this time of year. The charcuterie experts at Columbus, a subsidiary of Hormel Foods Corporation, are well aware of this emerging phenomenon, and as experts, they have their collective finger on the pulse of what’s trending in this space.

"We know more than three-quarters of those who have tried charcuterie love it", said Sean McNeil, senior brand manager for the Columbus® brand. "On social media, the visually appealing and engaging nature of charcuterie shines as trending content. There are 2.5 billion #charcuterie hashtags on TikTok, and there are 3.3 million #charcuterie posts on Instagram. And according to research from Exploding Topics, online consumer searches for ‘charcuterie board’ continue to spike, up 800% in five years".

With the holiday season upon us, now is the time to explore the latest charcuterie trends to enable consumers to take their holiday boards to the next level.

"Charcuterie is a staple at holiday events and parties, and for good reason", said Evan Inada, charcuterie director at Columbus. “Charcuterie boards are easy to assemble, and it’s a great opportunity to get creative and try something new.”

Consider the following tips and tricks from Inada and his team of experts:

  • WOW THE CROWD: Make your holiday board memorable with engaging elements that will impress your guests, providing not only delicious flavors, but an unforgettable experience as well. Consider adding chocolate or even leftover Halloween candy to the mix. Sweet and spicy candied ginger is another potential addition that provides an element of surprise to any charcuterie bite.
  • BRING THE HEAT: Use a flame to introduce a brulee of cheese, such as brie or goat cheese, to your holiday board. Consider adding “heat” in the spicy sense, too. The “Sun Kissed” combination - just one of a wide selection of Perfect Charcuterie Bites developed by the Columbus® brand team - marries the heat of Columbus® hot capicolla with the buttery flavor of a young Mahón cheese and a slightly charred fresh pineapple spear.
  • EASY ON THE EYE: Charcuterie is meant to be an experience. While taste is perhaps the foremost part of that experience, presentation is also important. Use of food molds, cutouts with knives, and cookie cutters can add eye-pleasing elements to a holiday board. Try adding a festive centerpiece, too, like Santa or a snowman. Make it fun!
  • DON’T FORGET THE DRINKS: Cocktail and mocktail pairings help enhance the flavors in salumi and accoutrements, making it ideal for holiday parties. Entertaining expert Paul Zahn, TV host and cocktail guru, recommends a dry lemon martini or perhaps a pear elderflower non-alcoholic spritz to pair with the Bold and Bleu bite. Certain meats also pair best with particular types of beer or whiskey, as the Columbus® brand team demonstrated earlier this year. The pairing options are endless. Said Zahn: "Pairing beverages with your holiday charcuterie is the perfect way to elevate any soiree!"

Need more charcuterie inspiration? Many Perfect Charcuterie Bites are available on the Columbus® Craft Meats website, all of which encourage aspiring charcutiers to try something unique and draw new inspiration for their own board making.

"Our Perfect Charcuterie Bite recipes have a balance of savory, acidic and sweet flavors, and complementary textures, so the flavors come together to create something magical that’s greater than the sum of its parts,” Inada said. “Whether you’re new to charcuterie or a seasoned charcutier, our team at Columbus aspires to be a resource for everyone around the holidays to make sure this year’s charcuterie board is the best one yet".

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