What Geoffrey Zakarian Says Is Missing From Your Charcuterie Board - Exclusive

Everyone loves a charcuterie board. Whether it is for a fancy dinner party or simply a day that ends in Y, charcuterie has become the gold standard for snacking. The word charcuterie literally means specialized meat products. While it may seem easy, paring meats and cheeses and putting together a perfectly balanced board is an art. Thankfully noted Chef Geoffrey Zakarian is here to help. Zakarian is known for his exquisite cuisine that focuses on quality ingredients and brings the same balance of flavors to the kitchen table. 

We got the chance to speak with Zakarian in an exclusive interview at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, where he revealed what items are missing from most people's charcuterie boards. In it, Zakarian explains what surprising ingredient is worth including, as well as a meat item he feels is too often absent. Following his tips is sure to make your board a cut above the rest.

It is all about balance

Geoffrey Zakarian's favorite way to dress up a charcuterie board comes from a profoundly underrated product: bologna. But not the cheap stuff you find in a plastic package at the grocery store or paired with American singles and crackers in Lunchables. Zakarian says your charcuterie board needs "real bologna, cubed — which is called mortadella." Mortadella is an Italian sausage product that is pink in color and speckled with lardelli chunks, pistachios, and peppercorns.

Next, Zakarian advises a surprising addition. He remarks, "As much as I like cheese, I almost like pickles more. You really need that sour bite as a bit of relief from all the fatty meat and cheese." We all love cheese, but Zakarian notes that if you want to take your charcuterie board to the next level, you need something else. They will not only bolster the flavor of your board but add texture and color. Pickles are not just a side that accompanies your deli sandwich. There is a wide world of pickles, coming in all different shapes, sizes, and flavors. Play around with your board to find the perfect pickle to pair, and maybe even consider making your own.