The pandemic has millennials obsessing over starting hobbies, mostly on DIY projects. Some are into growing plants, while curious ones have somehow unearthed a french food & lifestyle culture, all the while creating a twist into it - charcuterie plate.
The history of charcuterie stretches back to the 15th century. So why have charcuterie boards become so popular in 2019-2020?
The Rise in Popularity of Charcuterie Plates
A search for charcuterie on Instagram yields more than a thousand results, and with other social media platforms available such as Tiktok and Facebook, there have been a lot of groups dedicated to this craft. No wonder it has become more popular at a time of COVID when everyone's attention has been focused online.
The mass appeal of charcuterie in social media aligns with the rise of crafting culture, where people find joy in creating something which has inherently aesthetic qualities and pleasing features.
Aside from being photogenic, a charcuterie at home allows room for creativity and a break from the mundane. Some even translated this creative energy into additional income, doing occasional gigs of arranging charcuterie plates for other people or by posting samples online for marketing purposes.
Charcuterie as a hobby is relatively easy and cost-effective, qualities millennials are attracted to.
Charcuterie: A History
Charcuterie, pronounced as "shar-koo-tuh-ree," is the practice of preparing cured meat products. With “board” attached to it, charcuterie now refers to the assortment of meats, cheese, breads & crackers, fruits, nuts, preserves, and more, all artfully arranged on a serving board.
Historical accounts suggest that charcuterie rose to prominence to represent storefronts specializing in the preparation of meat (pig and offal) at a time when shop owners were not allowed to sell uncooked pork.
Though its beginning is from European roots, in American social life, the charcuterie board has been a mainstay for social events and casual gatherings.
Charcuterie Trends 2021
Though we have been used to seeing charcuterie boards, there are also modified versions that have taken much attention in social media.
1. Grazing Boxes
Quarantining has been made more fun with a box of meat, cheese, olives, and chocolates. Grazing boxes are charcuterie shipped to the door. Instead of a board, you get premade charcuterie food elements on lovely boxes, with thoughtful notes attached.
This charcuterie trend gives you the freedom to enjoy charcuterie at home. If you choose not to make one, you may order it online for a loved one.
2. Subscription-type: Charcuterie boxes
Subscription-type charcuterie boxes are grazing boxes scheduled to arrive at your door every month. Charcuterie services like this are extremely helpful for charcuterie virgins who want to impress their visitors right away.
With subscription-type charcuterie boxes from companies like Platterful, you get the exact amount of charcuterie elements you would need to set-up a nice charcuterie board. Ultimately, your goal here is to save time and money from going out to stores and end up buying things in volumes you don’t need.
3. Charcuterie Cones
Since the pandemic, most if not all had to be served individually. Presenting the charcuterie cones, which are served in paper cones or plastic cups.
You may ask what's the point of charcuterie if you can't gather and enjoy the beautiful display with family or friends. With COVID-19 very much still existing, this may do for now.
4. Themed Boards
Not everyone is a party goer, and some people are not into eating meat and cheese. Fret not, charcuterie now can also mean curating boards for specific themes like breakfast, afternoon-at-the-sea, Halloween, Valentines, Christmas, and more.
5. Grazing Tables
Who said charcuteries only go in boards or boxes? Something that we greatly missed in 2020 was gathering and connecting with our groups. The rehearsal dinners, graduation, family events, wedding, as an offshoot, we now see grazing tables, which are charcuterie boards fit for big groups.
Mostly done in countries fairly doing well in controlling their COVID-19 cases, grazing tables usually serve around 20 or more people.
With all these ideas of handmade artisanal charcuterie boards, we won't be surprised that by the end of 2021, everyone's already doing it. Everybody on social media is posting and sharing their journey, even modifying these categories mentioned above. To some extent, the obsession may start to wane sooner or maybe later.
So why have charcuterie boards become so popular in 2019-2020? We can list down some reasons why this has been the go-to for millennials. First is quality premium food products that deliver key factors.
Charcuterie is known to be experiential, which creates a positive and memorable experience shared with family and peers.
Second is convenience. A charcuterie plate is portable and easy to prepare and consume. Lastly, authentic, the history and traditions surrounding charcuterie as simple and real food provide a genuine story of creativity.