One of the easiest things to put together for any dinner party or celebration is a charcuterie board… Or, wait, a crudité board? Many online food blogs use the two terms interchangeably despite their differences.
Here is a quick rundown of how similar or different crudité and charcuterie boards are to help you decide which will better wow your friends and family.
The main difference is that one contains raw vegetables, and the other contains meat. Though charcuterie is often used to refer to the art of presenting appetisers, it is more specifically focused on presenting different types of meat. Crudité is the art of presenting raw vegetables.
What is Crudité?
Crudités is a fresh food lover’s dream. The name is French for raw things, which isn’t very specific. However, generally, crudités means a platter, board, or plate of raw vegetables.
That isn’t to say that you should rip raw vegetables up from the ground and plate them as they are. Crudité requires sophistication in how those vegetables are presented.
Some popular crudité veggies are carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, and sliced bell peppers.
A plate full of raw vegetables is not that appealing to most people, which is why other cold-served food is usually incorporated into crudités. So long as you have at least 4 vegetables as part of the crudité and try to make the vegetables the main focus of the board, you can be as creative as you want.
Using an array of cold dips like hummus or tzatziki are crudité staples.
Various pieces of cheese are also a go-to addition, though it can be easy to get carried away and turn your crudité into a cheese board. Remember, veggies are the star.
For the most part, bread and crackers are avoided when putting together a crudité, ensuring that the main focus is on the vegetables. Some also add raw fruits such as grapes or olives, but to pair with the available veggies rather than outshine them.
You can keep a crudité board simple using pre-packaged dips and raw vegetables. However, you can also serve blanched asparagus and broccoli, for example, to remove their initial bitterness and serve them cold.
What is Charcuterie?
It is only in recent years that charcuterie has begun to be appreciated as culinary art, though it is not a new concept. Charcuterie is a traditional French method of presenting a range of appetisers.
Charcuterie was first used to help prolong the life of meat before fridges were invented.
Nowadays, charcuterie is an umbrella term used to refer to the art of presenting a selection of foods. But it means explicitly a selection of meats served together, often accompanied by some preserved olives or cheese to help make the older meat more enjoyable.
Pork is a popular meat used in charcuterie as it is easy to prepare while retaining a lot of flavour. Chicken has also gained popularity with modern charcuterie simply because it is one of the most versatile meats.
As for accompanying ingredients, olives and nuts are a go-to. A selection of honey, hummus, or savoury spreads are also used, carefully chosen to help emphasize the taste of the meats.
Some fruit and vegetables are popular in charcuterie so long as they pair well with the primary meat selection.
A lot of charcuteries will be presented with some artfully crafted cheese. Technically, charcuterie is specifically the meat portion of the board, but it is almost expected that when you mention charcuterie, the cheese will also be included.
Similarities Between Crudité and Charcuterie
There are so many similarities between crudité and charcuterie which is why they are so easily confused. For example:
- Unleash Your Creativity – The excellent thing about crudité and charcuterie is that they are a kind of art form. There is no one way to present either arrangement, so you can get as colourful and creative as you wish using a whole array of your favourite foods.
- Better With More – In the case of crudité and charcuterie, they work better when they include more than just meat or vegetables. You could present a bare and basic version of either, but they will taste better with a selection of cheeses, dips and spreads.
- French Origins – It is unclear exactly when either crudité or charcuterie were invented, just that they were a way to make food last before refrigeration was invented. However, both art forms are explicitly tied to France.
- All About The Presentation – What makes charcuterie and crudité artforms is the detail and care put into how their respective focused foods are presented. There are no rules to either art form except to make the presentation beautiful and interesting, which is really what the heart of crudité and charcuterie is.
Differences Between Crudité and Charcuterie
However, the differences that crudité and charcuterie do have are essential to know when venturing into culinary art:
- Meat Vs Veggies – Although charcuterie has become synonymous with crudité in popular culture, the main focus of each type of platter is different. Charcuterie specifically centres meat, from dried meats to fried chicken. Crudité puts focus on an array of raw or slightly cooked vegetables.
- Simplicity – Because a crudité almost exclusively consists of raw fruit and vegetables, it is very easy to put together.
All you need to do is pick out your favourite fresh veggies and arrange them prettily on a plate. Charcuteries take more time to put together and can also be challenging to navigate if you are unsure how to pair certain meats or cooked food.
- Vegan / Veggie Friendly – It goes without saying that the vast majority of charcuterie will not be suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Some modern takes on charcuterie may use beyond meat products, but for the most part, charcuterie is exclusively meat orientated. Crudité is much more likely to be vegetarian and vegan-friendly.
Crudité vs Charcuterie: Which Wins?
You can only have one for the rest of your life. You have to forfeit the other. Which one do you vote for in a crudité vs charcuterie fight?
Do You Prefer Crudité or Charcuterie?
Crudité and Charcuterie FAQs
Do you have further questions about crudité and charcuterie and how they compare? Then these FAQs might be interesting to you:
The main ingredient on crudité boards will be raw vegetables. This will usually include carrots, celery and cucumber sticks. But it can also include any raw or blanched vegetables.
The main element of any charcuterie board is dried or cured meats. A charcuterie board can include some olives, capers, cheese and dips but the main focus must be on the meat.
Acacia may be a freelance writer by day, but they are a food fanatic by night. They are always trying out new recipes or finding different ways to elevate classical dishes. But their biggest culinary aim is to educate others on the basics of the kitchen so that they too can enjoy delicious food.