Charcuterie Board Ideas: 8 Types Of Cured Meats Popular In France

By Annie André

Want to throw a fancy cocktail party or impress your friends? Invite them over and serve them a French “charcuterie plate” or “charcuterie board” of dried cured meats that are artful masterpieces. Not sure which cured meats to put on your cheese plate? Here are 8 types of cured meats popular in France-described and explained.

Charcuterie board types of cured meats to serve for a party

8 types of cured meats for your Charcuterie board and cheese board.

The world owes France and French culture a debt of gratitude for introducing to the world to its wonderful French food, excellent wine and its many fine cheeses, which are practically a national obsession.

If the French consider something is worth eating, it’s worth eating by the rest of us too.

Take Charcuterie (shahr-kyu-tuh-ree) for instance, which is simply a smokedcured or cooked meat. In France, serving a charcuterie board of cured meats, aka cold cuts, alongside a variety of cheeses, bread, fruits, and other tasty nibbly bits is actually quite common- not only at parties but also for family get-togethers because it not only looks beautiful but tastes fantastic and is easy to put together.

Although you could easily put any cured meats and cold cuts on a charcuterie tray, if you really want to wow your guests, you should consider adding some higher-end cured meats to your charcuterie board; some of which are made in France and some of which are made in neighbouring European countries.

pintrest pin about French Charcuterie Plate Ideas

1. Jambon de Bayonne (The French Prosciutto)

If you really want to class up your charcuterie platter, you need to include the most famous French cured ham, jambon de Bayonne (Bayonne ham), considered the Champagne of hams throughout Europe.

This premium cured ham is named after Bayonne‘s ancient port city in the far South West of France, where it has been sold for generations. 

Similar to how champagne can only be called champagne if it’s produced in the Champagne region of France, producers of Bayonne ham must follow strict regulations concerning diet, care, transport, slaughter and fat content if they want to call their hams Bayonne. Producers of this cured meat delicacy can only use eight distinct breeds of pig.

In order to bring out the unique, delicate, slightly sweet but not overly salty flavour, these Bayonne hams are salted and hung to air-dry for a minimum of seven months with the best being cured for 12 months. However, because Bayonne ham tends to be chewy compared to other hams, it’s usually sliced paper-thin.

It can be difficult to find this premium cold cut outside of Europe. Luckily, there are sites online where you can order this beloved French cured meat, but you may have to buy a huge 12 to a 15-pound leg, which you then have to mount on to a ham holder (support de jambon).  Don’t worry; it’s cured, so you can keep it for months. 

Jambon de Bayonne: a popular cured meat eaten in France

 

French Jambon de Bayonne (ham) French Jambon de Bayonne (ham)
$249.95 ($249.95 / Count)

Tost famous French cured ham, jambon de Bayonne (Bayonne ham), is considered the Champagne of hams throughout Europe.

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Cured Ham Stand Holder Cured Ham Stand Holder
$89.99

Ham stand with a knife + sharpening steel + ham cover + kitchen cloth and tongs. A complete kit for both professionals and home cooks to cut Serrano, Iberian ham, Italian prosciutto and more.

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You might be interested in reading weird food French people eat for New Year’s Eve. 

2. Prosciutto

If you can’t find French jambon de Bayonne, there’s always Italian Prosciutto for your charcuterie plate. Like French Jambon de Bayonne, Prosciutto is cured by salting and hung to air dry.  The curing process can take anywhere from nine months to two years.

Prosciutto ham from Italy Prosciutto ham from Italy
$69.99 ($4.37 / Ounce)
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3. Jambon de Savoie (Savoy ham)

Jambon de savoie (savoy ham)

Fine food purveyors will love jambon de Savoie from the Savoy region of France. Like Bayonne ham, Savoy hams are produced under similarly strict conditions but are boiled before being hung to air cure for a minimum of 12 months in Alpine curing sheds at an altitude of at least 600 metres.

This delicious ham is also richer and saltier tasting than Bayonne ham. Another interesting thing about Savoy hams is it can also be smoked, which gives the meat a stronger taste than most cured meats making it a popular choice for French charcuterie boards.

4. Coppa

Coppa, pork counterpart of the air-dried, cured beef Bresaola, is also called capicolla or capocollo. 

Although not French, Italian Coppa ham is an extremely popular type of cured meat. French people love to add to their charcuterie boards.  It’s actually very similar in taste to prosciutto. However, unlike Bayonne ham, Coppa is made from the pig’s shoulder or neck instead of the back leg.

Before being salted and stuffed into a natural casing and hung for up to six months to cure, coppa is first lightly seasoned- sometimes with white or red wine, garlic, and various herbs and spices depending on the region. 

 

coppa: A popular type of cured meat eaten in France

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5. Bresaola Beef

Unlike the vast majority of cured meats you’ll typically find on a French charcuterie platter, bresaola is made from beef instead of pork. Like Coppa, before this Italian cured meat is air-cured, it’s seasoned with a dry rub of salt and spices, nutmeg, Juniper berries and cinnamon before air curing for one to three months.

The result is a very rich tasting, soft and tender meat for your charcuterie plate.  It can also be eaten on its own similar how you might eat beef Carpaccio- sliced thin and drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil and maybe even a little bit of parmesan.

Bresaola: saucisson sec: A popular type of cured meat eaten in France

Bresaola beef Bresaola beef
$69.95 ($1.46 / Ounce)
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6. Speck Ham

Speck from the Tyrol region of Italy is like a smoked variation of prosciutto. Before the speck is cured, the pig’s hindquarters are rubbed with various spices, including juniper berries, bay leaves, nutmeg and garlic. Then it’s smoked and aged, giving this cured meat a more robust, intense taste than prosciutto. Add it to your Charcuterie board and watch their reaction. Speck: A popular type of cured meat eaten in France

Speck Ham Speck Ham
$69.83 ($0.87 / Ounce)
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7. Saucisson Sec (French-style dry sausage)

This thick, French sausage is dry-cured, and while it’s typically made of pork, it can also be made from pork and a mixture of other meats. Similar to North America’s summer sausage or Italy’s dry-cured salamis, the recipe for saucisson sec typically calls for a mix of lean meat, back fat, salt, spices such as peppers and garlic, sugar, fermenting bacteria, fruits, nuts, nitrites, and even wine or cheese.

saucisson sec: A popular type of cured meat eaten in France

8. Lomo Serrano

A popular Spanish cured meat, Lomo Serrano is made from dry-cured pork tenderloin, and the result is pillowy soft and rich in flavour. Lomo comes in a variety of distinct flavours, not from the curing process, but from the breed of pig used. Lower in fat than many charcuterie options, eat makes a nice addition to any charcuterie platter especially if you add some nice Spanish cheeses.

Lomo-saucisson: A popular type of cured meat eaten in France

lomo serrano ham lomo serrano ham
$39.95 ($4.99 / Ounce)
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Variety of cured meats

If you’re unable to find any of the cured meats from this list, or you’re in a hurry, here are some variety packs of cured meats for your charcuterie boards. 

Pork Charcuterie (6 different types) Artisan, Nitrate-Free, Naturally Cured Pork Charcuterie (6 different types) Artisan, Nitrate-Free, Naturally Cured
$78.00 ($1.62 / Ounce)
  • Artisanal, Uncured, Nitrate-Free Salamis made in the San Francisco Bay Area
  • Naturally Cured, Old-World Style, All Natural, Mold and paper wrapped
  • Small family company has been making salamis in the Bay Area since 1937
  • You will receive one each of Pepperoni, 5 Alarm Habanero, Cabernet Wine, Fennel & Pepper, San Francisco Style, & Hot Toscano
  • 8oz sticks. The perfect gift for the food lover in your life!


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Things you can add to your Charcuterie platter

Making a Charcuterie platter is almost like making a work of art. It’s really up to you what you add. Here are a few classic accompaniements that are commonly found on French Charcuterie platters. 

Slate Cheese Board Slate Cheese Board

The classic slate board makes a great cheese board or Charcuterie board to serve your favourite cheeses and cured meats at dinner parties. Use chalk to identify the different food items on the platter. 

Roquefort cheese Roquefort cheese
$14.99 ($2.00 / Ounce)
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Brie cheese (from France) Brie cheese (from France)
$37.95 ($1.19 / Ounce)
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Comte Cheese Comte Cheese
$27.95 ($27.95 / Count)
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Make cured meats at home

Boring Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you use them to buy something, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you which helps me buy more croissants. Merci for your support.

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