How to put together a charcuterie bouquet aka salami flowers. A delicious arrangement of cured meats and other supporting edibles such as pickles, cherry tomatoes, bread sticks or pretzels, cheese cubes, grapes…
A charcuterie bouquet can impress and reap great rewards where ordinary flowers would normally fail, regardless of the sex of the recipient. Add a bottle of their favorite craft beer and you can be sure your gift will be appreciated and remembered.
Ingredients You Will Need
- salami (dry cured), beef jerky, smoked mini hot dogs, etc. Select types the recipient likes best.
- cheese – cut in cubes, or mozzarella pearls or sticks. Select types that go well with the salami you picked.
- peperoncini, olives, pickled okra, cherry tomatoes, grapes, bread sticks, etc. Select accompanying ingredients liked by the recipient and pleasing to the eye.
- edible greens such as parsley or spring onions or chives to use as finishing touches for the arrangement.
Household Items You Will Need
To create the arrangement you can rely on a few common household items (possibly with the exception of the butcher paper, see below).
- a bottom heavy, wide top vessel to serve as a vase. You really need a steady, heavy base for such a top heavy arrangement. I used a heavy half liter mass/beer stein made of thick glass and it worked well.
- long bamboo skewers and a good pair of scissors to trim them with in order to create varying height for the ‘flowers’.
- ribbon/bow or even twine to tie around the finished bouquet.
- in advance make adequate space in the refrigerator to store the salami arrangement once assembled and prior to being gifted. Cover it with plastic wrap so it will not dry out. Most likely this is something you will present in a home environment. If you can get away with making the bouquet and immediately gifting it – do it!
- butcher paper to wrap the arrangement and to help support it. Find the kind that is coated on one side. Non-coated paper will develop unsightly grease spots upon contact with the ingredients. You could also use freezer paper or wax paper.
TIP: The proper name for coated butcher paper is polyethylene coated freezer paper. It is expensive when sold in bulk. The best way to obtain some is to buy bacon or sausages or whatever you want from the specialty meat & seafood section of the grocery store and they will most likely wrap it up in freezer paper after plastic bagging it first. The paper will most likely remain in perfect shape to be reused. Or simply ask them for a clean sheet.
How to Make a Charcuterie Bouquet
The most important thing is to make sure that the arrangement does not topple once completed.
This depends on how heavy and numerous the salami and other ingredient skewers are and how stable and heavy the container.
- If needed weigh the bouquet container by placing something heavy on the bottom – for example pickling weights or a few clean decorative pebbles/rocks or marbles. Wrap them in gift tissue paper or similar first, to protect the container from breaking. Do your best to create a stable base for the top heavy bouquet.
- Cut and skewer the various ingredients and set aside.
- Fold the paper in such a manner that the coated side faces inwards towards where the salami flowers (and friends) will be placed. Nothing, not even sub-par charcuterie bouquet arrangement skills will have as adverse of an aesthetic effect as the oil blotches that will appear on the paper when in contact with the meats if it were not the coated.
- Once the paper is in place begin arranging the skewers. Decide which ones you’d like to stand lower/higher and trim the bottoms with kitchen scissors accordingly.
- Arrange any bread sticks or pretzel sticks as needed – use them to fill in gaps between the ‘flowers’.
- Place the edible greens around the skewers – as many or as a little as you’d like. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Beyond the Salami Bouquet – more DIY gift ideas for beer lovers
If you feel that assembling a flowerless bouquet might be too much work, consider these easier gift ideas.
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- Cured salami, smoked cocktail sausages, beef jerky, cherry tomatoes, grapes, mozzarella pearls, cheese cubes, peperoncini, bread or pretzel sticks, parsely, green onions etc.
- Bamboo skewers
- 1-2 sheets coated butcher paper or freezer paper, appropriately sized
- Bottom heavy container to serve as a vase - a heavy beer stein/mass, bucket etc.
- Any marbles, decorative rocks etc. you may need to weigh down the container if not heavy enough to offset the weight of the bouquet. Plus gift tissue paper to wrap them if the container is made of glass.
- Chef's knife + cutting board
- Kitchen scissors
- Cut the salami and other ingredients you intend to skewer and thread over the bamboo skewers. Set aside.
- Prepare the vase - if weighing it down wrap the weights in gift tissue paper.
- Arrange the coated butcher paper or freezer paper with the coated side facing in and create a shell for the bouquet.
- Arrange the skewers - trim bottoms as necessary using the kitchen scissors to achieve varying heights.
- Arrange any bread sticks or pretzels sticks and edible greens such as parsley. Tie around a ribbon on the outside of the arrangement to help keep the top part together.
- Cover with plastic to keep fresh and refrigerate.
Be sure to have adequate space in fridge before you begin the project.
Make as close to the gifting time as possible.