Mediterranean Charcuterie Board or Mezze Platter – a lavish spread that is not just a treat for your taste buds, but a feast for your eyes as well!
We will tell you how to make a Mezze Platter that will wow your guests the next time you have a get together…
This Mediterranean Charcuterie Board is a vibrant tableau of colors and textures, all artfully arranged to whisk you away on a culinary adventure through the Mediterranean coast.
From tasty colorful dips like Moroccan Zaalouk, Greek Tzatziki and everyone’s favorite hummus, to hearty keftedes meatballs to wrap with pitas, to fresh fruits, veggies, cheese and olives… every nibble elevates your senses and you won’t be able to resist coming back for seconds, or thirds!
Charcuterie boards have soared in popularity, becoming the ultimate go-to for entertaining. Once a staple of European dining, these boards have now conquered global palates, thanks in part to their Instagram-worthy aesthetics and endless customization options.
People are enamored by the idea of curating their own spreads, whether it’s for a date night at home, a holiday gathering, or an elegant cocktail party.
We decided to go this grazing board way recently for our son’s 5th birthday party. It was a fun party inviting all his school friends and parents, and getting to know his new crew from school.
Making a Mediterranean style board with different Mezze was super fun. Most of the dips were already featured on GypsyPlate, and we wanted to present these flavors that we adore to the guests, rather than going with store bought (though we did order pizza for the kiddos).
This board draws its inspiration from the cuisines of the Mediterranean region. Unlike traditional charcuterie boards, which mainly feature an array of meats and cheeses, this Mediterranean twist places a heavier emphasis on a colorful medley of fruits, vegetables, multiple finger licking addictive dips and olives.
It is a colorful and delicious assortment of snacks that offers something for everyone, and was a huge success. The good part… all this was arranged in less than 20 minutes, and then we could just relax and enjoy Noah’s birthday party.
Why Everyone Loves this Mediterranean Charcuterie Board
- Flavor Explosion: The board offers a range of flavors, from savory keftedes meatballs to creamy hummus and tangy tzatziki to delicious zaalouk. There’s something to satisfy every taste bud.
- Visual Appeal: The vibrant colors from the fruits and veggies make this board a feast for the eyes. Perfect for those Instagram snaps!
- Versatility: Whether it’s a casual hangout or a more formal affair, this board fits the occasion. Plus, it caters to various dietary preferences, making it a true crowd-pleaser.
- Interactive Experience: Guests can create their own perfect bites by mixing and matching ingredients. It adds a fun, engaging element to the dining experience.
- Mediterranean Essence: The board encapsulates the freshness and communal spirit of Mediterranean dining, elevating the eating experience.
- Feeds a Large Crowd and is Simple to Put Together: You can really load your board with an assortment of different components, and either make dips one day before entertaining or even buy quality store dips. With Charcuterie Boards, you are free to enjoy the company when all the prep work and assembly is done. You don’t need to tend to everybody and they can build their own meal or help themselves.
What is Charcuterie?
Pronounced as shaar-KOO-tuh-ree, (yes, so fancy), these boards originated in France. The word “charcuterie” translates to delicatessen, or more specifically “pork butcher shop”. In the French tradition, charcuterie is the art of preparing and assembling cured meats and meat products.
The idea of charcuterie has become very popular outside of France, and the term has evolved to include a variety of foods besides meat.
A charcuterie board is an assortment of meats, cheeses, artisan breads, olives, fruit, and nuts, all artfully arranged on a serving board. All the flavors are meant to compliment each other.
Over time, these boards become so popular that people started getting creative with different pairing options and innovative eating themes. They started to come up with elaborate grazing boards that has something for everyone.
What is a Mezze Platter?
A Mezze platter is a delightful assortment of small dishes, often served in the Middle East, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. It functions both as an appetizer or a full meal, depending on the occasion and the variety offered.
Mezze platters typically feature a selection of cold and hot dishes that celebrate fresh vegetables, grains, and proteins, usually in the form of dips, skewers, and finger foods.
The components can vary widely but often include dips like hummus, tzatziki, or baba ganoush, paired with pita bread or other flatbreads.
Fresh or grilled vegetables, olives, and cheeses like feta or halloumi are also commonly featured. Skewered or ground meats such as kebabs or kofta can be included.
Here is what we used for our board. We’ll give you plenty of other ideas later in the post.
- Tzatziki – Choose a high-quality store-bought version, or follow our Tzatziki Recipe.
- Hummus – Like tzatziki, you can make Homemade Hummus, or go with a good quality brand you like. Feel free to experiment with flavored varieties like roasted red pepper or olive hummus.
- Zaalouk – This Moroccan eggplant dip adds a smoky complexity. Just follow our easy Zaalouk Recipe.
Fruits and Vegetables
- Cucumber – Go for the seedless variety to avoid extra moisture on the board.
- Figs – Fresh figs are best, their natural sweetness complements the savory elements.
- Grapes – Seedless.
- Keftedes Meatballs – These were a real star of the board. We doubled our Keftedes recipe, and rather than dredging in flour and frying, simply baked them at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, followed by a quick broil for color.
- Pita Bread – Cut into triangles. Whole grain can be an option for a healthier twist.
- Dolmas (Stuffed Grape Leaves) – They can be found canned, or sometimes in antipasto bars.
- Olives – Kalamata or green olives add a salty, briny touch.
- Pearl Mozzarella Balls – Choose fresh mozzarella for a creamy, mild counterpoint to stronger flavors on the board. You can also serve feta cheese cut into cubes or marinated feta cheese.
How to Make a Mezze Platter
Creating this Mediterranean Charcuterie Board is like crafting a delicious work of art! Go with a natural flow and enjoy. Here’s how to assemble this scrumptious masterpiece:
1. Gather ingredients: You’ll need to gather all your desired ingredients that will go on board. The amount will depend on the size of your board and the number of guests you’re serving.
2. Prepare the Base: Start with a large wooden or marble platter to serve as your canvas.
3. Place Bowls: Add small bowls of dips, as well as for olives and pearl mozzarella balls.
4. Garnish Dips: Drizzle olive oil over zaalouk and tzatziki. Sprinkle chopped olives or pine nuts on top of the hummus for that extra flair.
5. Meatball Centerpiece: Arrange the keftedes meatballs in a generous heap at the center of the board.
6. Pita Perimeter: Cut the pita bread into triangles. Place them on the outer edge of the platter.
7. Add Other Mezze: Nestle the dolmas, cucumber slices, and any other mezze items around the pita.
8. Fruitful Finish: Scatter grapes and figs among the other items, filling any gaps and adding pops of color.
9. Final Touches: Add some fresh herbs like mint or parsley for garnish if you like. Include small forks or toothpicks for easy snacking. We used pitted olives, but if using olives with pits, leave a small bowl to discard the pits.
Other Mezze to Include on a Mediterranean Board
Falafel: Great vegetarian options for the board.
Olives: Try other olives like kalamata or Castelvetrano olives. Or get a variety of olives from the olive bar at your grocery store.
Fruits & Dried Fruits: Peaches, green grapes, strawberries, apples, apricots, dates, dried figs, melons, peaches, tangerines, berries or cherries.
Cured Meats: In the French tradition, charcuterie is the art of preparing and assembling cured meats and meat products. Spanish style chorizo, prosciutto, different types of salami, or pate are some of the ideas you can try for your board.
Nuts: Pistachios, cashews, candied walnuts or pecans, almonds or macadamia.
Vegetables: Carrots, cherry tomatoes, avocado, broccoli, bell peppers or snap peas.
Tips and Tricks
Creating the ultimate Mediterranean Charcuterie Board requires attention to detail and a flair for flavor combinations. Here are some expert tips to make your board truly unforgettable:
1. Quality Ingredients: Prioritize using fresh and high-quality ingredients. The better the individual items, the more outstanding the entire board will be.
2. Seasoning: Season your dips and meatballs well. A well-seasoned keftedes meatball or a perfectly spiced zaalouk will elevate the entire eating experience.
3. Bowl Strategy: Place the bowls first, as they take up the most space and will guide the placement of other items. But be sure to leave room for the meatballs!
4. Fruit Ripeness: Ensure the figs and grapes are ripe but not overly so. You want them to hold their shape and provide a sweet burst of flavor.
5. Olive Variety: Mix different types of olives to add different textures and flavors.
6. Take a Shortcut: Try to make homemade dips a day before for best tasting experience. If not, buy quality store bread dips. The olive bar in your grocery store is great place to find a great assortment for your Mezze platter.
7. Garnish: Garnish your dips with herbs or spices. For example, sprinkle of parsley and olive oil or chopped olives or cucumbers over your dips adds tons of color and flavor.
8. Cheese Choices: Consider adding a few other Mediterranean cheeses alongside mozzarella, such as feta or halloumi, to add complexity to the flavor palette.
Leftovers and Storing
If you have any leftovers, the board should be disassembled and each component stored separately.
Dips: Transfer any dips into airtight containers. Store in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.
Fresh Fruits & Vegetables: Wrap fruits like figs and grapes in plastic wrap or place them in airtight containers. Store cucumbers in a separate container to prevent them from making other items soggy.
Meats: Place keftedes meatballs in an airtight container. Refrigerate and consume within 3-4 days for best taste. If using cured meats, refer to the package for storage instructions.
Pita: Wrap pita bread in aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Store in the pantry for up to 2-3 days, or freeze for longer shelf life.
Dolmas and Olives: Seal in an airtight container. Refrigerate and consume within a week.
Cheeses: Place mozzarella balls in an airtight container with a splash of olive oil to keep them moist. Store in the fridge and consume within a week.
Bold and Drop Dead Gorgeous Stunning… That’s our Mediterranean Charcuterie Board!!
It is the latest hot craze on the food scene. Artfully assembled small treats with different colors and textures.
This board can be the star centerpiece on the table at your next get together with friends and family. Have fun grazing and sharing the good flavors…
Fruit and Vegetables
- keftedes meatballs
- pita bread
- dolmas (stuffed grape leaves)
- green olives (or kalamata olives)
- pearl mozzarella balls
- Choose desired ingredinets (amounts will depend on the size of your board and how many people you want to serve) from the list above.
- Start by placing any items that will be in bowls on the board, all the dips, olives and mozzarella balls. Garnish zaalouk and tzatziki with a drizzle of olive oil. Add chopped olives or pine nuts on top of the hummus.
- Arrange the keftedes in the middle of the board in a large heap.
- Cut the pita bread into triangles and arrange them on the perimeter of the platter. Add other mezze like dolmas, cucumber and fruits.
- When arranging any kind of charcuterie platter, start by placing the larger items on the platter first, then fill in the empty spaces with the smaller items.
- Once all your ingredients are laid out, take a final look over your board to make sure it looks balanced. Move ingredients as necessary.
- Other Mezze to include on a Mediterranean mezze board: Falafel, dips like Tyrokafteri, Ful Medames, Moutabal, Melitzanosalata, Olive Tapenade, Baba Ganoush, Tabbouleh and Muhammara, other olives like kalamata or Castelvetrano, other fruits and dried fruits, cured meats, different Mediterranean style kabobs like chicken souvlaki, kofta kebob, nuts, and other vegetables.
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