Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Rob Corliss
March 31, 2022

Charcuterie boards are red-hot right now, with chefs showcasing creativity in both visual presentation and flavor combination. To build on charcuterie’s momentum, chefs can take inspiration from the interactive, shareable vibe and offer up new “board” experiences.

These appetizer boards can be menued as individually sized portions or shareables. Here, we offer ideas on two ways to approach them:

Melted Boards

Tap into the consumer love for melted, cheesy deliciousness, presenting it in a new, fun way. Alluring combinations, whether using actual charcuterie or presented in a charcuterie-board style, are sure to attract patrons looking for a convivial, comforting, hearty flavor experience.

Try This:

Take steak and potatoes to a new level, encouraging guests to swoosh forkfuls into the melted cheese.

  • Place warmed and melted Boursin cheese in a large ramekin
  • Surround it with thick slices of grilled peppered sirloin steak and roasted bliss potato wedges

Deliver sandwich heaven—riffing on the idea of finger sandwiches and dipping sauces.

  • Cut premium pork confit grilled cheese sandwiches into smaller triangles and pair with sun-dried tomato cheese fondue
  • Cut wedges of Oaxaca quesadilla and pair with a creamy poblano-chorizo queso

Offer a rustic, hearty appetizer—featuring a hot cast-iron skillet as a homey centerpiece

  • Serve oozing, melting raclette cheese in the skillet, surrounded by a trio of smoked duck salami, thick-sliced spicy beef salami and hot capicola
  • Guests scrape the melting cheese from the skillet and slather it onto the meats for primal enjoyment

 

Signature Flavor Boards

Pair meat, cheese and condiments in a manner that creates an interactive dining experience with unexpected yet memorable flavor pairings. Showcase three ingredients for optimum yet simple flavor delivery.  A bento-box style is ideal for this presentation.

Try This:

  • Serve strips of velvety prosciutto with hot fried cheese curds and a Dijon-red pepper flake-apricot preserves dipping sauce. Guests can then wrap the curds with prosciutto and dip them in spicy sweetness.
  • Pair smoked beef kielbasa (split lengthwise) with peelings of aged cheddar and blackberry-onion jam. Guests stack the ingredients into one delicious bite.
  • Serve a trifecta of grilled and sliced chorizo, griddled halloumi cubes and pomegranate honey. Guests can take a fork or skewer and pierce together a slice of chorizo and halloumi cube, then swirl it in the magenta-hued honey.

 

FEATURED RECIPE

A clever way to leverage the red-hot pepperoni cup trend, this appetizer highlights the cups in a craveable favorite. The Cup N’ Char Pepperoni Nachos feature Margherita Cup N’ Char Pepperoni, dipped in hot sauce, dredged in flour and deep fried.Credit: Smithfield Culinary

A clever way to leverage the red-hot pepperoni cup trend, this appetizer highlights the cups in a craveable favorite. The Cup N’ Char Pepperoni Nachos feature Margherita Cup N’ Char Pepperoni, dipped in hot sauce, dredged in flour and deep fried.

 

GET THE RECIPE FOR Cup N’ Char Pepperoni Nachos

About The Author

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ROB CORLISS is a three-time James Beard House guest chef with more than 30 years of experience that includes running world-class hotels, launching new concepts, working in top marketing agencies and owning the culinary consultancy ATE (All Things Epicurean) since 2009. Based in Nixa, Mo., ATE has an energizing passion focused on flavor innovation and is dedicated to connecting people to their food, environment and wellness. Rob is also a regular contributor to Flavor & The Menu. [email protected]