For whatever reason, I’m hooked onto Charcuterie Boards. Is it the presentation? The assortment of deliciousness that is offered? YES to both! Now I’m obsessing over Breakfast and Brunch Boards – a spin-off of the popular charcuterie that plays on the presentation and anything goes!
The origins of the charcuterie board are European. Both Italians and the French have firmly set foundations when it comes to the food offering. Often served on a wooden board, it was a way of serving and showcasing the masterful art of cured meats.
Traditionally in France, it was about terrines, rillettes, pates, and boudin sausages and mostly pork-based. In Italy, more referred to as antipasti, it was about salumi, prosciutto, and historically other parts of the animal were also served including offals, kidney, brain. The boards evolved over time to also include cheese, pickled vegetables and preserves. And let’s be real, it’s a meal and one I love.
Now we’re seeing more brunch boards pop up on Instagram and Pinterest. Weekend brunch is something we look forward to whether it’s pancakes or dim sum. We’re not alone. According to recent studies, weekend brunch has seen a rise in interest in recent years. More than half of Canadians enjoy eating out as a treat and a way to socialize with friends over lunch (33%) or dinner (49%), and more than 49% prefer to entertain at home based on 2019 data. Of course, eating at home has dramatically increased this year for obvious reasons which has lead many of us looking for inspiration in recipes and fun ways to keep positive vibes at home.
When the brunch or breakfast board idea came up this summer I was scouring the internet for ideas. Taking our favourite dishes and serving them on a large wooden board has been a creative and inspiring way to approach a favourite weekend past-time that doesn’t require much more work — honestly, I don’t want to overthink anything on the weekend.
Some fun facts!
Based on a national survey in 2019, 58% of Canadians said they chose traditional breakfast items for brunch.
Canadians are carnivores! 26% of Canadians want sausages, bacon and ham in the morning and another 15% enjoy their breakfast on a bun.
28% of Canadians admit to liking sweets in the morning and wouldn’t hesitate to choose pancakes or waffles above any other brunch option.
26% of Canadian respondents also want something a little fancier like Eggs Benedict or Smoked Salmon. While 11% prefer meat-free options.
OH CANADA! ADDITIONS TO YOUR BRUNCH BOARD:
Cloudberry Jam: (Maritimes) made with small berries also known as bakeapple.
Blueberry Jam: (Maritimes & BC) Canada is the world’s largest producer and exporter of wild blueberries.
Lobster and seafood: (Maritimes) when in season the lobster meat is an elevated twist to omelettes, and even Eggs Benedict. Cook and serve chilled or warmed.
Cretons: (Quebec) a pâté made of pork and spices
Oka Cheese: (Quebec) named after a small village, the nutty and fruity cheese is made by monks as an income for the monastery.
Maple Syrup: (Quebec) Do we even have to explain? This province produces 72% of the world’s supply.
Peameal Bacon: (Ontario) thick-sliced bacon with a cornmeal crust makes this a favourite.
Saskatoon Berry Jam: (Prairies) a simple jam recipe full of antioxidant and nutrient-rich berries.
Kielbasa:(Prairies) brought over by Ukrainian immigrants and has become a favourite sausage. Purchased ready to serve, sliced or try a slight grill.
Smoked Salmon: (BC) more than 100 different species of wild and farmed fish including salmon come from this province. Candied Salmon is one of my favourites – you can find it in specialty grocers (I always look for sources from the Haida nation). You can also make your own and just add a bit of Tabasco for a sweet and spicy zing.
TIPS ON HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN BRUNCH BOARD:
Decide on the mains – work your way on the board with the main event whether it be bacon, eggs, pancakes, etc. They’re generally the larger parts to your board.
Accompaniments are next – add on your cheeses, additional meats, pickled veggies etc. Don’t worry about having sweets next to savoury items.
Fill the gaps – use your colourful fruits, jams/compotes/honey and butter (I use small dipping bowls for oozy stuff) to help fill the spaces in between.
Garnish – if you’d like to add extra edible garnishes try dried fruit (dried dates, figs, mango slices) and edible flowers for a special touch.
Remember to have fun! There’s no right or wrong – just yum.
RECIPES TO TRY:
Billionaire’s Spiked Bacon: My friend Deborah said “you are going to love this” and she was right. It’s a simple recipe that’s so “extra” in a good way.
Tabasco Honey Butter: This recipe is slather-worthy. Created by Chef Michael Angeloni of Uncle Ray’s Restaurant in Toronto.
You can find these recipes and more at tabascosauce.ca/breakfastboards